Jury deliberations will begin Friday in the trial of Blac Chyna’s defamation lawsuit against Kim and Khloe Kardashian as well as Kris and Kylie Jenner — a day after attorneys for both sides gave their closing arguments.
Chyna lost money from club appearances, social media and television due to the efforts of Kris Jenner and three of her fellow reality show daughters in getting E! network executives to not go forward with a second season of “Rob & Chyna,” Chyna’s attorney told the jury on Thursday. But a lawyer for the Kardashian-Jenner clan said Chyna has made millions in the years since the show last aired and that his clients did nothing wrong.
Attorney Lynne Ciani, on behalf of Chyna, and Michael G. Rhodes, for the Kardashians and Jenners, gave their closing arguments to the Los Angeles Superior Court jury hearing the 33-year-old Chyna’s claims for defamation and interference with contract.
Chyna, whose real name is Angela White, alleges socialites Kim and Khloe Kardashian, their mother, Kris Jenner, and sister, Kylie Jenner, made false statements about her having physically assaulted Rob Kardashian, causing her to lose considerable money from the cancellation of the “Rob & Chyna” show — a reality series the model appeared in with former fiancÃ© Rob Kardashian.
Despite the violence Rob Kardashian maintains occurred the night of Dec. 14, 2016 — which started as a celebration of what they thought was a renewal for a second season of their reality show, “Rob & Chyna” — Ciani denied his claims, saying that her client never hit him with a 6-foot metal rod or pulled a phone cord around his neck. Chyna has admitted wielding Kardashian’s unloaded gun, but maintains she was being playful.
Rob Kardashian testified Wednesday he did not report the alleged assault to the sheriff’s department, believing that as the mother of his then-newborn child, he should keep the problems between themselves. The child, Dream Renee, is now 5 years old.
But Ciani said Rob Kardashian’s admission that he left the home on the advice of Kris Jenner’s boyfriend, Corey Gamble, undermines his allegation that Chyna wanted to kill him.
“If he truly believed Chyna tried to murder him, would he have left his (then-)1-year-old daughter with her?” Ciani asked.
Ciani denied repeated defense claims that E! network executives had no choice but to not go ahead with a second season of “Rob & Chyna” on grounds that the Chyna-Rob Kardashian relationship had ended by December 2016.
“That’s not true, they’re real, they have their ups and downs,” Ciani said. She maintains the two broke up in the summer of 2017.
Chyna was unaware what was going on behind the scenes and fully expected there would be a second season of “Rob & Chyna,” Ciani said.
“These executives found out something had happened between Rob and Chyna,” Ciani said, pointing the finger at the defendants.
Ciani defended Chyna against attacks from Rhodes, who said the model disobeyed a court order to produce tax returns from 2014 to the present. Chyna turned over what income information she had that was prepared by an accountant and will eventually get up to date on her taxes with a new accountant, said Ciani, who accused Rhodes of trying to distract jurors with his tax return comments.
Rhodes told jurors that while his clients were indeed against a second season of “Rob & Chyna” because of the downturn in the former couple’s relationship, they were not opposed to it being returned to the cable lineup later if the time healed all the wounds.
“They were trying to buy time to save it,” said Rhodes, who told jurors that the Kardashians and Jenners also made money off of the show, which was a spinoff of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and received higher ratings, according to Ciani.
Rhodes said that when Gamble reached the former couple’s home — which was provided rent-free to them by Kylie Jenner — he had to pull the fighting parties apart.
“She admits that,” Rhodes said of Chyna.
Ciani offered no evidence that Chyna suffered any emotional distress or that Kim Kardashian made any defamatory statements, according to Rhodes. Ciani also did not give a total amount of damages sought by Chyna, according to Rhodes. Media reports have stated Chyna is seeking more than $100 million.
Rhodes said his clients deserve a verdict in their favor.
“It’s time to let this family start to heal,” Rhodes said.
Chyna and all four defendants were present during the final arguments, but Kris and Kylie Jenner walked out as Ciani made her final pitch to jurors.
Judge Gregory W. Alarcon’s clerk randomly drew the names of four of the 16 jurors to serve as alternates, meaning the other 12 serve as the deliberating jurors.