Mariah Carey has accused her former assistant of “intentionally” destroying key evidence in their ongoing legal battle over allegations of blackmail.
The Hero hitmaker is suing ex-employee Lianna Shakhnazarian, aka Lianna Azarian, claiming she attempted to use “intimate videos” of the superstar to land an $8 million (Â£6.1 million) pay day.
Shakhnazarian, who is countersuing Carey for wrongful termination and harassment, has denied engaging in the extortion plot, but now the court fight has become even messier, amid allegations of sabotage.
“Shakhnazarian has tried to avoid liability by intentionally destroying at least three categories of relevant evidence,” Carey’s lawyer, Casey Laffey, claims in new documents lodged in New York’s Manhattan Supreme Court.
Specific details about the evidence in question have been heavily redacted in the public filing, but Laffey insists the former staffmember’s alleged actions have “irrevocably frustrated Carey’s ability to determine whether Shakhnazarian transmitted the recordings to other third-parties”.
The deleted files also apparently make it difficult for Carey to challenge claims suggesting the one-time assistant had the musician’s consent to film the footage at the centre of the case.
The singer is now seeking permission to have copies made of the contents of Shakhnazarian’s phone to ensure she does not “withhold or destroy” any other potential evidence, reports the New York Post’s Page Six.
Shakhnazarian’s legal representatives have yet to respond to the allegations.