Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Sheena Monnin made headlines this week in the wake of the 2012 Miss USA pageant when she resigned her title as Miss Pennsylvania USA, claiming the pageant was rigged and that the Top 5 were determined before the Top 16 were even announced on the broadcast.

Donald Trump, owner of the Miss USA organization, has fired back, calling her “disgraceful” and threatening her with a lawsuit over her accusations. The Miss USA organization has also said that Monnin didn’t resign over this alleged fraud, she resigned because she disagrees with the organization’s stance on transgender women competing.

In her first interview since the incident hit the news, Monnin tells “Today’s” Ann Curry that she is prepared to pursue this, even in the face of Trump’s lawsuit.

“I feel disappointed that he has made some of the statements that he’s said about me. I feel
prepared to continue to pursue the truth,” says Monnin. “I know what I heard and I know what I in turn witnessed come true based on what I heard the contestant said she saw the list. So I’m prepared to continue to march forward. What I really want out of this is for the truth to be known.”

When asked about Miss Florida, who is the person that allegedly saw the Top 5 list and told Miss Pennsylvania about it, Monnin says she would’ve been able to tell if Miss Florida was lying or making a joke, due to her Masters degree in Psychology.

“I have many years of psychological training. I know when someone is telling a joke, I know when someone is scared or when someone is serious,” says Monnin. “In my opinion, her body language was very serious and she looked a little bit scared because she had just seen something that would potentially drastically change the reputation of the Miss USA organization.”

“I feel an injustice has been done not only to the other people who were not in the Top 5, but to the thousands of pageant girls who compete, believing this is an honest system, as I did for nine years,” Monnin continues.

Curry brings up the allegations that Monnin is actually resigning because she disagrees with the transgender contestant policy and Monnin doesn’t deny that.

“There are a myriad of reasons why I’m resigning. That is an issue I discussed with my state director back in April. His reaction was Sheena, why don’t you formulate an answer so if you’re asked in an interview on stage, you can state your opinion in a public way. And I thought that was fair so I continued to serve the title,” says Monnin.

“Later on in my initial statement I also mentioned ‘fair play.’ I did not elaborate on that when I initially emailed my state director because I didn’t see the list. If I would have seen the list, I would’ve reacted in a very strong and matter-of-fact way. But I didn’t feel since I didn’t see the list that that was a valid reason at that time for resignation,” Monnin continues.

So, she didn’t see the list and didn’t feel at the time that that was a valid reason for resignation. But she resigned anyway and there are a “myriad of reasons.” That’s … maybe not what one should admit on national TV in the face of a lawsuit. Hmm.

What do you think, Zap2it readers?

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."