A Pennsylvania beauty queen who claimed the Miss USA contest was fixed has been ordered to pay the pageant $5 million for defamation.
An arbitrator found that Sheena Monnin's comments were false, harmful and malicious.
Monnin was Miss Pennsylvania USA when she competed in the pageant. She did not make it past the preliminary rounds, but claimed that the pageant was rigged. Monnin said another contestant saw the list of finalists before the show even started and that when the finalists were announced, they were in the exact order of the alleged list. That contestant later said she was joking. When Monnin did not back down from her claims, Donald Trump's Miss USA pageant sued her.
The arbitrator says there is no reasonable possibility the judging was rigged and that allegations Monnin made on Facebook and NBC's "Today" show (see below) cost the pageant $5 million from a potential 2013 sponsor.
"Absolutely not. I have many years of psychological training. I know when someone is scared and when someone is serious and in my opinion, her body language was very serious and she looked a little bit scared because she had just seen something that would potentially drastically change the reputation of the Miss Universe organization," Monnin told NBC's Ann Curry on June 8.
Monnin did not participate in the arbitration. Her lawyer's office said the attorney had no comment.
The arbitrator says Monnin was disgruntled about not making it past the preliminary rounds. He also says she objected to the pageant's decision to allow transgender contestants.
Monnin resigned as Miss Pennsylvania USA after the pageant.