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Former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin will no longer have to stand up to Donald Trump and the Miss Universe Organization alone. A second Miss USA contestant has come forward, backing up Monnin’s claims that the Top 5 was set before the Top 15 were announced.
The second contestant came forward to Fox News and did not reveal her name to remain anonymous. Like Monnin, she says that another contestant saw the list and was distraught. She says that the contestant who actually saw the list was Miss Florida Karina Brez.
“I saw Florida backstage and she was very, very flustered and upset. I thought it might be because she didn’t make the top 15 cut, but at that point she was able to reveal to me at least four of the five names who went on to be the top girls,” the contestant told Fox News. “She couldn’t remember the fifth because she was so upset. Several of the girls then started hearing through the grapevine about a list; a lot of people were upset.”
Monnin resigned from her post on June 4, the day after the Miss USA pageant aired live on NBC. In a Facebook post, she explained her reasons for resigning. “I witnessed another contestant who said she saw the list of the Top 5 BEFORE THE SHOW EVER STARTED proceed to call out in order who the Top 5 were before they were announced on stage. Apparently the morning of June 3rd she saw a folder lying open to a page that said 'FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012' and she saw the places for Top 5 already filled in,” she wrote.
Trump, who owns the Miss Universe Organization, went on the morning TV shows slamming what she said and threatened to sue Monnin if she didn’t recant her statement. Later, it was reported that Trump is set to file the lawsuit. He also insists that Monnin is a sore loser, who made the whole story up. Monnin herself appeared on Today and did not back off her statement.
Brez herself has backed Trump. In a statement, she said that she did see a list “...and like most people in such frenetic circumstances, joked that they must be names of the final contestants.” She added, “It was a throwaway comment, in the stress of the pageant, and was never meant as fact...The list I saw didn't even have the eventual winner on it.”
A rep for the MUO told Fox News that the judging is monitored by an outside organization as the live broadcast is taking place. “In accordance with the rules of the competition, Ernst & Young's tabulation of the judges' votes which determined the final five contestants did not occur until after the evening gown competition had been completed.”
The rep also said that other contestants have backed Brez’s statement. “We have spoken to several other contestants who confirm Miss Florida USA’s position on what she said.”