Atlanta rapper T.I. and his wife Tameka “Tiny” Harris finally filed their answer to an aging defamation lawsuit Monday, claiming they were being truthful and had “no malice” when they branded their assault accuser Sabrina Peterson a liar.
The underlying lawsuit, filed in March 2021, accuses T.I. and Tiny of harming Peterson’s reputation when they denied both her allegations that T.I. once held a gun to her head and her subsequent claims that the couple subjected women to various forms of sexual and physical abuse.
T.I. and Tiny waited to respond with their laundry list of defenses this week because it was only in June that an appeals court decided what would survive from their prior effort to dismiss the complaint. That month, California’s 2nd Appellate District spiked five of Peterson’s seven causes of action, leaving only defamation and invasion of privacy. (The court rejected claims for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, among others.)
Peterson, a former friend, alleges in her complaint that T.I. held a gun to her head and said, “Bitch, I’ll kill you,” after she got into an argument with his assistant. She posted about the alleged assault on her Instagram account in January 2021 and also shared video and screen shots purportedly showing other women in Atlanta accusing the couple of sexual and physical abuse.
T.I., Tiny and yet another friend, Shekinah Jones Anderson, initially responded to Peterson through their social media accounts boasting a combined 23.6 million followers. Tiny’s post included a photo of T.I. posing with Peterson’s son, who was 8 years old at the time.
“Hold up,” Tiny wrote in a Jan. 26, 2021, post. “So you want your abuser to train your sons? He was just uncle 2 years ago… now when did you say my husband assaulted you? Did you change your mind or change it back? What’s up wit you today Pooh?… You strange. Everybody know you been special.”
Three days later, T.I. and Tiny posted a joint statement denying Peterson’s claims. T.I. then posted a video to his Instagram that went viral. “Whatever we ever have done has been done with consensual adults who into what we into and like what we like,” he said. “We want something, we know exactly where to go to get it. We ain’t never forced nobody, we ain’t never drugged nobody against their will. We ain’t never held nobody against their will. We never made nobody do anything. We never trafficked anything. Well, sexually traffic, anything. I ain’t ever raped nobody.”
Anderson also posted on Jan. 29, 2021, claiming Peterson wanted Tiny to be her girlfriend and was seeking “attention.”
Peterson claimed that after the couple and Anderson responded, she was “inundated with harassing and threatening Instagram messages.” She said T.I. and Tiny’s denials caused Peterson “to be shunned by clients” and exposed her to “hatred, ridicule, and contempt.”
In their reply Monday, T.I. and Tiny doubled down on their stance they did nothing wrong. They said Peterson’s surviving claims should be barred because “the alleged defamatory statements attributed to defendants are true and/or substantially true.”
“There was no malice conveyed by the publication of the allegedly defamatory statements and plaintiff is accordingly barred from recovery,” their filing states.
Lawyers representing Peterson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A hearing in the civil case is scheduled for Tuesday.
Prosecutors previously said they declined to file any charges against T.I. and Tiny over an alleged 2005 sexual assault in Los Angeles County, and stated that the alleged incident was outside the 10-year statute of limitations.
Still, the deluge of allegations led MTV Entertainment to pull the plug on the couple’s VH1 reality series, T.I. and Tiny: Friends and Family Hustle.
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