A former Miss USA hopeful who branded the beauty contest "fraudulent" has lost her bid to avoid paying pageant co-owner Donald Trump $5 million in damages after a New York judge upheld the defamation ruling.
Sheena Monnin resigned from her post as 2012's Miss Pennsylvania last summer after alleging a fellow contestant had seen a list containing the top five winners before they were officially announced, and she blasted the contest as "fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent and in many ways trashy."
Trump, who co-owns the competition with NBC Universal, immediately filed suit on behalf of the Miss Universe Organization in New York after she refused to apologize for her remarks, and an arbitrator awarded him $5 million in damages in December.
Monnin appealed the ruling, insisting there was evidence of misconduct by the arbitrator and claiming the damages would leave her in financial ruin.
But on Tuesday, federal Judge J. Paul Oetken upheld the punishment and ordered her to pay up. The judge accepted the monetary award was "devastating," but accused Monnin of failing to recognize the consequences of her actions and blamed her "poor choice of counsel" for the lawsuit loss as her former lawyer had "presented no evidence on her behalf over the course of several months."
After the ruling was made public, Trump's attorney, Michael D. Cohen, said, "We applaud the judge's very articulate 30-page decision, and will pursue all rights available to Mr. Trump under the law (to claim the payment)."
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