A judge has sanctioned Mariah Carey’s ex-assistant for destroying evidence in the singer’s case against the woman.
The “Always Be My Baby” crooner claimed in February that one-time assistant Lianna “Azarian” Shakhnazarian destroyed evidence in Carey’s 2019 $3 million lawsuit against her for allegedly secretly recording videos of Carey and violating a non-disclosure agreement.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Andrew Borrok has granted Carey’s request to penalize Shakhnazarian, finding that she did indeed destroy two videos and WhatsApp messages that could have been pertinent to helping Carey fight her case.
The judge also found that Shakhnazarian spilled water on her old cell phone and then gave it away after the suit had already been mounted against her, was also destruction of evidence that could have been useful to Carey.
“Trading in her cellphone without taking any measures to save the videos, messages, and other data after this lawsuit was filed, when Ms. Shakhnazarian had an undeniable duty to preserve evidence, was grossly negligent, if not intentional,” Borrok wrote in his decision from Friday.
Shakhnazarian’s “actions constituted spoliation of critical evidence and severely prejudiced Ms. Carey’s ability to prosecute her case,” the decision reads.
Borrok said that he will make an “inverse inference” against Shakhnazarian at trial.
The judge also ordered Shakhnazarian to turn over her current cell phone for a forensic examination and ordered her to pay Carey’s attorneys fees regarding this particular matter.
Carey’s lawyer, Casey Laffey, declined to comment.
Lawyers for Shakhnazarian did not immediately return a request for comment.