Watch CBS News

Kardashian/Jenner family to testify live in defamation trial of Blac Chyna

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (April 8 AM Edition) 01:29

Kris Jenner and three of her daughters will give live testimony in the upcoming trial of Blac Chyna's lawsuit alleging the reality show family defendants' false statements caused her to lose considerable money following the cancellation of the "Rob & Chyna" show after one season, attorneys in the case told a judge during a final status conference Friday.

However, Ryan Seacrest's testimony may come by way of his video deposition given that he is now a New York state resident and beyond the subpoena power of a California judge, according to Chyna's attorney, Lynne Ciani, who said her preference would still be to have him appear in the courtroom live. Seacrest was the executive producer of "Rob & Chyna."

Ciani additionally said that Chyna will be her first witness and will be present during the entire trial.

Chyna's real name is Angela White and her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit claims against Kris Jenner, Kim and Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are defamation and interference with prospective economic advantage. Chyna alleges the four women falsely claimed she physically abused her former fiance, Rob Kardashian, while they were a couple. Rob Kardashian recently dropped a separate lawsuit he filed against Chyna over the alleged beating.

In her suit brought in November 2017, Chyna maintains that E! would have gone forward with a second season of "Rob & Chyna" but for the allegedly false statements made against her by the Kardashian and Jenner women to the network representatives in late 2016 and early 2017.

Ciani issued a statement Friday ahead of the pending trial.

"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 ... abused their power to get her number-one hit show cancelled," Ciani said. "Although Kris Jenner was the ringleader, her three daughters all played a role in getting Chyna's show canceled, to their immense financial benefit. And they knew they did not have the legal right to cancel Chyna's show: All four defendants carried out their illegal activity in secret and repeatedly lied to Chyna's face."

The defendants' alleged ruse was "so elaborate and conniving" that they instructed the Bunim Murray film crew not to have Chyna in any shots, but told her she was still filming for season two of "Rob & Chyna" and for "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," according to Ciani.

"Chyna went from being the star on E!'s number-one hit show at $92,500 per episode to being off the airwaves entirely," Ciani said. "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."

Defense attorney Michael G. Rhodes said the two Kardashians and the pair of Jenners will be present for the opening statements.

"They will cause a stir being in the courthouse," he said.

The case appears headed to trial as scheduled April 15 because Chyna declined the Kardashian/Jenner defendants' settlement offer, according Rhodes.

"I did make an offer this week that was rejected," Rhodes told Judge Gregory W. Alarcon.

Other witnesses in the case will testify virtually, Ciani said.

Both Rhodes and Ciani declined to talk about his settlement proposal, but Ciani said she would make a counteroffer before trial.

The attorneys discussed the possibility of completing final motions and picking a jury on April 15, then having opening statements by April 18. However, Ciani said that may be optimistic.

Ciani also said she believes the defamation committed by the defendants was "per se," while the defense perceives it to be "per quod," so that dispute remains to be resolved.

Generally, for defamation per se, the statements are presumed harmful whereas for defamation per quod, the damage must be proven.

Chyna's revenge porn claim against Rob Kardashian will be tried after the trial of the defamation case against his family members. Chyna alleges that in July 2017, Rob Kardashian used social media to post pictures of Chyna's naked breasts, backside and genitals. He also accused her of sleeping with another man in "the same bed Chyna and I made our baby in." He later took down some of the photos.

Of the five witnesses tentatively scheduled to testify in the revenge porn trial, the primary individuals are Chyna, Rob Kardashian and Kris Jenner.

Chyna, 33, and Rob Kardashian, 35, began dating in January 2016. The two broke up in the summer of 2017. They have a daughter, Dream Renee, who is 5 years old.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.