50 Cent Loses Bid to Delay Sex-Tape Case Proceedings

Despite rapper’s bankruptcy filing, a jury can now assess punitive damages

50 Cent
Getty Images

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has been denied in his attempt to delay proceedings in a legal case involving a sex tape he leaked online.

The rapper, who declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy after a jury rendered a $5 million verdict against him in the case, lost a bid to keep an automatic stay in the case in place. Which means that a jury can go forward in determining whether punitive damages can be levied on the hip-hop mogul.

Jackson was successfully sued by Lastonia Leviston, who accused the rapper of posting a sex tape of her online, presumably to humiliate fellow rapper Rick Ross, with whom Leviston has a child. (The video depicts Leviston with another man.)

Earlier this month, a jury awarded $5 million to Leviston, and proceedings to determine punitive damages were to follow. Jackson quickly filed bankruptcy.

On Monday, Leviston filed a motion for relief from the automatic stay that the case would have been placed under as part of the Bankruptcy Code, contending, among other things, that a verdict had already been entered and that “the only matter left to resolve in the State Court is whether there are punitive damages to be awarded.”

Jackson’s legal team fired off an objection to Leviston’s motion on Thursday, arguing that he filed bankruptcy “to obtain the full protections of the bankruptcy laws, including the benefit of the automatic stay, in order to reorganize his financial affairs in a reasonable and timely manner.”

The objection also played up Jackson’s modest upbringing, noting, “Given the publicity that Mr. Jackson’s Chapter 11 filing has triggered, it is easy to forget that Mr. Jackson grew up in poverty in South Jamaica, a rough neighborhood of Queens, New York.”

But bankruptcy judge Ann M. Nevins wasn’t buying Jackson’s argument. On Friday, she ruled in Leviston’s favor writing, “the automatic stay … is hereby terminated” and that the New York State Supreme Court “may proceed to the entry of a judgment.”

Leviston’s attorney, Philip Freidin, said that Friday’s ruling would allow “the jury that has worked so hard for a month hearing evidence to complete its work.”

“We are pleased that Judge Nevins has allowed us to resume this case in New York on Monday. This allows the jury that has worked so hard for a month hearing evidence, to complete its work,” Freidin said. “Once again, we have overcome another delay allowing us to finally get back to Lastonia Leviston’s pursuit of justice against Mr. Curtis Jackson III, aka 50 Cent. I urge you all to familiarize yourself with the evidence and the jury’s findings that Mr. Jackson intentionally invaded my client Ms. Lastonia Leviston’s privacy and intentionally inflicted severe emotional distress on her.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.