A Los Angeles judge says Lady Gaga is not obligated to pay out on a $500,000 “no questions asked” reward for the return of her stolen French bulldogs — at least not to a woman who was criminally charged over the violent 2021 incident.
In a ruling Monday (July 10) reported by TMZ, Judge Holly J. Fujie dismissed a breach of contract lawsuit filed by Jennifer McBride, who pleaded no contest in December to receiving stolen property in connection with the gunpoint robbery in which Gaga’s dog walker Ryan Fischer was shot and nearly killed.
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McBride had argued that Gaga’s offer of a reward was “unilateral” — meaning she had to pay up no matter the circumstances. But in Monday’s decision, Judge Fujie reportedly agreed with arguments from Gaga’s attorneys: That a criminal like McBridge could not “profit from her participation in a crime.”
Neither side immediately returned requests for comment on Monday.
McBride is one of five people charged over the Feb. 24, 2021, gunpoint dog-napping of Gaga’s bulldogs, Koji and Gustav. Prosecutors say the singer was not specifically targeted, and that the group was merely trying to steal French bulldogs, which can be worth thousands of dollars.
James Howard Jackson, the man who shot Fischer during the robbery, took a plea deal in December and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.
Days after the attack, it was McBride who returned the dogs to police, claiming she’d found the animals tied to a pole and asking about the reward. While police initially told the media that McBride appeared to be “uninvolved and unassociated” with the crime, she was later connected to the robbery and charged with one count of receiving stolen property and one count of being an accessory after the fact. In December, she pleaded no contest to the property charge and was sentenced to two years of probation.
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But just two months later, McBride was back in court again — filing a civil lawsuit claiming she deserves the credit for returning the superstar’s bulldogs. The case argued Gaga made a binding “unilateral” offer to pay the reward in return for the safe return of the dogs, and that McBride had taken her up on the proposal by flipping on the men who actually committed the robbery.
“Plaintiff accepted defendants’ unilateral offer by contacting defendants, and delivering Lady Gaga’s bulldogs to defendants at the Los Angeles Police Department,” McBride’s lawyer, K.T. Tran, wrote in the lawsuit. “Plaintiff has fully performed her obligation under the unilateral contract.”
But Gaga’s attorneys quickly moved to end the case, arguing last month that it would be absurd to allow McBride to “profit from her participation in a crime” and “rewarded for her role in the conspiracy.”
“The law does not allow a person to commit a crime and then profit from it,” Gaga’s lawyers at the firm Gibson Dunn wrote in their filings. “This principle applies with extra force in this case because the theft of Defendant’s dogs was facilitated by a violent gun crime that left one man nearly dead.”
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