Rapper Nicki Minaj’s mother testified Thursday at her son’s child sex abuse trial in Mineola that the mother of the alleged victim told her after his arrest it would “take lots of money to get out of this one.”
Prosecutors say Jelani Maraj, 38, of Baldwin, repeatedly raped his former stepdaughter for eight months in 2015, making her his “indentured sexual object” starting when she was 11.
But the defense says the charges are lies the alleged victim’s mother made up and forced her children to go along with to try to extort $25 million from the rich and famous sister of her now ex-husband.
The accuser and her mother have denied those allegations in their previous testimony.
The defendant’s mother, Carol Maraj, 57, of Old Westbury, testified the alleged victim’s mother, who was then her daughter-in-law, made the comment she perceived as an extortion threat while driving her to a Hempstead court so she could try to see her son after his Dec. 1, 2015, arrest.
“She said to me, ‘It’s gonna take lots of money to get out of this one,’ ” said the witness, who said she runs a foundation to benefit domestic violence victims and is a songwriter and playwright.
Carol Maraj said during more questioning from her son’s Garden City attorney, David Schwartz, she was surprised and in shock when her son’s wife tried to shake down her family for millions.
She added the alleged victim and her younger brother had “a ball” at the August 2015 wedding of their mother and the defendant — amid the period of the alleged abuse.
The defendant is on trial for offenses that include a predatory sexual assault on a child charge that carries a maximum life prison sentence.
During cross-examination, Carol Maraj agreed she texted the alleged victim’s mother an accusatory message after finding out about her son’s arrest that said: “You guys set up my child.”
But the witness also told prosecutor Jared Rosenblatt she still asked for a ride to court with her daughter-in-law after that — saying the woman delivered the alleged money remark before dropping her off.
Carol Maraj agreed she didn’t cut off communication with her daughter-in-law at that point either, texting her about getting medication and clothes for her son, about not speaking to the media and also sharing a Bible verse.
Maraj acknowledged she never confronted her daughter-in-law in text messages about what she saw as a shakedown threat, saying: “I just wouldn’t entertain it in any form.”
The witness also told Rosenblatt she didn’t mention a threat of being shaken down for $25 million when several months later she wrote what she called a “character” letter to the judge handling her son’s case.