The Kardashian family prevailed Monday in a civil trial over allegations made by model and former “Rob & Chyna” star Blac Chyna, who accused the reality TV family of interfering with her E! reality series and defaming her by seeking to have the 2016 show canceled.
After a 10-day trial in Los Angeles, jurors determined the celebrity family did not defame Chyna and the panel declined to award any damages to her, the Associated Press reported.
Only nine of the 12 jurors needed to agree on whether Rob Kardashian’s mother, Kris Jenner, and his sisters Khloé Kardashian and Kylie Jenner either knowingly lied about Chyna abusing Rob Kardashian, or spread the word about it with reckless disregard for the truth, the AP said. The same number had to decide whether each of the three women, as well as co-defendant and sister Kim Kardashian, illegally interfered with Chyna’s contract with E!.
On Friday, the judge threw out part of the case against Kim Kardashian while the jury deliberated on the elements that remained, the AP reported. Judge Gregory Alarcon ruled that Chyna’s attorney, Lynne Ciani, did not provide any statement during the trial from Kim Kardashian that was defamatory toward Chyna.
Alarcon had the attorneys select 16 jurors, then hold a random drawing after closing arguments to determine which four were the alternates — an unusual method of jury selection.
In 2017, Chyna, whose real name is Angela White, sued “momager” Kris Jenner and her daughters Kim Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian and Kylie Jenner for tortious interference and defamation, claiming that Kris Jenner was a “ringleader” who tried to get executives and producers at the E! network to cancel the docu-series “Rob & Chyna,” a spin-off of the popular “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” franchise.
But pivotal allegations that the former exotic dancer had been violent with Rob Kardashian, Jenner’s son with late O.J. Simpson defense attorney Robert Kardashian, in December 2016 were at the center of both their testimonies when they took the witness stand.
Chyna testified during the 10-day trial that after a night of celebrating their show’s second-season renewal, Rob Kardashian ignored her and she wrapped a phone cord around his neck to get his attention. She also said she held an unloaded gun to his head as a joke and confirmed that she smashed a gingerbread house and TV in anger. She and her attorney insisted that the violence did not go beyond that, but that the family schemed and spread false stories of abuse to ruin her TV career.
Chyna’s attorney argued during closing arguments Thursday that the women had no reason to believe the attack had occurred because testimony, photos and video from the time didn’t show significant injuries to Rob Kardashian.
“He didn’t have a mark on him,” Ciani said, according to the AP. “There was no call to the police, no trip to the hospital, not even a Band-Aid.”
The aftermath, mainly what Rob Kardashian told his family and what they relayed to E! executives, was unpacked in his mother’s and siblings’ testimony, as well as that of Kris Jenner’s boyfriend, Corey Gamble, who was the only eyewitness to the alleged altercation. The Kardashians’ lawyer, Michael G. Rhodes, argued that since the December 2016 fight ultimately led to the end of their relationship, E! couldn’t have a series about their relationship if they were no longer a couple.
“It wasn’t her show,” Rhodes said Thursday, via the AP. “It’s not the ‘Chyna and Rob’ show; it’s not ‘Chyna’ show, it’s the ‘Rob KARDASHIAN and Chyna’ show. It was a show about a relationship. That’s at the center of the whole case.”
Rob Kardashian, who shares a 5-year-old daughter with Chyna, was initially named in the lawsuit, but the allegations against him were severed for a separate trial that will begin after this one. Sisters Kendall Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian also were defendants in the original case, but were later dropped.
The family, which has since moved its exploits to Hulu under “The Kardashians” banner, put up a mostly united front as the trial unfolded in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The legal proceedings will not be appearing in their new reality series.