'Opportunists': Nick Carter countersues sexual assault accuser
Nick Carter is countersuing two women who accused him of sexual assault.
The Backstreet Boys singer is taking legal action against Shannon Ruth, who sued him in December for alleged sexual battery, and Melissa Schuman, a former singer with the group Dream who accused him of rape in 2017, and has accused the "opportunist" women of taking advantage of the #MeToo movement to "extort" money from him.
According to documents obtained by People magazine, the 43-year-old star alleged the women launched a five-year conspiracy to "defame and vilify" him and "otherwise ruin his reputation for the purposes of garnering attention and fame and/or extorting money from Carter."
Nick alleged the pair had set out to "destroy innocent lives" and more than £2.3 million has been lost in business since the December lawsuit.
The countersuit accused Melissa - who publicly accused Nick of raping her when they worked together in the early 2000s in a blog post she shared in 2017 and her father Jerome Schuman of having groomed Ruth, who has autism and cerebral palsy and was described in the legal documents as "a vulnerable and highly impressionable individual, craving attention and desperate to fit in."
Ruth announced in a press conference in December that she was suing the 'I'll Never Break Your Heart' singer, claiming he had invited her to his tour bus when she was waiting in an autograph lime after a 2001 Backstreet Boys gig in Washington, and gave her a red-coloured drink he called 'VIP juice', which she believes contained alcohol.
Nick has denied the allegations and in his countersuit stated he believes he has never even met Ruth.
Melissa and her father were also accused of "exploiting" of the singer's younger brother Aaron Carter, who died in November.
The documents stated: "The Schumans' timing couldn't have been better since, at the time, Aaron was addicted to drugs, battling serious mental health issues, and engaged in a misguided campaign of retaliation against Carter and other members of his family who were worried about Aaron and pushing him to seek professional help.
"Schuman, Jerome, and Ruth exploited Aaron's fragile condition and family stresses to cloak their defamatory campaign with credibility, relentlessly and repeatedly using Aaron to try to legitimize their frivolous tales."
It then claimed Aaron realised he was being used and apologised to Nick.
The suit continued: "In the months leading up to his recent death, Aaron not only apologised to Carter for his involvement in the Counter-Defendants' smear campaign, but publicly stated that Schuman and Ruth were liars."
The 'Everybody (Backstreet's Back)' singer hopes the suit will help him clear his name.
The documents said: "Just as true victims of sexual assault have the right to seek justice and be heard, so too do persons falsely accused of sexual assault have the right to due process of law and to defend themselves by speaking the truth."
Ruth's attorney criticised the lawsuit.
Mark J. Boskovich told the New York Post newspaper's Page Six column: "Why should Nick Carter be believed with his long history of abusing females? A jury will weigh the evidence and decide."