Well, I can’t say it wasn’t warranted … Jurors in a civil suit against against 50 Cent BY a mother of Rick Ross’ child who says he humiliated her by posting a sex tape of her online deliberated for over an hour on Friday before socking him with a $5 million verdict — and he may have to pay many millions more.
The mother, Lastonia Leviston, broke down in tears as the jury returned their verdict against the rapper – $2.5 million in damages for violating her civil rights for using her image without her permission, and $2.5 million for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Those figures could be multiplied next week, when the jury weighs punitive damages.
50 did not show up to testify at the trial and he wasn’t in court for the verdict. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Paul Wooten told the jurors they were allowed to take note of his absence — which was made even more notable because he was in New York at the time, celebrating his 40th birthday.
The judge ordered Fitty’s lawyers to turn over his financial net worth statements and his tax returns for the last five years to help the jury decide next week how large the punitive damages award should be.
Wooten told jurors the amount of punitive damages can be large enough that it not only punishes the filthy rich Fitty, but deters others “from indulging in similar conduct in the future.”
50 reportedly has a net worth that’s been estimated to be between $150 to $500 million.
So the story goes that 50 had doctored the tape of Leviston (Rozay’s BM) and a former boyfriend named Maurice Murray by superimposing his own character “Pimpin’ Curly” in the video while giving an expletive laced narration of the action, referring to Leviston as a “bitch” and a “ho” and describing her body parts in crude detail. He ends the tape by telling Leviston, “You a motherf—– porn star now.”
The video went viral in March 2009 after Jackson had promoted it on his website and posted links to the full 13 minute video, which racked up millions of views. It also ended up on numerous porn sites.
50’s lawyer, James Renard, told jurors his client had gotten the private tape from Murray, who’d assured him that Leviston (Rick Ross’ BM) was fine with the video going online.
In a videotaped deposition that was played for jury, 50 said he didn’t think he needed Leviston’s permission to use the tape because Murray said she was “cool with it.”
50 is expected to appeal, but the lawsuit has already been costly for him – he racked up $400,000 in legal fees with the law firm that was defending the case before it went to trial, court papers show.