Pageant to question Miss USA contestants over rigging claims

Last Updated: Sat, Jun 16, 2012 14:10 hrs

Miss Universe Organization's (MUO) legal department has reportedly been making calls to Miss USA contestants of this year over rigging claims.

This week, a second unnamed contender had came forward to back up the claims that was made by the now-retired Miss Pennsylvania Sheen Monnin that she heard Miss Florida repeat a list of the pageant's top five, long before the finalists were announced.

According to sources, all the contestants will be questioned in the coming days.

"There are apparently a handful of girls who are being very vocal about it all and said they heard something," Fox News quoted a source as telling TMZ.

The source further said that at least one other contestant had privately confirmed the story put forth by Monnin and the second anonymous pageant contender.

"There are apparently a handful of girls who are being very vocal about it all and said they heard something," the source said.

The Trump-owned Miss Universe Organization (MUO), which also operates the Miss USA contest, has strongly denied the allegations of pre-show fixing, and has filed a lawsuit against Monnin over her accusations.

According to the sources, the 2012 Miss USA contestants have started a private social media group and are discussing the incident and allegations amongst themselves.

"Other girls want to come out and talk about it openly, but they're scared, the source said.

Donald Trump vehemently denied the claims of Monnin.

"There is no list, it is impossible. You have Ernst and Young standing there tabulating everything, you have standards and practices from NBC," Trump said.

"You have a panel of celebrities who put down whatever they think. Nobody cares who the top five are.

"What difference does it make? Nobody cares who the top 15 to five is, whoever it is it is. What difference does it make? I will say this; if (daughter) Ivanka Trump was a contestant, I would care," he said.

Ernst and Young also denied the claims.

"Ernst and Young's role in the Miss USA pageant is to independently tabulate the judges' votes and verify the results during the live broadcast. Throughout the Miss USA 2012 live broadcast, the eight celebrity judges individually submitted their votes which we independently tabulated. In each case, the results of the tabulations remained under Ernst and Young's control until we presented them to the hosts during the live broadcast," Ernst and Young said in a statement released this Thursday.

"Ernst and Young tabulated the list of the top ten Miss USA finalists after the swimsuit competition was completed and then tabulated the list of the final five Miss USA finalists after the evening gown competition was completed. No one could have seen either list beforehand, because they did not exist until they were tabulated by us.

"Therefore, neither the Miss Universe Organization, Donald Trump, NBC, the eight celebrity judges, nor any of the contestants could have known who the final five Miss USA finalists were before the evening gown competition was completed and the tabulation was verified by Ernst and Young during the live broadcast," they added. (ANI)

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