UPDATE (1/25): Jurors handed Cardi B another resounding win Tuesday in her defamation victory over Latasha Kebe, deciding the celebrity blogger and her company should pay the rapper $1.5 million in punitive damages.
The jurors also awarded Cardi every penny of the expenses and attorneys fees she requested.
Combined with the $1.25 million in actual damages awarded with Monday’s verdict, the total compensation that Kebe, known as Tasha K, and her company Kebe Studios should pay the rapper now tops $4 million, jurors decided.
Cardi, meanwhile, was triumphant. “After almost four years of repeated libel and slander against me, being able to walk away from this victorious brings me great happiness,” she said in her own statement Tuesday.
“During this trial, all of you have learned about the darkest time in my life. That moment in time was fueled by the vile, disgusting, and completely false narratives that were repeatedly and relentlessly being shared online. I thought I would never be heard or vindicated and I felt completely helpless and vulnerable,” she wrote.
“I have never taken for granted the platform that my fame allows me to have, which is why for over three years I dedicated every resource I had to seek justice. And not just justice for me. The truth is that the intentional harm that was done to me, is done to countless others every day. The only difference between me and the high schooler who is being cyberbullied and lied on by their classmates is the money and resources I have access to. We collectively have to say enough is enough,” she said.
Originally published 1/24/2022
Cardi B won her defamation case against celebrity blogger Latasha Kebe — known as Tasha K — on Monday. The jury awarded the rapper $1.25 million in actual damages after a trial in federal court in Georgia.
A courtroom observer told Rolling Stone that the Grammy winner was present when the verdict was read. After the jury left, she appeared “elated” and hugged her lawyer Lisa Fortune Moore first, her co-counsel Sarah Matz second and then pulled both lawyers into a three-way hug, the source said.
The jury sided with the “WAP” singer on all three claims of defamation, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to a court filing. The damages so far break down into $1 million for “pain and suffering and/or reputational injury,” and $250,000 for actual medical expenses.
The parties are due back in court Tuesday to take up the matter of possible punitive damages and attorneys fees.
Cardi’s camp had no immediate comment, but the rapper posted a vintage photo on Instagram showing a woman who appeared to be her late grandmother and the caption, “My queen, thank you for hearing my prayers…Only you know those nights that I cried to you feeling hopeless and tired even when it seems like I have the world on my hands.”
A lawyer for Kebe did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment after the verdict.
Cardi, whose legal name is Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar, filed her underlying libel and defamation lawsuit in March 2019, saying Kebe’s alleged “campaign of slander” involved false allegations she had herpes, used cocaine, and worked as a prostitute.
Taking the witness stand to plead her case, Cardi testified two weeks ago that she suffered extreme “anxiety” and “depression” after Kebe posted YouTube videos with the false statements. She told jurors that severe stress caused her weight to fluctuate and led to issues in her personal relationships, a courtroom source told Rolling Stone, confirming that at one point, Cardi went as far as saying she felt utterly hopeless.
“I felt extremely suicidal,” Cardi B testified, according to Billboard. “Only an evil person could do that shit.”
In her lawsuit, Cardi said Kebe’s videos garnered millions of views.
“None of the aforementioned statements about plaintiff are true. Plaintiff was never a prostitute or a user of cocaine. Plaintiff has never, and does not now, have herpes, nor has she had herpes outbreaks on her mouth,” her lawsuit states.
Back in November, Cardi and her legal team said they welcomed a judge’s ruling this gave him a direct line to her STD test results from a California hospital. The judge later said in a Dec. 8 minute order that he “received and reviewed the records and finds that they are not helpful to defendant (Kebe).”
Kebe, whose YouTube channel is called unWinewithTashaK, previously countersued Cardi with claims of assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
She claimed the rapper “began to publicly trash” her online, leading to threats from fans. The judge dismissed those claims over the summer.