Nicki Minaj definitely has a problem with the lawyer representing her husband’s rape accuser in a harassment lawsuit filed last year, calling the attorney’s actions “disgraceful” and “beyond shocking” in a new motion for sanctions.
Minaj and her lawyer say opposing attorney Tyrone Blackburn should be “severely punished” — through an award of fees and costs and a referral to the federal court’s Attorney Disciplinary Committee — for pursuing “frivolous” and “extortionate” litigation against Minaj “in such a reprehensible manner.”
The “Do We Have a Problem?” rapper, whose legal name is Onika Tanya Maraj, says Blackburn was way out of line when, as part of a motion for default judgment filed against her husband Kenneth Petty in October 2021, he alleged Minaj was a member of the “Makk Ballers,” a street gang in Queens.
“Given that Mr. Blackburn had no evidence in his possession which would have remotely supported even an inference that Ms. Maraj belonged to the gang, and the allegation was entirely irrelevant to the issue of whether a default judgment should be entered against Mr. Petty, Mr. Blackburn surely acted in a bad faith effort to generate extremely negative media coverage about Ms. Maraj which also depicted Mr. Blackburn as a lawyer who was seeking to bring her to justice,” the motion for sanctions filed in Brooklyn Federal Court on Monday and obtained by Rolling Stone reads.
Minaj and her lawyer, Judd Burstein, further argue Blackburn falsely accused his former plaintiff’s co-counsel, Steven N. Gordon, of working as a “double agent” with Burstein to assist Minaj.
“Mr. Blackburn has chosen to file answering papers which, without any factual basis whatsoever, falsely accuse me of misconduct that would mandate my disbarment if true. His recklessness is breathtaking,” Burstein wrote in a declaration submitted as part of the sanctions effort.
Minaj and Burstein also managed to get a sworn statement from Gordon regarding Blackburn. In the declaration, Gordon says Blackburn made “harrowing, slanderous, false and misleading personal allegations about me that are entirely irrelevant to the motion for sanctions.”
“He regularly and shamefully attempts to use personal information — or purported personal information — to disparage, insult, harass and intimidate others. I will be seeking to the court’s permission to intervene in this matter to move to strike the Blackburn Declaration and for sanctions against him,” Gordon wrote.
The underlying lawsuit from plaintiff Jennifer Hough, which was filed by Blackburn last August, accused Minaj and Petty of intimidating and harassing Hough to “recant her legitimate claim that defendant Petty raped her.”
Hough accused Petty of accosting her at a Queens bus stop in Sept. 1994 when they were both high school students. She claims he forced her to a nearby residence at knifepoint and raped her. Petty was ultimately convicted of first-degree attempted rape in 1995 and spent four and a half years in prison. Decades later, in Jan. 2020, he was indicted again after failing to register as a sex offender when he moved to Los Angeles in 2019, which was a condition of his conviction.
Hough voluntarily dismissed her claim against Minaj in January.
“Judd Burstein’s sanction motion is baseless,” Blackburn says in a statement to Rolling Stone sent Tuesday. “It is clear that Burstein and Steven Gordon were colluding to harm Jennifer Hough. Gordon usurped his ethical duties to Ms. Hough in order to curry favor with Nicki Minaj and Burstein. To date, Gordon has not turned over all of the emails, text messages, or phone records with written detail of what he discussed with Mr. Burstein to Jennifer Hough or me.”