Donald Trump told FOX News' Great Van Susteren Monday night that he had to review some additional materials before he made his decision regarding the fate of Miss California Carrie Prejean on Tuesday.
The topless photos of Prejean released by TMZ Tuesday morning may be the materials in question. The photos show Prejean, 21, wearing an open top and underwear on a beach.
The San Diego native was named first runner-up in the April 19 Miss USA pageant, during which she cause a firestorm by responding to a judge's question by saying she favored limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
Trump, who owns the Miss Universe organization, told Van Susteren that he will meet with the controversial beauty queen Tuesday morning before he announces his final decision regarding her fate at a press conference scheduled for 11 a.m. EST.
“I always like to give the benefit of the doubt to somebody,” Trump said before adding that there “are a couple of [potential] disqualifiers” that could cost Prejean her crown.
At a Beverly Hills press conference yesterday, the Miss California organization took the self-described “bold step” of appointing a possible replacement for Prejean.
Regardless of Trump’s decision, pageant co-directors Keith Lewis and Shanna Moakler said Miss California first runner up Tami Ferrell will serve as “an ambassador” for the state’s organization, appearing at events in Prejean’s absence or in situations where it would be “unwise” to send her.
While the photos of Prejean are racy, Lewis said that it was not the content of the pictures that was a problem, but her failure to disclose their existence.
According to Lewis, Prejean’s actions — including appearances with several anti-gay marriage groups, have caused the Miss California title to be “hijacked,” preventing them from doing the necessary “work at hand.”
“Her contract outlines that she must be available to make appearances,” Lewis said, before adding that they have been unable to communicate directly with Prejean. “It is a huge conflict of interest.”
Lewis added that Prejean’s appearances with the National Organization for Marriage and other anti-gay marriage groups have created “confusion in the marketplace” because it is difficult to separate Prejean’s personal convictions from those of the Miss California organization.
But Lewis was far more critical of NOM, slamming them for “exploiting” Prejean for their own benefit when they “placed in her in a position to lose her crown, not for her beliefs but for a breach of contract.”
Addressing NOM director Maggie Gallagher by name, Lewis told her to “find a new place to recruit your henchman.”
But while the state organization can provide suggestions for the fate of Prejean’s crown, ultimately it is up to Trump, the owner of the Miss Universe organization, to make the final decision.
Trump has previously skirted around questions as to whether Prejean's photos violated any pageant rules.
"Most of these girls are models," Trump said. "They do things that are not necessarily a bad thing. And look, Carrie is a seriously good looking girl. Because of her looks, [they] are making such a big deal with this."
Despite criticizing her actions and appointing her replacement, neither Lewis nor Moakler would say directly whether they thought Prejean should be fired.
“I want to be supportive of Mr. Trump,” Lewis said. “It wouldn’t be fair to interject [my opinion]. Regardless, I'll be standing behind him and following through on his directive.”