The Miss Universe company, which runs the Miss USA pageant, sued former contestant Sheena Monnin for defamation after Monnin wrote in a Facebook post in June that a fellow contestant claimed to have seen a list of the pageant’s top-five winners before the contest had begun.
Monnin resigned as Miss Pennsylvania in June, stating in the post that she “knew” the show must be rigged.
The winner of the Miss USA pageant goes on to represent the nation in the Miss Universe competition.
An arbitrator assigned to the court case in New York ruled that Monnin acted with “actual malice” in claiming the pageant’s winner was predetermined.
“Monnin claimed the pageant was rigged within minutes of being passed over as one of the 16 semi-finalists, and before she had any purported factual basis for her allegation of rigging,” arbitrator Theodore H. Katz wrote in the ruling.
Monnin repeated her accusations on NBC’s Today show following her resignation, drawing the ire of Trump, who said he would sue Monnin and suggested she was a poor loser.
The Miss Universe contest will crown this year’s winner today in Las Vegas on NBC. — Reuters
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