Photo: Bill Robles / AP / Shutterstock
Blac Chyna v. The Kardashians has become even more dramatic than the defunct reality series at the center of the whole trial. The famous family and their fellow reality-TV star Blac Chyna are still in court, arguing over allegations that the Kardashians conspired to cancel the sophomore season of Chyna and Rob Kardashian’s E! series, Rob & Chyna. As the defamation suit enters its second week of testimony, the businesswoman and model’s case has faced intense questioning from the Kardashians’ legal team. Only a few testimonies in on April 26, Kardashian attorney Michael Rhodes asked the court to throw out Chyna’s claim of economic loss and damages of $ 147 million, saying she had failed to present any hard financial evidence of loss of income or of emotional distress. In response, Chyna’s legal team is pleading with the judge to call for a mistrial or to let her testify again, claiming she was too shaken on the stand by seeing photos from her separate revenge-porn case during cross-examination. Conspiracies, revenge porn, alleged threats, and millions of dollars on the line – here are the highlights, if we can even call them that, of the reality-TV-worthy trial so far.
During two days of emotional testimony, Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner testified in a Los Angeles courtroom before Judge Gregory W. Alarcon that she had believed Chyna might kill Rob when she pointed a gun at his head. Kris said she was extremely concerned after hearing Chyna had violently attacked Rob, strangling him with an iPhone charging cord, striking him with her fists and a metal rod, and throwing a chair at his car as he drove off to escape.
Kris was also grilled under oath about a text message she sent at the time to a Keeping Up With the Kardashians producer that Chyna had “beat the shit” out of Rob’s face.
“If Rob’s telling me that he’s gotten strangled with a cord or beat up with a pole, where somebody puts a gun to your head, I might say, ‘She beat the shit out of Rob’s face.’ It’s a figure of speech, ”Kris said on the stand. “I had not even seen him yet, so I do not know whether he had marks on his face or not. It’s the way I talk. ”
Rhodes argued in court papers filed Tuesday that Kris’s statement was just a figure of speech and not meant to be taken literally, so it could not be considered defamatory.
Under oath, Chyna admitted that she told her accountant to stop preparing her tax returns for the year 2019 and has not paid taxes since. She revealed this information in response to the Kardashians’ legal team asking her to hand over her completed tax returns through the past year. Chyna then “proceeded to testify that she had not filed a single tax return in any year since,” according to court papers filed by the Kardashians’ lawyers asking the court to dismiss any claim for damages against the family. Rhodes argued that, without any concrete number, there would be no way for Chyna to prove her claim of suffering $ 145 million in damages. Chyna also revealed that she does not have a personal bank account.
Kim claimed Chyna had contributed to a toxic environment when they were filming. “I will not go into a toxic work environment,” Kardashian said of her refusal to work with Chyna, according to the Associated Press. “On my own show, I have the power to do that.”
When she was asked on the stand to recall text messages she sent in 2017, Kim said she had no knowledge of sending them. “I do not remember text messages that I sent this morning,” Kardashian answered. Kim also said she had no memory of making any attempt to kill Chyna’s reality show.
Chyna accused the Kardashians’ legal team of launching a “deliberate and extremely unethical psychological attack on her” by intentionally attaching a naked picture of her to the declaration while she was on the witness stand. When Chyna saw the naked photos, she panicked and started shaking and crying uncontrollably. Rhodes continued cross-examining her despite her shaken emotional state. Chyna said the ten-minute break she was given to compose herself was not enough time and asked the judge to allow her to take the stand again because “she was unable to respond to even the most basic questions” afterwards. Chyna is asking the judge to strike her testimony from the record from the point at which she saw the revenge-porn photo.
Chyna’s attorney Lynne Ciani said in court papers filed on Monday, April 25, that her client had already secured an order granting that the “massively triggering revenge-porn photos” would not be introduced at trial. Rhodes called Chyna’s reaction and court request “manufactured outrage.” He argued the photos were part of the evidence Chyna had presented when she applied for a domestic-violence restraining order against her ex-fiancé, Rob, in July 2017. Despite multiple meetings with Chyna’s counsel and pretrial filings, Rhodes said her attorney “did not once raise any specific concerns ”about the document.
Rhodes said that Chyna herself had testified about her career as an exotic dancer and nude appearance on OnlyFans and that she will be testifying publicly about the exact same materials at her revenge-porn trial against Rob, which will start immediately after this one. “[Chyna] has already provided 11 hours of testimony on the stand spanning three days of trial, ”Rhodes said. “For context, that’s nearly twice the length of time that Ms. White even appeared on the ‘Rob & Chyna’ show at the center of this lawsuit. ”
The 24-year-old beauty mogul said Chyna sent her texts filled with devil emoji and said she would beat her. “I took it as an empty threat,” Kylie told the jury, according to People. “I assumed she was probably high.”
After learning that a former court clerk who was initially in charge of the jury had invited her daughter to court specifically to meet the Kardashians and Jenners and that a juror had “flashed a big smile” at them while walking toward the jury box, Chyna asked the judge to poll all the jury members about whether the clerk’s behavior had impacted their ability to be impartial in her case.
Rhodes said Chyna’s request to poll the jury about the court clerk was “baseless.” He said the “vague” claim that a juror had smiled at someone in open court would not affect Chyna’s right to a fair trial. He said Chyna has consistently smiled at jurors while sitting only six feet away from them.