Lady Gaga wins case to keep $500,000 dognapping reward

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Lady GagaImage source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Gaga is often accompanied by her dogs at award shows.

By Paul Glynn

Entertainment reporter

Lady Gaga does not have to pay a $500,000 (£410,000) reward to a woman who returned her dogs after they were stolen in 2021, a US judge has ruled.

Jennifer McBride previously sued the star for the "no questions asked" reward, plus $1.5m (£1.2m) in damages.

But the judge said Ms McBride couldn't claim the money because her role in returning the star's dogs had led to a conviction of receiving stolen goods.

She argued she was just making sure the three bulldogs were returned safely.

Ms McBride's lawyer said the singer and actress had committed a breach of contract and fraud by not paying up following their return.

But in a ruling this week, Judge Holly J Fujie said Ms McBride was "not entitled to thereafter benefit from their wrongdoing by seeking to enforce the contract".

What happened?

In February 2021, Ryan Fischer was walking the singer's French bulldogs in Hollywood when he was shot in the chest in what the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office called "a cold-hearted violent act".

Jackson and his accomplices took two of the dogs, Koji and Gustavto, following the shooting. A third, Miss Asia, ran away and was later found by police.

The two stolen dogs were returned unharmed by Ms McBride two days later after Gaga offered the reward.

Ms McBride was arrested along with four others in April 2021, and was charged with being an accessory to attempted murder.

In December, she struck a plea deal to have that charge dropped, and pleaded no contest to receiving stolen property, for which she was sentenced to two years probation.

She denied having been involved in the theft, saying she only took possession of Lady Gaga's pets "for the specific purpose of ensuring their protection and safely returning them".

That's something the singer and Oscar-winning actress's lawyers argued "makes no sense".

The judge has now upheld a previous ruling, saying Ms McBride cannot claim the reward because she "has unclean hands that prevent her from profiting from her actions".

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