After a nine-day trial, a jury deliberated for two days and ultimately ruled that Kris Jenner, 66, Kylie Jenner, 24, and Khloé Kardashian, 37, did not defame Blac Chyna and cost her a reality-TV series. The Kardashian crew was not in court when the verdict was read. Instead, Kris, Kylie, and Khloé — along with Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, and Kendall Jenner — were across the country walking the carpet at the Met Gala. On the long jury form, the foreperson of the jury noted that, while they found that some of the Kardashians acted to protect their own economic interests, their actions either did not prevent the performance of Chyna’s contract with E! regarding the reality show Rob & Chyna or were not a substantial factor in causing harm to Chyna. The jury declined to award Chyna any damages.
“On behalf of Kris, Kim, Khloé, and Kylie, I want to express our appreciation to the jury. We are also grateful for the steady hand of Judge Alarcon in making sure that this was a fair trial. The jury sent a clear message to Ms. White and her lawyer — I hope they are listening. Justice has prevailed,” Michael Rhodes and Michelle Doolin, trial counsel for the family said in a statement released to Vulture.
On April 29, Judge Gregory W. Alarcon dismissed Chyna’s defamation claims against Kim Kardashian, 41, after finding there wasn’t enough evidence presented to substantiate the claims going to the jury. Kardashian’s legal team had argued that no supporting testimony by any witness presented at the trial said they heard Kim make any defamatory statements about Chyna’s alleged abuse of Kim’s brother, Rob, 35.
The trial, which featured many reality-TV-worthy moments itself, came five years after Chyna (real name Angela White), 33, filed her lawsuit against the Kardashian-Jenners. Chyna alleged in her initial complaint that Rob, then her fiancé, was “an abuser” intent on destroying her life after she left him and that, “in revenge, the Kardashian-Jenner family became a media predator, slut-shaming her on social media and killing her hit television show,” according to her complaint. The E! reality series, Rob & Chyna, was reportedly already filming its second season.
Rhodes argued successfully to the jury that while family members expressed concern about Rob’s safety to others, no evidence was presented that the family believed the allegations they heard being made against Chyna were false, a key factor of a defamation case against a public figure.
“I was told [Chyna] put a gun to his head, and she was drinking, and I don’t think drinking and guns are ever good together,” Kris said on the stand, describing an incident in which Chyna allegedly tried to harm Rob with a phone cord after drinking too much.
Chyna testified but became distraught on the stand after Rhodes presented her with leaked naked pictures of herself, which she alleges Rob posted without her permission as revenge. She later asked the judge to allow her to retestify, but it was denied. Chyna “has already provided 11 hours of testimony on the stand, spanning three days of trial,” Rhodes argued. “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.”
Rhodes ultimately convinced the jury that the Kardashians did not “maliciously interfere” with Chyna’s contractual relationship with E! and that they made those statements only out of concern for Rob’s safety. Furthermore, he said executives at E! testified they did not cancel the show based on statements or conduct by the Kardashians.
Chyna has a separate revenge-porn case against Rob that was set to start after the conclusion of this case. Chyna claims that Rob, in a “fit of rage,” distributed her private nude pictures to his Instagram account with more than 9 million followers. She alleges that the nude photos went viral and were seen by hundreds of million of people, causing her humiliation and emotional distress. Rob denies that he posted the images without Chyna’s consent and that the release of the images caused her any mental pain or emotional distress.