Just hours after Cardi B won a libel case against YouTuber and blogger Tasha K – who the rapper accused of leading a “malicious campaign” of posts to taint her reputation – jurors have decided that Cardi should be owed an additional seven-figure sum in punitive damages.
Earlier this week, the defendant (real name Latasha Kebe) was found liable for defamation, invasion of privacy and causing emotional distress, after – as Cardi alleged in her initial filing – she made “highly offensive” claims that Cardi cheated on her husband Offset, had herpes and HPV, worked as a sex worker and used cocaine.
Cardi’s lawyers successfully argued that the ‘Up’ star had suffered “embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional distress”, with Kebe ordered to pay her $1.25million (£930,000) in general damages and $250,000 (£185,000) for medical expenses.
Now, Rolling Stone reports that jurors have hit Kebe with an additional set of penalties, resolving that Cardi will be owed a further $1.5million (£1.1million) in punitive damages. Cardi will also be awarded the full costs of her legal expenses and fees incurred by her attorneys. Altogether, Kebe – and by extension her company, Kebe Studios – will be ordered to pay Cardi a compensatory package exceeding $4million (£2.96million).
In a statement issued yesterday (January 25), Kebe’s lawyer, Safeer Sabbak, said he and his client “disagree with the verdict” and “will be filing an appeal”.
Cardi, on the other hand, celebrated her triumph with a statement reading: “After almost four years of repeated libel and slander against me, being able to walk away from this victorious brings me great happiness. 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. 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.”
During the fourth day of the week-long trial, Cardi told the court that she’d “felt extremely suicidal” and “helpless” over the “false” online rumours. “Only an evil person could do that shit,” she said, explaining to jurors that she had never felt suicidal before the ordeal. She also explained that she had struggled to be intimate with her husband, experienced anxiety and eventually decided to see a therapist due to the distress caused.
When questioned by Cardi’s attorneys earlier in the trial, Kebe reportedly told jurors that she knowingly published lies about the rapper in order to generate income for her business (via Law360).
Meanwhile, Cardi revealed last week that she is currently at work on new music, working on her second album in a “ghetto ass studio”. The rapper told fans last April that she was “going away for a very long time” to finish the record, and last month confirmed that she plans to release the ‘Invasion Of Privacy’ follow-up at some point in 2022.