The Cranberry Township woman who earlier this year claimed that Donald Trump’s Miss USA 2012 pageant was rigged now owes the real estate mogul $5 million after losing a defamation lawsuit.
Sheena Monnin, the former Miss Pennsylvania 2012, resigned her post in protest shortly after the national pageant in June.
She claimed to have heard of a list that contained the winners of the pageant before those winners were even announced.
She proceeded to take her claims of the rigged pageant to national television talk shows and quickly became a target of the lawsuit filed by Trump, who runs the Miss Universe Organization.
According to a news release issued by the organization, Trump emerged victorious in the lawsuit after U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz ruled Monday that the method in which the pageant is judged precludes the possibility that the pageant was rigged.
Pageant officials maintain that the judging was fair and conducted under the watchful eye of impartial auditors.
According to the judge, Monnin’s defamatory statements showed a “reckless disregard” to the facts and harmed the organization’s reputation.
Randy Sanders, who briefly managed Monnin in 2011 and now is the director of the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant, said Tuesday that he’s “very pleased” with the outcome of the lawsuit, saying Monnin’s allegations were offensive to anyone who works in the pageant business. “It was disheartening to have those accusations levied, knowing that there was no factual basis to it,” Sanders said. “I have to say, I feel the right outcome was reached.”
Sanders said he hasn’t spoken with Monnin since she resigned her title in June, but added that she likely has learned a lesson.
“We have a great country here with freedom of speech, but there still have to be facts,” he said. “Claims have to be justifiable. You can’t just run around and make crazy accusations that are unfounded. You have to be held accountable.”
The New York Post first reported the news Tuesday, quoting Trump as saying Monnin learned an expensive lesson by badmouthing the organization.
He also said the former contestant carried a nasty demeanor and that she left no choice but for pageant organizations to take the matter to court.
The entire ordeal began in June when Monnin resigned her post and issued statements on her Facebook page stating the pageant was “fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy.”
She and Trump both quickly took to nationally televised talk shows to defend their arguments.