A Playboy model lost an effort to dismiss a criminal charge for taking a photo of a naked 71-year-old woman at a gym and posting it on social media with disparaging remarks about the woman's body.
A judge ruled Monday against Dani Mathers in Los Angeles Superior Court in her bid to toss a misdemeanor count of invasion of privacy.
Mathers, 30, has acknowledged — and apologized for — taking the photo at an LA Fitness club and posting it on Snapchat in July with the caption: "If I can't unsee this then you can't either."
The 2015 Playmate of the year quickly became the target of online venom for the so-called body shaming incident. Her lawyers said she meant to send the photo privately to a friend and inadvertently posted it publicly.
Mathers' career as a model and radio host has been destroyed by the incident, defense lawyers said. Mathers, who has no criminal record, has offered to make amends by using her notoriety to bring attention to the issue of body shaming.
Prosecutors have pushed for a conviction on the charge and four weeks of community service with a road crew, according to court papers. She's shown no remorse and "should face the consequences of her cruel and criminal act," Deputy City Attorney Chadd Kim said.
The defense unsuccessfully tried to get the case thrown out on the theory the law was vague about how "identifiable" a victim needs to be.
Attorney Dana Cole said the victim cannot be easily identified because the photo was shot from far away. He said it took considerable effort for Los Angeles police and the gym to identify the woman, who has not been named.
Kim called the argument a "leap of illogic."
Judge Gustavo Sztraicher said the law was valid and allowed the case to proceed. A pretrial hearing is scheduled May 24.