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Nicki Minaj's Husband Pleads Guilty

Kenneth Petty admits he failed to register as sex offender after move to Calif., could go back to jail
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2021 7:30 AM CDT
Nicki Minaj's Husband May Be Headed Back to Jail
This Aug. 20, 2018, file photo shows rap artist Nicki Minaj at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Nicki Minaj hasn't given a reason for why she pulled out of her performance at Sunday night's MTV Video Music Awards, simply noting, "I'll explain why another day," but a recent development regarding her spouse may offer a clue. The New York Post reports that the 38-year-old rapper made her announcement on the same day that her husband, Kenneth "Zoo" Petty, pleaded guilty in a virtual court hearing to failing to register as a sex offender in California. The court documents filed Thursday note that Petty, 43, had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge. His "change of heart" was apparently part of a plea deal he struck with the assistant US attorney in August, per the Post.

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NBC News details Petty's most recent legal woes, which began when he was arrested during a November 2019 traffic stop after authorities found out he'd never registered as a sex offender after moving to California to New York. The reason for his sex offender status: He'd been convicted in 1995 of first-degree attempted rape against a 16-year-old girl the previous year, when he was also 16. Petty spent nearly four years in jail for that crime.

After his November 2019 arrest, Petty got out on $20,000 bail, then was thrown back behind bars in 2020 when he was indicted for not registering as a sex offender; he was subsequently released again, this time on a $100,000 bond. His victim sued both Petty and Minaj in August, accusing the couple of contacting her and trying to get her to recant her story. Minaj has gone to bat for her husband in the past, defending him on social media and in radio appearances. Petty, who is set to be sentenced in January, could see 10 years behind bars. (Read more Nicki Minaj stories.)

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