Judge Says Lady Gaga Doesn’t Have to Pay $500K to Woman Who Helped Kidnap Her Dogs

“You can’t benefit from your own criminal act,” the judge told the woman who expected the half-a-million reward, despite being connected to the kidnapping.

Judge Says Lady Gaga Doesn’t Have to Pay $500K to Woman Who Helped Kidnap Her Dogs
Lady GaGa (left) and her dogs, Koji and Gustav (right) Photo:Arturo Holmes/Getty Images, Lady GaGa/Twitter

A woman who was convicted of kidnapping Lady Gaga’s dogs in 2021 later sued the singer for not paying her the $500,000 reward for returning the dogs…and on Monday, a Los Angeles judge dismissed the suit altogether. The judge, Holly J. Fujie, didn’t mince words in her decision: “You can’t benefit from your own criminal act,” Fujie said to the plaintiff, convicted dog-napper Jennifer McBride, in court on Monday. “I have a problem with your position.”

In February 2021, three men attacked Gaga’s dog walker and stole her dogs, French bulldogs named Koji and Gustav, from him as he walked along Sunset Boulevard in broad daylight. McBride was dating the father of one of the dog-nappers at the time, and according to police, she accepted the dogs knowing they were stolen from the singer. McBride returned the dogs to Gaga in order to seek the $500,000 reward that the singer had advertised.

This is actually the first time in years I’ve thought about the kidnapping of Lady Gaga’s dogs, an event of global significance that momentarily stopped time when the news dropped in February 2021. I can’t lie, at the time I did lose sleep over whether Koji and Gustav would ever be reunited with their very worried mother. “My beloved dogs Koji and Gustav were taken in Hollywood two nights ago. My heart is sick and I am praying my family will be whole again with an act of kindness,” the singer wrote in an understandably frantic tweet at the time. “I will pay $500,000 for their safe return.”

At the end of last year, McBride was sentenced to two years of probation upon pleading no contest to knowingly receiving stolen property. Still, in February this year, McBride sued Gaga for fraud and breach of contract for not awarding her with half a million dollars for the dogs’ return.

Gaga filed a motion to dismiss McBride’s lawsuit by calling McBride’s claims innately flawed, given her literal criminal conviction for her role in the dogs’ kidnapping. “The law does not allow a person to commit a crime and then profit from it,” Gaga’s attorney wrote in a demurrer corresponding to McBride’s complaint last month.

Fujie sided with Gaga on Monday. The court’s order dismissing McBride’s lawsuit states that allowing the suit to move forward “would allow her to benefit from her admitted wrongdoing.”

Gaga’s dog walker, Ryan Fischer, was briefly hospitalized from his injuries at the time—including being shot in the chest by a rubber bullet—but survived. Months after the attack, he spoke to Gayle King for an interview and said Gaga “helped me so much,” even allowing him to live in her home while he recovered, flying his family out to visit him there, and paying for trauma therapists for him.

With McBride’s lawsuit dismissed this week, it seems this whole saga is finally behind us.

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