On July 15, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson went on TBS’ “Conan” to promote his new film, “Southpaw.” During the appearance, the rapper/actor also addressed his filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection just two days prior.
He explained to host Conan O’Brien: “Yeah, I need protection. You get a bull’s-eye painted on your back when you’re successful, and it’s public. You become the ideal person for lawsuits.”
Jackson filed for bankruptcy days after he was ordered to pay $US5 million to rival rapper Rick Ross’ ex-girlfriend, Lastonia Leviston, who sued him for posting a sex tape online to millions of viewers in an alleged attempt to embarrass Ross.
While testifying on July 21 in a Manhattan Supreme Court, Leviston’s attorney took the comments Jackson made on “Conan” and ran with them.
Using Jackson’s comments on “Conan” as ammunition, Leviston’s attorney tried to make the point that the only reason Jackson filed for bankruptcy was to shield himself from the lawsuit. (A clip of 50 Cent’s comments originally available on the show’s website has since been taken down.)
Check out the back-and-forth questioning, according to a court transcript of the proceedings obtained by Business Insider:
Lawyer: Let’s talk about things you’ve said since this bankruptcy. You went on Conan O’Brien, did you not?
Lawyer: You said that you made a joke out of the fact that you need protection regarding bankruptcy?
Jackson: Yeah. You got to smile when you are in public situations. If you’re crying, they will just have more fun with you.
Lawyer: Did you also say that you considered yourself a target?
Jackson: I do.
Lawyer: Were you talking about this case?
Jackson: Well, just in general because overall if you know attorneys make a living off this.
Jackson then addressed Leviston in court and said, “I’m sorry if you feel I hurt you in any way,” in regards to posting the sex tape, which he said was given to him by Leviston’s fiancé.
Leviston’s attorney then went back on the offensive.
From the court transcript:
Lawyer: Mr. Jackson, you went on the Conan O’Brien show after the verdict came in and after you filed for bankruptcy —
Lawyer: — protection and you said I’m the target not her. I’m the target, right?
Jackson: Right. When you look —
Lawyer: Did you say that?
Lawyer: Did you say that filing bankruptcy is about asset protection?
Jackson: Yes, I believe I said that.
Lawyer: Did you also say — it may not have just been on that show — that reorganization or this filing does stop things moving forward that you don’t want moving forward?
Lawyer: Were those your words?
Lawyer: That’s what you filed this bankruptcy petition for reorganization, wasn’t it, to stop something from moving forward that you didn’t want moving forward?
Lawyer: And you also said, did you not, that “I’m not going to give people what I work for. They are going to have to work for it too.” People that you owe money to?
Jackson: No, I was saying I’m not going to give money to people. They have to work hard like I worked hard to get what I have.
Lawyer: Did you say, “I’m not going to give people what I work for, they are going to have to work for it too,” in the context of talking about this bankruptcy?
Jackson: No, just in general they are going to have to work for it like I worked hard for it.
Lawyer: When did you say that, was this last week?
Jackson: Yes. That was on the talk show. You’re talking to a comedian. You’re taking a lot of things out of context. It’s like taking a joke wrong to the media.
Three days later, Jackson was ordered to pay Leviston $US2 million in punitive damages on top of the $US5 million he was originally ordered to pay.
BI reached out to 50 Cent’s rep for comment, but did not receive a reply. We will update this story accordingly.
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