As Robert De Niro prepares to fight a lawsuit against his former employee, he has asked the court to block testimony from another previous employee sharing information about his ex-wife, Grace Hightower.
Court documents retrieved by RadarOnline reveal that De Niro’s legal team is fighting for Graham Chase Robinson not to use testimony provided by Robin Chambers. Chambers served as De Niro’s assistant from 1989 to 2003.
Chambers and Robinson became friends and, allegedly, Robinson recorded their calls. Chambers testified that Hightower wanted De Niro to fire her because she did not want him to have a female assistant.
Yet De Niro’s legal team argues that Chambers’ testimony is hearsay and irrelevant to the case as Hightower was not included as a witness. In addition, Hightower was not involved in Canal Productions business operations as De Niro’s current girlfriend, Tiffany Chen has been, De Niro claims.
“If Ms. Hightower had an issue with female assistants, it took her from 1997 to 2003 to get ‘rid’ of Ms. Chambers,” attorneys for De Niro argued. “And, of course, Ms. Robinson worked for Mr. De Niro during the last 10 years of Mr. De Niro’s marriage to Ms. Hightower. This case is about Ms. Robinson and Ms. Chen, not Ms. Hightower.”
De Niro and Hightower split in 2019.
The judge assigned to this case has not ruled on De Niro’s request to date. This motion is one in a series of requests from De Niro in an attempt to have a countersuit filed by Robinson dismissed.
A Look At The Case
Robinson, began as De Niro’s assistant in 2008 and rose to become the vice president of production for Canal Productions, De Niro’s production company. She resigned from Canal Productions in 2019.
Within months of Robinson’s resignation, De Niro filed a $6 million lawsuit accusing her of abusing company perks. De Niro, who has a net worth of $500 million, is arguing that Robinson misused a company credit card by charging dinners, car services, iPhones, Pilates classes, dry cleaning bills, flowers, gift cards and groceries. Robinson also used $7 million of Canal Productions’ airline miles for personal use, which converted to an estimated $300,000 in cash value. Finally, De Niro alleges that she watched Netflix excessively during the work day.
Robinson denied claims of misuse arguing that De Niro’s legal team decided to file their lawsuit after discovering that she was pursuing legal action.
RadarOnline reported that De Niro’s girlfriend, Chen, told him that Robinson was planning to sue. The actor responded by texting, ““who the f— does she think she is?!?!?!”
Robinson countersued De Niro and Canal Productions in 2019 for $12 million, accusing him of creating a toxic work culture speaking to her in a “hostile, abusive and intimidating manner,” court documents revealed. As part of her complaint, Robinson alleges gender discrimination as De Niro’s personal trainer was paid more than she was. At the time of Robinson’s resignation, she reportedly earned $300,000. In addition, Robinson shared that De Niro called her a b*tch during an argument while he was using the bathroom and also suggested that she use a married colleague’s sperm to have a child.
In response, De Niro said, “Not a single witness corroborated this.” In addition, to Ribonson’s claim that he was demeaning to women in the office, De Niro’s legal team said, “Despite tens of thousands of pages of documents, emails, text messages and testimony, the only support for Ms. Robinson’s claim that Mr. De Niro ever referred to her as a ‘b—’ is her own rehearsed deposition testimony.”
In June De Niro requested that the trial be dismissed and submitted a series of emails revealing what he considers their true relationship.
In one email, Robinson is requesting a promotion. De Niro responds by writing, “ok. go with it. Thx b.”
Yet his motion to dismiss the case has not been approved. Both parties are now preparing for trial with both requesting the use of communication between De Niro and Chen as well as Robinson and another former assistant, Chambers be used as testimony.