Former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin, who resigned after claiming to the world that the Miss USA pageant is rigged, must now pay Donald Trump $5 million for defaming the organization he co-owns.
Sheena Monnin was a contestant in the Miss USA 2012 pageant before she appeared on national television claiming the beauty pageant organization chooses its winners ahead of time.
Donald Trump subsequently sued Sheena Monnin. An arbitrator then ruled in favor of the Miss Universe Organization, awarding it $5 million in damages and stated Sheena Monnin’s statements “showed a reckless disregard”. This week, a judge affirmed that decision.
“On July 2nd, the Southern District Court of New York ruled on my appeal of the $5 million arbitration award,” Sheena Monnin wrote in a July 4 post on a Facebook page billed as the Sheena Monnin Support Page.
“I am grateful to Judge Oetken for his review of the case before affirming the award.”
Judge J. Paul Oetken, in his 30-page ruling, wrote “the Court does not take lightly that Monnin is compelled to pay what is a devastating monetary award”.
However, J. Paul Oetken wrote: “Sympathy, or apparent inequity, may play no role in a court’s legal analysis.”
Now Sheena Monnin must pony up the cash after her earlier struggles just to come up with $50,000 in legal fees.
“The legal fees for standing for truth amount to over $50,000,” writes Sheena Monnin on her Facebook page.
“I still need to raise money for my legal defense fund. I would greatly appreciate any and all donations.”
Her economic woes all stem from a few statements originally made on Facebook and then the Today show.
Sheena Monnin accused Miss Universe Organization of rigging the competition when she resigned from her Miss Pennsylvania position.
She claimed Karina Brez, who was representing Florida at the contest in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 3, recited the top five women after seeing a list of their names backstage.
In a Facebook post announcing her resignation, she wrote: “Apparently the morning of June 3rd [Karina Brez] saw a folder lying open to a page that said ‘FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012” and she saw the places for Top 5 already filled in.
“After the Top 16 were called and we were standing backstage she hesitantly said to me and another contestant that she knew who the Top 5 were. I said <<who do you think they will be?>>.”
She said that she didn’t “think” she “knew” because she saw the list that morning.
“She relayed whose names were on the list. Then we agreed to wait and see if that was indeed the Top 5 called that night. After it was indeed the Top 5 I knew the show must be rigged.”
Miss Universe Organization vehemently denied the claims and said that Sheena Monnin had cited the new rules allowing transgender contestants as her reason for resigning.
Donald Trump also denied the claims and proceeded with the lawsuit against Sheena Monnin, who he believed was suffering “loser’s remorse”.
“I did see her for about a second. I never felt that she had a chance,” he told the Today last year.
“I know what I heard, and I know what I in turn witnessed… so I’m prepared to continue to march forward,” Sheena Monnin responded on Today.
“I feel an injustice has been done, not only to the other people who were not in the top five, but to the thousands of pageant girls across the country who competed, believing this is an honest system.”