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Judge upholds defamation ruling against former Miss Pennsylvania

By Colleen Long

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 07:33 a.m. HST, Jul 05, 2013

NEW YORK >> A federal judge in New York has upheld an arbitrator's ruling that a Pennsylvania beauty queen must pay the Miss USA pageant $5 million for defaming Donald Trump's pageant organization.

Sheena Monnin resigned as Miss Pennsylvania last year, saying the Miss USA contest was rigged. She claimed another contestant learned the names of the top five finishers hours before the show was broadcast. Monnin said she decided to turn in her crown as soon as those same contestants were named during the show.

She posted a series of messages on Facebook and spoke publicly about her claims. Trump's Miss Universe Organization sued Monnin for defamation and an arbitrator ruled against her in December. The arbitrator said Monnin's allegations cost the pageant a $5 million fee from a potential 2013 sponsor.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge J. Paul Oetken upheld the arbitrator's decision. Monnin had sought to have it overturned based on three grounds: the arbitrator overstepped his authority, his decision disregarded law, and she didn't know the arbitration hearing was taking place. The judge disagreed.

Monnin, of Cranberry, Pa., said in a Facebook post Thursday evening that she is glad the truth is out there, regardless of the outcome.

"This is not about me being a 'sore loser' or wanting my '15 minutes of fame'" she wrote. "This is about the MUO's admission under oath that they manipulate the judges' results to suit their own ends. This is not what they advertise to the public."

Pageant organizers claimed Monnin resigned because she disagreed with a decision to allow transgender contestants. They made public text from an email they said Monnin sent citing the decision to allow natural-born males into the competition as the reason for her resignation. A transgender contestant was initially denied entry to the Miss Universe Canada pageant because she wasn't born female, but Trump overruled that decision.

Olivia Culpo of Rhode Island won the Miss USA pageant that year.

Monnin wrote on Facebook page that her legal fees amount to more than $50,000 and she needed financial support, including a link for donations.

The New York-based Miss Universe Organization didn't immediately respond to a request for comment today.

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yhls wrote:
Outrageous that she should pay the pageant $5 million. And allowing women who used to be men into the Miss USA competition? Has Trump lost his mind?
on July 5,2013 | 07:39AM
Mei mei wrote:
clearly you in live in a box with your incredibly narrow-minded thinking... go back to bigot USA.
on July 5,2013 | 09:09AM
joshislost wrote:
i agree maybe you should leave corporate america
on July 5,2013 | 12:37PM
kiragirl wrote:
Yeah, try collect the $5 million.
on July 5,2013 | 08:23AM
hanalei395 wrote:
Trump, who filed for bankruptcy 4 times ...needs the 5 mill.
on July 5,2013 | 08:33AM
Bully wrote:
She doesn't have 5 million dollars to pay anyone.
on July 5,2013 | 08:59AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
I find it contradictory that women would participate in beauty pageants as it makes them objects for the men who ogle them on the tv screen. If women want to be considered equals to men, they need to stop proliferating pageants and things that make them the weaker of the sexes. Things like expecting the man to always foot the bill when going on a date should be done away with. Many women make more than the men so why should the man always foot the bill? If women want to be considered equals, they should stop wearing dainty dresses as that proliferates the old ways where women were considered the fragile sex. I believe that women are our equals, not the weaker sex. Yes, they are not as physically built as men (although there are women like the Williams of tennis who are more physically endowed then the average man) but they should be treated as our equals and as such we should do away with the outdated old fashioned standards in which we have continued to follow. The old knight in shining armor is dead. Let's leave it at that. Women should expect to be treated as equals but they should stop giving mixed messages by following the old ways and expect things to change. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.
on July 5,2013 | 11:31AM
konag43 wrote:
i agree with miss universe. transgender females not born females should not be able to enter the miss universe contest. let donald run his own pageant for them. after all no born females would enter a miss transgender pageant. maybe trump ha a thing for males. and donald has again lost his mind. i will never watch that contest again. donald need a new or better wig. and ny the way nodaddy there are no more knights in shinng armour because most of you men are cop outs. beside you men of today only date women so you can get sexual favors so don't grumble and pay the bill.
on July 5,2013 | 12:39PM
CloudForest wrote:
Take a good look at the "players" in this saga - and then tell me who you believe! I, for one, believe Miss PA - all American good everyday person - unlike the power hungry pageant personnel ................. I'm just saying.
on July 5,2013 | 02:39PM
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