Jim Carrey to face trial for suicide of ex-girlfriend Cathriona White
On Wednesday, Los Angeles Superior Court judge Deirdre Hill refused to dismiss two wrongful death suits filed against Carrey, and set a trial date of Apr. 26, 2018. She estimated the trial would last 20 days.
White’s mother, Brigid Sweetman, and White’s estranged husband, Mark Burton, have both filed lawsuits against Carrey, claiming that he provided the drugs White used to kill herself. The 30-year-old makeup artist, originally from Ireland, was discovered deceased in her Los Angeles home in September 2015. She and Carrey, 55, met in 2012, and dated on and off.
A coroner’s report concluded that White died from an intentional prescription pill overdose.
Carrey’s lawyer, Raymond Boucher, attempted to get the judge to throw the lawsuits out of court, calling them “malicious” and “predatory.” Carrey himself has called the lawsuits a “shakedown,” and denies any wrongdoing on all accounts.
In previous legal documents, Boucher argued:
“[The allegations] are based on categorical lies concocted by Sweetman in collaboration with White’s ‘green card’ husband with whom White never lived as husband and wife, and whom she married only to avoid deportation to Ireland. There is absolutely no evidence that Carrey furnished his prescription medications to White. Rather, she stole them.”
After the hearing decision was made, Boucher said that Carrey “loved Ms. White dearly, and so obviously [the trial will be] a very painful process for him.”
WATCH: The latest on the Jim Carrey lawsuits
While both lawsuits focus on Carrey’s culpability in White’s death, Sweetman also contends that Carrey infected her daughter with multiple sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and then tried to get her to sign a document alleviating him of responsibility. (No accusations have been proven in court.)
Carrey’s legal team vehemently denies the STI charges and said, “Sweetman and her attorney released the embarrassing information about White solely in an attempt to gain leverage against Carrey.”
Documents filed by Boucher also highlight that White sought to reconnect with Carrey in 2014, long after the “purported accusations” of STIs. They also claim that White apologized for making the accusations.
Carrey and his team question Sweetman’s credibility, claiming she “abandoned her family during White’s childhood” and was “long estranged” from her daughter when she died. The A-list actor insists that he and White were a “loving couple up to the day of her death.” They had apparently been planning to move in together; the legal documents say the pair was in the process of “finalizing a cohabitation agreement shortly before her death with the intent of living together as a couple permanently.”
His legal team claims Sweetman asked Carrey to buy her a house in 2015, “and when he declined she became angry and bitter.”
Michael Avenatti, the lawyer representing both plaintiffs, responded to Carrey’s filing in a statement.
“Jim Carrey [has] filed a baseless motion with the court as part of his continued attack on a grieving mother,” the statement reads. “His conduct is disgusting and dishonest. Who attacks a mother of a dead girl?”
“Carrey and his ‘fixer’ lawyers are trying to deceive the media and the public,” it continues. “They are making up facts they know to be untrue in an effort to save Carrey’s career, which was over when he lied about not having STDs. Carrey is a fraud and when he is forced to testify under oath, the ugly truth will be laid bare. We are confident that the court will see through the nonsense Carrey is peddling.”
The actor says that while he’s “devastated by White’s death,” he is “not responsible for it.” He says “it is outrageous that Sweetman, long estranged and motivated by greed, now seeks blood money.”
Carrey and White split in the summer of 2015 and White began to suffer severe emotional distress shortly thereafter. The autopsy report of her death revealed that the suicide note she left behind was directly addressed to Carrey.
Shortly after her passing, Carrey released the following statement:
“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of my sweet Cathriona. She was a truly kind and delicate Irish flower, too sensitive for this soil, to whom loving and being loved was all that sparkled. My heart goes out to her family and friends and to everyone who loved and cared about her. We have all been hit with a lightning bolt.”
Dennis Bradshaw, a close friend of White’s, told police that she was normally jovial and upbeat, but had periods when she was “really down.” White mentioned missing her family in Ireland, Bradshaw claimed, but said she was “madly in love with Jim” despite their “roller-coaster” relationship.
At the time it was filed, Carrey made a statement about Burton’s lawsuit.
“What a terrible shame,” Carrey wrote. “It would be easy for me to get in a back room with this man’s lawyer and make this go away, but there are some moments in life when you have to stand up and defend your honour against the evil in this world. I will not tolerate this heartless attempt to exploit me or the woman I loved. I really hope that some day soon people will stop trying to profit from this and let her rest in peace.”
Avenatti is confident, with presentation of the evidence, that Carrey will be exposed.
“We have located nearly every text message, picture and email between them over the last four years by conducting a forensic examination of electronic media,” he said. “The evidence will show that Carrey and his handlers are not shooting straight with the media or the public.”
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, is in crisis or needs someone to talk to, you can find 24-hour help through the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.Follow @CJancelewicz
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