A major Kardashian drama you won’t see on TV is about to play out inside a Los Angeles courthouse, with four members of the famous family due to give live testimony later this month as they battle Blac Chyna’s $100 million defamation lawsuit alleging they ruined her reality television career.
At a final status conference on Friday, lawyers for both sides confirmed Chyna “rejected” a recent settlement offer in the long-running case. That means jury selection is set to begin next Friday, with defendants Kim Kardashian, her mom Kris Jenner, and sisters Kylie Jenner and Khloé Kardashian due to take the witness stand in person shortly after opening statements.
“My clients are obviously people that are very well known. They’ll cause a stir being in the courthouse,” Kardashian lawyer Michael G. Rhodes told Los Angeles Judge Gregory Alarcon at the Friday hearing, as he sought permission to conduct his full line of defense questioning when his clients are first called by Chyna’s lawyer.
After the judge showed some resistance, Rhodes said that if he wanted to ask any questions on cross-exam that exceeded the scope of topics brought up by Chyna’s lawyer, he would “seek the court’s discretion” at that point to wade into defense territory and spare his clients a return trip. “I don’t know why we need to call people multiple times,” Rhodes said.
Chyna, a model and influencer, filed her underlying lawsuit in October 2017. She alleges Kris Jenner never approved of her engagement to Rob Kardashian and acted as the “ringleader” of an alleged plot to cause the cancellation of the second season of Chyna’s E! reality show Rob & Chyna.
Chyna’s lawsuit claims Kris “lied” when she allegedly told E! executives that Chyna “beat the s#*t out of Rob’s face.” She further alleges Kim, Khloé, and Kylie “each separately and intentionally interfered with Chyna’s contract for Season 2.”
In their filings opposing the lawsuit, the Kardashian-Jenner women allege Chyna “violently attacked Rob” during “an alcohol and drug fueled rampage” that started the night of Dec. 14, 2016.
Chyna, whose legal name is Angela White, started dating Rob in January 2016. The former couple announced their engagement in April 2016 and welcomed their daughter, Dream, on Nov. 10, 2016. Their reality show, which aired for a single season in 2016, was produced by Bunim Murray Productions as a spin-off of the family’s flagship series Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
“Defendants expressed their concern for [Rob’s] safety and overall well-being, and, to that end, they questioned whether Rob and Chyna should continue on with the series given the violence and toxicity of the relationship,” lawyers for Kim, Kris, Kylie, and Khloé wrote in a February 2020 filing asking the court to reject the case.
“Defendants knew that Rob Kardashian had no bruises, no bumps, no broken bones, no limping, no blood/scabs, no scratches, no cuts, and no marks after the alleged severe beating by Chyna on December 14/15, 2016,” Chyna’s court paperwork reads. She claims the defendants knew this or “acted with reckless disregard for the truth” when the allegedly worked together in secret to have her show canceled.
Chyna is seeking more than $40 million for loss of earning damages and more than $60 million in loss of future earning capacity damages, court filings show.
Rhodes declined to comment on the merits of the case after the Friday hearing, citing the fast-approaching trial. He told the judge his clients planned to attend opening statements. Chyna’s lawyer, Lynne Ciani, said her client also plans to testify.
“After over 4 1/2 years, Chyna is very thankful to be one week away from proving to a Los Angeles jury that all four defendants — Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian, and Kylie Jenner — abused their power to get her No. 1 hit show cancelled,” Ciani says in a statement to Rolling Stone. “Chyna went from being the star on E!’s No. 1 hit show at $92,500 per episode, to being off the airwaves entirely. The defendants’ illegal conduct not only cost Chyna millions and millions of dollars, their conduct was emotionally devastating to her. Kris Jenner was like a second mother to Chyna and Kim had been her BFF for years. The extreme betrayal and humiliation felt by Chyna, after discovering the truth about what the defendants did to her, lingers to this day.”
Once the lawsuit against Kim, Kylie, Kris, and Khloé is resolved, a separate trial in which Chyna accuses Rob Kardashian of posting “revenge porn” is set to start in early May.
In that case, Chyna alleges Rob Kardashian “became extremely angry” when he found out she was “no longer exclusive with him,” and “in a fit of rage and without her consent,” he posted private nude photos of her to his public Instagram account with more than nine million followers.
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