Miss Illinois Reacts to Miss USA Fraud Allegation

Miss Pennsylvania claims pageant was rigged

By Marcus Riley
|  Friday, Jun 8, 2012  |  Updated 6:13 PM CDT
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Ashley Hooks says she applauds Miss Pennsylvania's right to speak her mind, but didn't see any evidence of wrongdoing at the Miss USA pageant.

Marcus Riley, Scott Compton, Chris Shields

Ashley Hooks says she applauds Miss Pennsylvania's right to speak her mind, but didn't see any evidence of wrongdoing at the Miss USA pageant.

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Who knew a beauty pageant could get so ugly?

Despite claims from Miss Pennsylvania that the Miss USA pageant was rigged, Illinois' representative, Ashley Hooks, says she didn't see anything at the pageant that would have led her to believe the system was rigged. 

Sheena Monnin says she believes the top 5 was determined before the show was broadcast because a fellow contestant, Miss Florida Karina Brez, told her she saw the list before the pageant began.

Hooks, a Flossmoor native, says she worked closely with Monnin in the days leading up to the pageant, but personally did not see the list in question. 

"Very intelligent woman. I applaud her for speaking out on what she believes in. For me, I had a positive experience. I can't tell you what she saw was correct or not or if she did see something or not. I didn't have that experience," Hooks says.

Brez says that what she told Monnin was never meant as a fact, but Monnin is sticking by her word, telling the NBC Today show that Brez is acting out of fear. Pageant producer Donald Trump has threatened to sue Monnin unless she retracts her story, but she's not backing down.

"I still think it's a positive experience," Hooks says. " I'm sorry that it's come out this way because I hate to see something I'm affiliated with turns so negatively so quickly."

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