More than five years after suing rapper 50 Cent for posting her private sex video online as part of his rap beef with her baby daddy, Lastonia Ross finally got justice This afternoon, a NYC jury ordered the rapper to pay Lastonia $5 million.
The whopping verdict came down after the four-woman, two-man jury deliberated for only an hour and ten minutes toward the end of a five-week trial Friday. Now Jackson may have to appear in court next week with his net worth statement in hand so the jury can decide on additional, punitive damages. The jurors found that the woman, Ross’ baby mama Lastonia Leviston, suffered “severe emotional distress” when the rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, narrated the video calling her a “slut” and “motherf–king porn star.” They also decided that Jackson had profited off the posting that was linked to his website ThisIs50.com. The posting violated Leviston’s privacy rights, the jurors found. In a Hot 97 interview with Jackson that was played during the Manhattan Supreme Court trial the Grammy-Award winner admitted that his feud with Ross drove traffic to his website. Jackson needles Ross in the x-rated video with a voiceover saying, “Is that your baby Ricky?” Leviston’s lawyers said that the publication of the 2009 film, which shows her in graphic sex positions with her then boyfriend Maurice Murray, nearly drove the mother of two to suicide. Murray reportedly sold the video to Jackson after his breakup with Leviston. “Maurice broke her heart and 50 Cent ruined her life,” Leviston’s lawyer, Philip Freidin said in his closing statement Thursday. Freidin asked the judge to demand that Jackson come to court next week and turn over his state and federal tax returns for the past five years. The disclosure would provide a rare peak into the finances of one of the world’s most successful rappers. The Jamaica, Queens native and one-time crack cocaine dealer, who has his own vodka line and video game series, is reportedly worth a half billion dollars. The verdict came down just hours before Jackson’s 40th birthday celebration at Drai’s Nighclub in Las Vegas.
As it was announced in the Manhattan courtroom Leviston, 36, sat in the front row squeezing the hand of a friend and then wiped away tears as the jury foreman, a grey-haired art professor, read the verdict sheet. She won $2.5 million for the privacy violation and $2.5 million for emotional distress. Jackson’s attorney James Renard declined to comment because the hearing on punitive damages continues on Monday. During closing arguments he said Leviston – who he called a former topless dancer and escort nicknamed “Ecstasy”– was just after the rapper’s deep pockets. Renard also claimed the doctored video was “intended to be a satirical piece directed at Rick Ross.” Leviston declined to comment, but she grinned as she left court Friday afternoon.
source: NY Post