A federal jury awarded rapper Cardi B about $4 million in a libel lawsuit against a celebrity gossip blogger who posted videos in 2018 alleging she was a prostitute who had contracted sexually transmitted diseases and had used cocaine.
Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, had sued the celebrity gossip known as Tasha K in 2019 for posting more than 20 videos spreading “malicious rumours” about the rapper, according to the lawsuit, filed in the American district. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, where Tasha K resides.
The jury found Tasha K, whose real name is Latasha Kebe, liable on two charges of defamation and one of libel and invasion of privacy, according to a verdict filed on Monday.
The jury awarded Ms. Almanzar $1.25 million on Monday and another $2.8 million on Tuesday, according to separate verdicts filed Monday and Tuesday. The award includes $25,000 for medical expenses and approximately $1.3 million to cover the rapper’s legal costs.
Ms Kebe had also posted in 2018 that Ms Almanzar had herpes outbreaks in her mouth and that she was going to give birth to a child with intellectual disabilities.
Ms. Almanzar, 29, testified in court this month that she felt “extremely suicidal” after Ms. Kebe posted the videos, adding that “only a bad person can do that,” said Lisa Moore, a lawyer for Ms Almanzar, on Monday.
In the lawsuit, the rapper’s lawyers said the content would damage her reputation with her fans and hurt her business prospects. Cardi B, a Grammy-winning rapper from the Bronx, rose to fame in 2017 with her song “Bodak Yellow,” immortalizing her penchant for making “money moves.”
Ms Kebe’s claims have helped her rack up millions of views on Twitter, Instagram and her YouTube channel, unWinewithTashaK. Most of the content can still be viewed online, even though the rapper sent Ms Kebe a letter of resignation to Ms Kebe a few months after Ms Kebe first posted about her in 2018, according to the lawsuit.
Ms. Almanzar’s lawyers said Ms. Kebe was “obsessed with defaming” the rapper, and that she posted the content because it got more views than her other posts, according to the lawsuit. Ms. Almanzar’s lawyers said the rapper was not a prostitute, had never had herpes and had never used cocaine.
In a statement on Tuesday, attorneys for Ms. Kebe, Olga Izmaylova and Sadeer Sabbak, that they disagreed with the verdict and planned to appeal.
On Monday afternoon, Mrs. Kebe said: Twitter that “My husband, lawyer and I fought very hard”, adding “it’s only from here.”
Ms. Almanzar had filed the lawsuit against both Ms. Kebe and Starmarie Ebony Jones, a guest on Ms. Kebe’s YouTube channel who claimed to be a former friend of the rapper.
Ms Jones was not involved in the verdict on Monday because she moved to New York after Ms Almanzar charged her, the rapper’s lawyers said. The lawyers re-indicted her in New York, where she was charged last year for defamation, defamation and invasion of privacy. A lawyer for Ms Jones was not immediately available for comment Monday evening.
This case was not the rapper’s first time in court. She was charged in Queens in 2019 in connection with a brawl at a strip club the year before. The case is still ongoing.