LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas judge sided Wednesday with Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter in part of a lawsuit claiming he sexually assaulted several young women in the early 2000s, the 8 News Now Investigators have learned.
The lawsuit, filed in Clark County in December, alleges Carter raped Shannon “Shay” Ruth when she was 17 years old. Ruth alleges Carter, who was 21 at the time, gave her alcohol, raped her, and threatened her if she told anyone, documents said.
Carter was also accused of rape by singer Melissa Schuman, who claimed he sexually assaulted her in 2003. The statute of limitations expired before charges could be filed.
Carter has vehemently denied all the allegations. In his counterclaim, he alleges his accusers are taking advantage of the #MeToo movement, calling the women “opportunists” who “set out to thrust themselves into the spotlight and destroy innocent lives.”
In court documents filed this summer, lawyers for Melissa Schuman and her father, Jerome Schuman, claim their clients’ public statements are protected by the First Amendment and were not defamatory.
In court Wednesday, Judge Nancy Allf denied Schuman’s anti-SLAPP motion, allowing Carter’s counterclaim to move forward, his lawyers said. The anti-SLAPP law, which stands for strategic lawsuits against public participation, is intended to prevent one party from intimidating another in the legal process.
Allf agreed Carter’s legal team showed enough evidence to move forward with his counterclaim where he says the allegations against him are false and defamatory. The claim references the allegations against him as a “conspiracy,” documents said.
“For years, Melissa and Jerome Schuman have been conspiring with anyone they could manipulate to drum up false claims against Nick Carter in a brazen attempt to get rich off of him,” Carter’s attorney, Liane Wakayama, said in a statement. “When Nick called them out on their malicious schemes, the Schumans tried but failed to have his countersuit dismissed and silenced. Today’s ruling confirms that Nick will be able to pursue that truth to its inevitable conclusion and expose the Schumans’ and their co-conspirators’ deceit and deplorable conduct.”
“Based on the court’s prior ruling on our anti-SLAPP motion, we are not surprised by the court’s ruling today,” Ruth’s attorney, Christian Morris, said in a statement. “However, we do not agree with the prior ruling in our case and are in the process of appealing the court’s decision.”
An attorney for the Schumans did not immediately return a request for comment.
In a lawsuit filed late Monday, another woman accuses Carter of sexually assaulting her when she was 15 on multiple occasions in 2003, documents said. Carter’s attorneys said the case was brought to the police and dismissed as “meritless.”
Ruth and Schuman were named because they chose to identify themselves as victims of sexual assault. 8 News Now does not identify victims of sexual assault unless they choose to publicly come forward.