A jury on Friday ordered 50 Cent to pay $5 million to a Florida woman who says she was humiliated by the rapper’s posting of a sex tape of her online without her permission.
Jurors deliberated just over an hour before handing down the multimillion-dollar verdict against 50 Cent, according to the New York Daily News.
The plaintiff, Lastonia Leviston, broke down in tears when the jury returned the verdict. The jury awarded the Florida woman $2.5 million in damages for violation of her civil rights and for the use of her image without permission, and $2.5 million for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, did not attend the trial to testify or hear the verdict.
In 2003, Lastonia Leviston had a child with rapper Rick Ross, who had a long-standing rivalry with 50 Cent. In 2009, the Florida woman made a private sex tape with then-boyfriend Maurice Murray, who soon thereafter sold the tape to 50 Cent. According to Page Six, the rapper doctored the tape before posting it to his website, including adding degrading language by referring to Leviston as a “slut.”
“The camera, of course, filmed her private parts. At some point [Jackson] starts describing her private parts in intimate detail in a way that none of us would want to happen. He makes reference to her stretch marks from her birth.”
The rapper also added two of his songs as a soundtrack to the video, which helped rack up millions of views to his website. Jackson also edited the tape to replace Murray’s face with a cartoon character named “Pimpin’ Curly,” which was an animation of 50 Cent in a wig and fur coat, according to the Daily Mail.
The rapper posted the sex tape on his website during the height of his feud with Ross and at that time, Rick Ross and Lastonia Leviston were together.
In defense of his client, Jackson’s attorney, James Renard, told jurors that the rapper thought the Florida woman was “cool” with the tape going public as Murray assured him that she was fine with it being posted to the rapper’s website.
Attorneys for Lastonia Leviston say the Florida woman brought her civil suit against 40-year-old Jackson because his actions destroyed her life and drove her to the brink of suicide. Jackson’s attorney argued the plaintiff was just going after the rapper’s “deep pockets.”
Friday’s $5 million verdict may not be all that 50 Cent has to pay, as the jurors are set to weigh punitive damages next week.
[Image by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]