- Twitter: Sheena Monnin
Donald Trump has won his defamation claim against Sheena Monnin, former Miss Pennsylvania, according to reports.
The real estate mogul and owner of The Miss Universe Organization filed a lawsuit against Monnin in June after she refused to retract statements she made to the media about the Miss USA pageant being rigged for allegedly predetermining its winners.
On Tuesday, a retired U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge ruled in favor of Trump, 66, ultimately agreeing that Monnin did in fact defame his organization. Trump was subsequently awarded $5 million in damages, according to TMZ.com.
"We cannot allow a disgruntled contestant to make false and reckless statements which are damaging to the many people who have devoted their hearts and souls to the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageant systems," Trump stated to TMZ.com.
"While I feel very badly for Sheena, she did the wrong thing. She was really nasty, and we had no choice. It is an expensive lesson for her," he added.
Monnin, who had resigned from the pageant over the debacle, was given 24 hours to retract her statement that the pageant is "fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy," although she chose instead to stand by her claims.
"Apparently the morning of June 3rd [Miss Florida] saw a folder lying open to a page that said 'FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012' and she saw the places for Top 5 already filled in," Monnin previously wrote on her Facebook page.
"After the Top 16 were called and we were standing backstage she hesitantly said to me and another contestant that she knew who the Top 5 were. I said 'who do you think they will be?' She said that she didn't 'think' she 'knew' because she saw the list that morning. She relayed whose names were on the list. Then we agreed to wait and see if that was indeed the Top 5 called that night. After it was indeed the Top 5 I knew the show must be rigged," she added.
A second contestant who chose to remain anonymous, supported Monnin's claims. She claimed that she too heard Miss Florida Karina Brez reveal who some of the top 5 finalists were even before the top 15 had been announced, according to Fox News. Miss Florida now insists she was joking, however.
"I saw Florida backstage and she was very, very flustered and upset. I thought it might be because she didn't make the top 15 cut, but at that point she was able to reveal to me at least four of the five names who went on to be the top girls," the contestant previously told Hollie McKay from Fox News.
Trump immediately dismissed all claims and suggested that Monnin was simply bitter and dishonest.
"I think [Monnin's] primary issue is that she lost and she's angry about losing. And frankly, in my opinion, I saw her barely a second and she didn't deserve to be in the top 15," Trump previously told the "Today Show."