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Bankruptcy claims won’t protect 50 Cent from paying punative damages for posting sex tape: Judge

July 18, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Bankruptcy claims won’t protect 50 Cent from paying punative damages for posting sex tape: Judge

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Rapper 50 Cent won’t get away with not paying for punitive damages no matter how hard he tries to hide his cash.

A federal judge in Connecticut said Friday that Curtis Jackson can’t avoid a Manhattan jury’s decision to hit him with damages for putting a private sex tape on the Internet.

Bankruptcy Judge Ann Nevins said “it is in everyone’s interest here including Mr. Jackson’s to reach finality” in Manhattan Supreme Court where a jury has been hearing evidence since mid June about the sex tape.

A panel of six jurors awarded Lastonia Leviston $5 million in compensatory damages on July 10 for Jackson’s decision to doctor her private sex tape in a humiliating way and post it on the Internet without her permission.

They also voted to impose punitive damages. But just as they were about to hear evidence on Jackson’s net worth Monday morning, Jackson’s lawyers filed a bankruptcy petition in federal court in Hartford and that stopped the clock — temporarily.

Leviston’s lawyers Elizabeth Austin and Phil Freidin asked the judge to let the state jury finish its work on Monday, arguing that they have already heard all the evidence and are in the best position to determine punitive damages.

Jackson’s lawyers Patrick Nelligan and James Renard contended that the Manhattan jury could not determine the size of an award without knowing the real state of Jackson’s finances and that any award — added to his pile of debts – would hurt other creditors.

Nelligan said Jackson, listed in Forbes as one of the richest men in hip hop, owes almost $30 million and has assets of only $24.5 million. His biggest creditor is Sleek Audio, a Florida firm, that accused him of stealing its headphone design. Jackson owes Sleek $18.4 million but is appealing that verdict. Leviston is his second largest creditor by being owed $5 million — with more to come.

Although Jackson filed a list of his 20 biggest creditors on Thursday night, he has not officially given the federal court a sworn list of assets and Nelligan said it would take weeks to assemble that data.

After the verdict last week, Jackson provided Leviston’s lawyers with an affidavit stating his net worth. That document has not been made public and Leviston’s team has subpoened him to testify about it on Monday.

Jackson ignored their last subpoena and failed to show up earlier this week.

Instead, he made fun of his bankruptcy petition by posing in front of a tiny Smart Car and suggesting that this is what he’s have to drive now instead of the Bentley he has been leasing.

Nevins disputed Nelligan’s claim that she or another federal judge could set punitive damages at a later date. She noted that the Manhattan jury has already heard all the evidence and already knows the extent to which the rapper’s behavior toward Leviston was’ “reprehensible.”

She said that it would be unfair to make Leviston go through the ordeal and expense of a second full trial in federal court to get punitive damages.

Nevins said her decision does not prevent Jackson from appealing the jury’s verdict in state court nor from trying to get Leviston’s ultimate pay out reduced in bankruptcy court.

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