The foreman of the jury that found Kim Kardashian, her mom Kris Jenner and sisters Kylie and Khloé owed no damages to Blac Chyna for alleged defamation and contract interference says he believes the judge who handled the highly scrutinized case may have been a little “aggressive” with Chyna’s lawyer at times, but overall “it was a fair trial.”
Rajiv Ghosh, 35, tells Rolling Stone that the jury panel was successfully insulated from the behind-the-scenes drama and complaints that form the basis of a failed effort by Chyna’s lawyer Lynne Ciani to disqualify Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon from the case.
He said the panel made up of five men and seven women obviously noticed when Judge Alarcon’s clerk Cher Mason was replaced by another clerk a few days into the trial — but he and his fellow jurors had no idea the removal stemmed from accusations Mason requested an audience with the Kardashian-Jenner women for her adult daughter. (Ciani claimed Judge Alarcon “implicitly approved” of the “unethical” conduct.)
“I did not even know that Ms. Mason brought her daughter in. No one said anything to me during deliberations. I can safely say that it did not affect anything. We didn’t know. It wasn’t mentioned to anyone,” Ghosh tells Rolling Stone. “We had asked what happened to her and didn’t get a clear answer. The bailiff changed too… Many days later we heard it might have been health issues. The joke was that the real case was, ‘What happened to Ms. Mason?’”
He said the jurors also noticed when Chyna’s mom, Tokyo Toni, didn’t return to the courtroom after jury selection, but he said it wasn’t something they debated. However, he notes that he had no idea Ciani accused Judge Alarcon of retaliating against Blac Chyna, whose legal name is Angela White, because her mom made disparaging statements on social media about the Kardashian-Jenner women and the judge himself after he banned Toni from the courtroom.
“We noticed, but it wasn’t much of a subject amongst the jurors because people were coming in and out all the time. We don’t know professional celebrity schedules. We didn’t know the reason, at all,” he said.
Ghosh said he did agree that Judge Alarcon showed some obvious impatience with Ciani at times, but he said, again, “it wasn’t really a discussion amongst the jurors.”
“I did sense that he was tough on Ms. Ciani, but it didn’t seem unwarranted because it did feel like she was a little unprepared some of the time. They kind of felt like teaching moments. Maybe the judge didn’t have to be so aggressive about it, but his motives were always to keep the case moving. He was trying to not waste our time,” he said.
The jury foreman was adamant the judge’s perceived annoyance with Ciani didn’t affect the outcome of the trial.
“No one in the juror room mentioned it during the deliberations. And it did not affect my ability to see what was fair or not. There may have been some awkward moments, as if you’re having dinner with a couple who’s fighting in front of you, but, other than that, it did not affect the evidence that we heard or the testimony that we got,” he said.
In her May 5 filing seeking to remove Judge Alarcon from the case ahead of a related trial on Chyna’s still-pending revenge porn claims against Rob Kardashian, Ciani said Judge Alarcon’s demeanor toward her became markedly more “disrespectful and dismissive” as the trial wore on while all the drama with Chyna’s mom and the removal of his clerk of the last 13 years unfolded.
Judge Alarcon overruled that request in a decision issued yesterday. The paperwork for both Ciani’s May 5 motion and the judge’s ruling were not made available for public viewing until Wednesday.
“An unbiased judge would have allowed another Los Angeles Superior Court judge to review plaintiff’s statement of disqualification and decide for him or herself whether Judge Alarcon should have been disqualified. Instead, the biased judge ruled that he is not biased, thereby depriving Angela White of justice once again,” Ciani said in a statement to Rolling Stone.
“Regarding the jury foreman, he is not aware of the numerous reversible legal errors that occurred during the trial. For example, it should not take a jury ten hours of deliberations to reach a defense verdict or require three additional re-deliberations after the reading of the verdict. However, the Special Verdict Form adopted by the judge without any due process to plaintiff was prejudicially confusing, as evidenced by the inordinate time it took the jurors to deliberate to reach a defense verdict as well as the number of times the jury had to re-deliberate after they erroneously thought they had correctly completed the Special Verdict Form,” she said.
In his own opposition to Ciani’s disqualification request, Kardashian-Jenner lawyer Michael Rhodes claimed that Ciani is a sore loser who only filed her motion “after the jury found against her client.”
“This delay reveals the true motivation underlying plaintiff’s motion: to salvage Ms. Ciani’s reputation by deflecting blame for her own shortcomings at trial and generate further publicity for plaintiff,” he wrote.