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.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Monnin, of Cranberry, Pa., said “This is not about me being a ‘sore loser’ or wanting my ’15 minutes of fame.’ This is about the MUO’s admission under oath that they manipulate the judges’ results to suit their own ends.”
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.
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.
Prince passes chopper test
LONDON – Britain’s defense ministry says Prince Harry has qualified to command an Apache attack helicopter — the culmination of three years of training.
Harry, 28, known as Capt. Wales in the army, earlier this year completed a 20-week deployment in Afghanistan as a co-pilot gunner on an Apache and since then has flown missions in the U.K.
The military said Harry’s test involved a “grueling” six-hour flying assessment which took him all over the U.K. and required him to simulate a low-level attack.