50 Cent is going to have to pay a lot of dollars.
Jurors in a civil suit against the rapper by a Florida mom who says he humiliated her by posting a sex tape of her online deliberated for just over an hour before socking him with a $5 million verdict — and he could be on the hook for many millions more.
The mom, Lastonia Leviston, broke down in tears while clutching the hand of her lawyer’s wife as the jury returned their verdict against the rapper — $2.5 million in damages for violating her civil rights for using her image without her permission, and $2.5 million for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Those figures could be multiplied next week, when the jury weights punitive damages against the “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” star.
The rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, didn’t show up to testify at the trial, which started June 15th, and he wasn’t in court for the verdict. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Paul Wooten told the jurors they were allowed to take note of his absence — which was made even more notable because he was in New York at the time, celebrating his 40th birthday.
Leviston’s lawyer, Philip Freidin, had urged the panel of four women and two men to hit the rapper with a $20 million judgment for his humiliation of the mother of two.
He said that Fitty had used the video as a tool to get publicity and diss rival rapper Rick Ross, who fathered a daughter with Leviston.
Jackson has doctored the tape of Leviston and a former boyfriend named Maurice Murray by superimposing his own character “Pimpin’ Curly” in the video while giving an expletive laced narration. He also added two of his songs as a soundtrack for the video, which racked up millions of views.
Jackson’s lawyer, James Renard, told jurors that his client had gotten the tape from Murray, who’d assured him that Leviston was fine with the sex tape going online.
In a videotaped deposition that was played for jury, he said he didn’t think he needed Leviston’s permission to use the tape because he said she was “cool with it.”