A beauty queen was shocked by the ruling that she must pay $5 million in a defamation lawsuit after claiming that the Miss USA pageant was rigged. Former Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin resigned and said that the finalists in the competition had been selected in advance. As a result of her allegations, the pageant lost a $5 million sponsor.
Arbitrator Theodore Katz ruled that Monnin's allegations were "false, harmful and malicious," and he ordered her to pony up $5 million to make up for the lost 2013 sponsor.
According to a Dec. 30, 2012 report by the Washington Post, the beauty queen shocked by the ruling took to Facebook and cited "a Miss USA contract clause giving top pageant officials the power to pick the top five finalists and the winner" following the judgment against her.
She wrote, "I was not aware of the clause in the Miss USA contract which says that the Miss Universe Organization, Donald Trump and others have the legal right to choose the top five and winner. This is irrespective of any publicized selection process." Trump owns the Miss Universe organization, which, in turn, owns the Miss USA pageant.
Pageant officials countered that the clause was never actually put into effect anyhow. Michael Cohen, executive vice president and special counsel for Donald Trump, said, "It's protection for the Miss Universe pageant and its owners. It has never been used. The judge's decisions have never been overruled by Mr. Trump, NBC or the Miss Universe Organization."
Former Miss Pennsylvania USA Sheena Monnin spoke about Tuesday's ruling for the first time over the weekend, according to Trib Live. The beauty queen told the press, "I was shocked that was ruled against me, frankly."