Lady Gaga doesn’t have to pay $500,000 reward to accomplice

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A woman convicted of a plot to steal Lady Gaga’s bulldogs at gunpoint is ineligible for a $500,000 reward for their return, a judge ruled Monday. This brings to an end the pop star’s long-standing dog sleep debacle.

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Judge Holly J. Fujie said Lady Gaga was not responsible for giving Jennifer McBride the half-million-dollar reward, nor any money for alleged damages and emotional distress, according to a Los Angeles document filed Monday County Superior Court.

“No one can take advantage of their own injustice,” the judge wrote in a ruling. “A plaintiff must appear in court with clean hands and keep them clean or he will be denied legal redress, regardless of the merits of the lawsuit.”

Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, pleaded with the public for help after two of her three French bulldogs were stolen from her handler Ryan Fischer in February 2021. Fischer was shot and seriously injured during the ambush.

“My beloved dogs Koji and Gustav were kidnapped in Hollywood,” Lady Gaga posted on social media. “…I will pay $500,000 for her safe return.” In a separate post, she continued: “If you bought or found her unknowingly, the reward is the same.”

Within two hours, McBride, 53, brought the stolen dogs to a Los Angeles police station.

She was arrested along with four other suspects the following April after investigators learned that McBride knew the father of one of the suspects. L.A. County Assistant District Attorney Michele Hanisee said McBride was meant to look like “the innocent lady who accidentally found the dogs,” citing footage that showed McBride taking the dogs shortly after someone drove up in a Jeep , and tied her to a street lamp. She pleaded no contest and was sentenced to two years’ probation in December for theft of property.

But McBride still wanted the $500,000. She sued Lady Gaga in February for breach of contract and fraud, claiming she felt entitled to the money with the understanding that the reward for the bulldogs’ return would be paid “no questions asked.” In the complaint, McBride alleged that she only had the dogs to bring them back safely to Lady Gaga and try to get the money.

Lady Gaga has not publicly commented on the outcome of the lawsuit, but she praised Fischer’s efforts to protect her dogs in the hours after the incident.

“I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family,” Lady Gaga wrote on social media. “You will forever be a hero.”

Jonathan Edwards, Meryl Kornfield and Andrew Jeong contributed to this report.

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