Prejean Sues Miss USA Pageant Officials

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Former Miss California U.S.A. Carrie Prejean sued pageant officials for libel, slander and religious discrimination on Monday.

Prejean sued California pageant executive director Keith Lewis and actress and former Miss USA Shanna Moakler, who served as a co-director before resigning in protest of Prejean.

Pageant officials fired Prejean in June, saying she missed several scheduled appearances. But Charles LiMandri, Prejean's attorney, said she was ousted, because she affirmed traditional marriage when asked about gay marriage by a pageant judge.

She was named first runner-up, and many believe she lost her shot at the Miss USA crown because of her answer.

LiMandri said Prejean filed suit only after he sought detailed information on what events Prejean missed.

"I wanted to give them every opportunity to provide the basis for those claims," LiMandri said.

He said he found no proof that Prejean missed events. "There were no contract violations," he said.

Prejean's lawsuit says the pageant directors told her to stop mentioning God two months before the gay marriage question.

Moakler's attorney, Mel Avanzado, said in a statement that Prejean's lawsuit was without merit.

"More importantly, as everyone who watched or read her public statements is well aware, Ms. Prejean's unfortunate and bigoted statements are responsible for any public humiliation or damages to her reputation that she has claimed to have suffered," Avanzado wrote. "Ms. Moakler strenuously denies that she did anything wrong and looks forward to proving that in a court of law."

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