By: Jarah Wright
LAS VEGAS (Scripps News Las Vegas) — A Clark County judge is allowing a counterclaim filed by Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter to move forward against Melissa Schuman. Schuman is one of three women who have accused Carter of raping them when they were teenagers.
Carter has never faced criminal charges related to any of these cases, has repeatedly denied the claims, and has previously stated the women are trying to extort money from him.
He has filed counterclaims against Schuman and another woman identified in court documents as Shannon Ruth. Both Schuman and Ruth filed anti-SLAPP motions to try to have those counterclaims dismissed. In March, Judge Nancy Allf ruled that Carter could continue pursuing his counterclaim against Ruth. Wednesday’s hearing was regarding the motion filed by Schuman.
Schuman’s lawyer told the judge they have multiple witnesses who believe their statements were true and claimed Carter’s allegations of extortion are “a recent fabrication.”
“From her declaration, Melissa told her friend Rachel and Rachel’s mother as well as her own family and her manager after the incident. She also started seeing a therapist and told the therapists,” Schuman’s lawyer told the court. “All of those statements were back in 2003, which is 14 years before Melissa Schuman went public with this in 2017. Mr. Carter, in this case, is accusing Miss Schuman of an extortion plot are a recent fabrication. There’s no proof [her] side ever contacted Mr. Carter in advance of that.”
However, Carter’s lawyers told the court those witnesses were all relying on Schuman’s version of events.
“Both witnesses parroted what [Schuman] told them. Neither of them have first-hand knowledge of the alleged sexual assault,” Carter’s lawyer, Liane K. Wakayama, said. “Mr. Carter’s testimony alone specifically contradicts what Ms. Schuman has put in her declaration. Everything was consensual. Even Schuman’s own evidence contradicts her story. Rachel, [Schuman’s friend], testified when they left Carter’s apartment the next morning that quote, ‘I thought everything was fine.’ Melissa is claiming she was repeatedly raped all through the night and the next morning. Her best friend was there, in close proximity, and has no idea? How can that be?”
Schuman’s lawyers also claimed Carter and his legal team are “throwing a lot at the wall” to try to have the counterclaim move forward.
“He has 92 pieces of evidence, but a lot of them are hearsay,” Schuman’s lawyer said. “It’s not testimony. It’s not admissible.”
Wakayama disagreed, saying the “mountain of evidence” would show the truth.
“The counterclaim is the product of Mr. Carter finally being able to defend himself and stand up for himself after struggling alone in silence for years,” Wakayama told the court. “His counterclaims expose the truth and, in reality, it exposes the dark side of fandom.”
Allf ruled in favor of Carter on Wednesday, saying, “The opposition met the statutory standard to survive this motion.” That will allow the counterclaim against Schuman to move forward.
Carter’s legal team sent this statement, attributed to Nick Carter’s attorney Liane Wakayama, to Scripps News Las Vegas following the ruling:
“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. 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.”