Cardi B Accuser Wants New Trial Over Album Cover, Citing Her ‘Theatrics’ On Witness Stand
A man who claimed he was "devastated" after his massive back tattoo appeared on the cover of Cardi's debut mixtape wants a second chance to prove it to a jury.
A man whose back tattoo was unwittingly photoshopped into a Cardi B album cover is once again asking a federal judge to revive his failed case against the rapper, arguing that the star “engaged in theatrics” on the witness stand and deprived him of a fair trial.
Weeks after Judge Cormac Carney ruled there had been enough evidence to support Cardi’s courtroom victory, Kevin Brophy formally requested a new trial Wednesday, seeking another chance to convince a jury that she “humiliated” him with the risqué cover of her 2016 Gangsta Bitch Music Vol. 1.
Among other things, Brophy took aim at Cardi herself, arguing that the star (real name Belcalis Almánzar) had committed “misconduct” on the witness stand by sparring with Brophy’s attorney, A. Barry Cappello.
“Almanzar repeatedly engaged in theatrics, refused to answer basic questions, impermissibly disclosed privileged and confidential settlement communications, and generally acted with total disregard and disrespect for the jury’s time and formal nature of court proceedings,” Brophy’s lawyers wrote.
Citing supposedly calm behavior when examined by her own lawyers – “a switch in demeanor that puts Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to shame” – the filing called Cardi’s testimony a “a deliberate strategy to frustrate Plaintiff’s presentation of his case and improperly influence the jury.”
Brophy sued Cardi in 2017 for millions in damages, claiming he was “devastated, humiliated and embarrassed” by the cover of Cardi’s Gangsta Bitch. The image featured the then-rising star taking a swig of a large beer, staring directly into the camera with her legs spread wide, and holding a man’s head while he appears to perform oral sex on her.
The actual man in the image was a model who had consented to the shoot, but a giant tattoo on the man’s back belonged to Brophy. Unbeknownst to Cardi, a freelance graphic designer had typed “back tattoos” into Google Image, found one that fit (Brophy’s), and Photoshopped it onto the model’s body.
Brophy’s lawsuit claimed Cardi and others involved in the cover had violated his so-called right of publicity by using his likeness without his consent, and also violated his right to privacy by casting him in a “false light” that was “highly offensive.” Cardi’s lawyers called the allegations “sheer fantasy” and “vastly overblown,” arguing that nobody would have recognized a relatively unknown man based merely on his back.
During a four-day trial in October, Cardi took the stand to defend herself. When examined by Brophy’s attorney Cappello, things repeatedly got heated between the two – so much so that at one point the Judge Carney cleared the jury, told Cappello he had “totally crossed the line,” and threatened to declare a mistrial.
At the end of the trial, the jury agreed with the superstar’s defenses, clearing Cardi of all Brophy’s claims. Brophy later asked the judge to throw out the verdict for a lack of evidence, but the judge denied that motion in December.
In addition to criticizing Cardi’s testimony, Brophy’s new motion on Wednesday also argued that his lawyers had been denied the chance to properly cross-examine the star, and that the judge had unfairly refused to let jurors hear about Cardi’s earlier defamation trial in Atlanta.
Attorneys for Cardi will have chance to file a formal response in court in the coming weeks. The star’s lawyers did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday.
Read the entire motion for a new trial here: