Grammy-winning rapper 50 Cent has filed for bankruptcy after losing a lawsuit over a 2008 sex tape.
Curtis James Jackson III listed assets and debt of less than US$50 million each in a court filing in Hartford, Connecticut, on Monday, Bloomberg News reported.
His personal bankruptcy follows a series of legal maneuvers that one federal judge called efforts to avoid trial in a five-year-old lawsuit involving the online posting of a sex tape, the report said.
Lastonia Leviston sued Jackson in 2010 in a New York state court, accusing him of posting the sexually explicit videotape and seeking payment for the unauthorized use of her image and damages for emotional distress.
Leviston said the recording, which she made with a boyfriend in 2008, was meant to be private.
But the boyfriend transferred or sold the video to 50 Cent, according to the complaint. 50 Cent edited the video, adding narration and footage of himself dressed in a wig and robe, Leviston said.
Jackson has twice tried to have the case moved out of the state court as trial was set to begin.
In one instance, he cited the bankruptcy of SMS Promotions, his boxing promotion company, which filed for creditor protection the day before the sex-tape trial was to start.
A jury awarded Leviston US$5 million in damages last week and was to consider further punitive damages.
In sending the case back to state court last month, US District Judge Katherine Polk Failla in Manhattan said some of 50 Cent’s arguments for removing the case to federal court beggared belief and accused him of using dilatory tactics “for the improper purpose of delaying the trial”.
In a related move, 50 Cent sued another man, seeking to make him liable for any damages he may be forced to pay in Leviston’s suit.
The defendant in that case originally published the sex tape, 50 Cent said in court papers, adding that he just put an embedded link to the video on a website.
The rapper gained fame following the 2003 release of his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’. He topped the charts again with his second album, The Massacre.
He later got involved in several business ventures, including a partnership with Glaceau, the maker of Vitamin Water. He was given a stake in the company, which Coca-Cola Co. bought in 2007 for more than US$4 billion.
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