Cardi B Wins Million-Dollar Defamation Verdict Against YouTuber
A federal jury on Monday sided with Cardi B on her accusations that a YouTuber waged a “malicious campaign” to hurt the superstar’s reputation, issuing a verdict that the woman had defamed the rapper and awarding the star more than $1 million in damages.
Following a two-week trial that featured testimony from both women, the jury returned a verdict that Latasha Kebe was liable for defamation and two other forms of wrongdoing over her YouTube videos and other internet posts — which claimed that Cardi B had contracted herpes, among other unsavory rumors.
Monday’s verdict awarded Cardi B $1.25 million in damages, but the total could potentially end up higher. Proceedings will kick off Tuesday to decide whether Kebe owes additional punitive damages, or whether she must reimburse Cardi B for her legal expenses.
Neither side’s attorneys immediately returned requests for comment.
Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Almánzar, sued Kebe in 2019 over dozens of videos that contained shocking claims about the rapper. One video cited in the lawsuit includes a statement that Cardi B “f—ed herself with beer bottles on f—ing stripper stages.” Others said she had contracted herpes; that she had been a prostitute; that she had cheated on her husband; and that she had done hard drugs.
A trial kicked off on Jan. 10 in Georgia federal court, during which both women took the stand. Cardi B testified that she felt “suicidal” in the wake of Kebe’s videos, and said that “only an evil person could do that shit.” Kebe initially admitted that she knowingly published lies about the rapper, but she later tried to walk back that statement when examined by her own attorneys.
Ultimately, the jurors sided with Cardi B. In addition to defamation, the jury also held Kebe liable for invasion of privacy through portrayal in a false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Kebe’s attorneys can challenge the verdict to the judge in the weeks ahead. If he upholds it, her attorneys can then appeal the verdict to a federal appeals court.
Cardi B was represented in the trial by Lisa F. Moore and William A. Pequignot of the law firm Moore Pequignot and by Gary P. Adelman and Sarah M. Matz of Adelman Matz. Kebe was represented by Sadeer Sabbak and Olga Izmaylova of Sabbak & Izmaylova.
View a copy of the verdict below.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.