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Sheena Monnin loses defamation appeal, must pay Trump $5M

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   July 5, 2013 at 4:14 PM   |   Comments

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July 5 (UPI) -- Former Miss USA contestant Sheena Monnin is out 5 million big ones after taking on The Donald and losing.

A federal judge upheld an arbitration ruling that compelled Monnin to pay $5 million to Trump for defamation.

Monnin, who competed in the national pageant as Miss Pennsylvania USA in 2012, accused Donald Trump's competition of rigging the final five and final 16 contestants.

After failing to make the cut herself, Monnin texted pageant official Randy Sanders her suspicions.

"This is [expletive] rigged, Randy," she wrote, and then repeated her claims on her Facebook page and the Today Show.

Miss Universe LP, the parent company of Miss USA, took Monnin to court over claims of defamation, seeking $10 million in reimbursement and walking away with $5 million, covering the cost of a site fee the pageant lost in 2013 due to her allegations.

"The court does not take lightly that Monnin is compelled to pay what is a devastating monetary award," wrote Judge J. Paul Oetken, in his ruling Tuesday. "Morever, Monnin undeniable is suffering from her poor choice of counsel ... [But] sympathy, or apparent inequity, may play no role in a court’s legal analysis, and here, the law is clear.”

“Blindly, but perhaps understandably, Monnin put her trust in her attorney, believing that he would represent her interests,” Oetken wrote. “Unfortunately, [he] chose to ignore the responsibilities owed to his client, along with the ethical duties governing his profession.”

Monnin hasn't given up, strongly hinting on her Facebook page a federal investigation could back up her claims.

“Last June, I was contacted by a Federal Investigator wanting an interview with me to discuss possible fraudulent activities by the [pageant],” she wrote.

"This is not about me being a ‘sore loser’ or wanting my ’15 minutes of fame’," she wrote. "This is about the [Miss Universe Organization]’s admission under oath that they manipulate the judges’ results to suit their own ends. This is not what they advertise to the public."

Monnin has set up a legal defense fund to help cover more than $50,000 in legal fees.

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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