Donald Trump wins $5 million in legal battle against contestant who called Miss USA pageant ‘rigged’


Donald Trump (© Alberto Lowe / Reuters/REUTERS)

A judge in a private abritration in New York awarded the Miss Universe Organization $5 million in damages, calling Monnin’s statements “defamatory” and said they were “harmful” to the organization’s reputation.

Back in June, Monnin, who won the Miss Pennsylvania pageant, quit the competition after she wrote a Facebook post in which she said the show was “rigged.” Monnin said she saw another competitor correctly recite the names of the Top 5 finalists in the Miss USA competition before they were announced. The post was picked up by many media outlets, and the “Today” show had her on for an interview (“Today” airs on NBC, which co-owns the Miss Universe Organization with Trump.)

“When the names were called out in the order that she said she saw them on the list, that’s just too coincidental to not be true,’’ Monnin told Ann Curry during the “Today” appearance.


Former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin (Isaac Brekken/GETTY IMAGES)

Monnin said during the “Today” interview that she quit for a “myriad” of reasons, and added she was “prepared to continue to pursue the truth” about the pageant.

In a statement Tuesday, Trump said, “We cannot allow a disgruntled contestant to make false and reckless statements which are damaging to many people who have devoted their hearts and souls to the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant systems.”

Monnin’s attorney has not responded to requests for comment.

The date on the arbitration award is Dec. 10 — but the news was announced shortly before the Miss Universe Pageant airs on NBC Wednesday night.

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.

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