Miss California Carrie Prejean will keep her crown, Miss USA pageant owner Donald Trump announced at a press conference Tuesday at Trump Tower in New York City.
Prejean, 21, failed to reveal before last month's Miss USA pageant that she had posed in her underwear as a teenager. But Trump said, "We are in the 21st century ... and Carrie is a model, she's a very successful model, we have determined - and we have the absolute right under the contract - we have determined that the pictures taken are fine."
(He also praised Prejean for being honest when she said she was against same sex marriage at last month's pageant. Trump said she gave a "very honest answer when asked a very tough question. It's the same answer that the President of the United States gave.")
Fighting back tears, Prejean, who attended the conference, thanked Trump for "believing" in her.
"Most importantly, I would like to thank God," she said.
Prejean first ignited controversy at the April 19 pageant when she told judge Perez Hilton that she believed marriage should be between only a man and a woman, igniting a cultural debate. The runner-up said her answer cost her the crown.
Prejean later announced that she'll be launching a campaign opposing gay marriage with the National Organization for Marriage.
A short time later, racy photos surfaced. Prejean said the pictures were leaked to humiliate her because of her anti-gay marriage views, calling it a "vicious and mean-spirited" attacks. (Even more photos hit the web before Trump's press conference Tuesday morning.)
On Monday, California pageant officials announced that Prejean violated her contract by lobbying on behalf of an anti-gay-marriage group and by failing to reveal that she had posed in her underwear as a teenager.
They appointed Tami Farrell, her runner-up, as "Beauty of California Ambassador" to fulfill any duties that Prejean might not be able to carry out. As for whether Prejean should be stripped of her crown, they said only Trump can make the decision.
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