Miss Universe co-owner Donald Trump has made good on his threats to sue for “massive damages” against a former Miss Pennsylvania USA contestant from Cranberry who claimed the pageant was rigged.
According to the New York Post, Trump won a $5 million legal decision against Sheena Monnin, who turned in her sash and crown just days after the Miss USA 2012 pageant aired in June.
In statements made on her Facebook page, Monnin said the televised contest was fixed. A fellow contestant saw a list of the top five women in the pageant before judging began on the show, she claimed. She also called the organization fraudulent, lacking in morals and trashy.
Trump immediately responded, branding Monnin, who did not place in the pageant’s semifinals, a “sore loser” and threatening legal action.
The Miss Universe Organization, which runs the Miss USA competition, also denounced Monnin’s allegations. In a statement to Cranberry Patch, the organization included an email Monnin sent to state pageant officials and said she was resigning because she did not agree with the organization's decision to admit transgendered contestants.
"This goes against ever moral fiber of my being," the email from Monnin said. "I believe in integrity, high moral character, and fair play, none of which are part of this system any longer."
Despite the impending lawsuit, Monnin, 27, stuck by her accusations during a later appearance on NBC’s Today show.
“I feel prepared to continue to pursue the truth,” she told Ann Curry. “I know what I heard and I know what I in turn witnessed come true.”
Retired US District Court Magistrate Judge Theodore H. Katz disagreed. He awarded the Miss Universe Organization $5 million in damages late last week after ruling Monnin defamed the organization, the New York Post reports.
On her Facebook page, which has grown steadily with supporters since June, Monnin appeared upbeat Tuesday. Although she did not reference the lawsuit, Monnin advocated staying positive through difficult times.
“Tough times will come, but it's how we handle each difficulty that will determine the path ahead,” she wrote. “Stand strong. Be true.”