Mark Burton and Brigid Sweetman originally filed separate lawsuits holding Carrey responsible for White’s death, and last Thursday the complaints were amalgamated into one single case.
There was some hope for a settlement out-of-court between the parties, but Burton and Sweetman’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, has insisted multiple times in the past that he wants Carrey to take the stand at trial and has been demanding his deposition for months.
“He will now be forced to answer questions about how he gave Ms. White three STDs, humiliated and demeaned her, and then gave her the drugs she used to kill herself,” said Avenatti. “We are counting the days until the truth is known.”
Carrey’s lawyer, Ray Boucher, countered: “The truth has been known for some time. A troubled woman took her life and Jim Carrey had nothing to do with it. He’s looking forward to his deposition being taken because the truth ultimately will prevail, and there’s nothing in his deposition that is going to change the truth.”
Neither Boucher nor Avenatti think the case will be settled before trial, even though the parties are going to enter into mediation.
Both Sweetman and Burton claim that Carrey provided the drugs White used to kill herself. The body of the 30-year-old makeup artist, originally from Ireland, was discovered 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 decision that Carrey will face trial for White’s death (the estimated start date is April 26, 2018), Boucher said that Carrey “loved Ms. White dearly, and so obviously [the trial will be] a very painful process for him.”
While both lawsuits focus on whether Carrey was culpable 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 afterwards 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.”
Avenatti responded to Carrey’s original 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.
On June 28, Carrey withdrew the aforementioned “baseless motion,” which had requested that Sweetman pay Carrey $372,000 if he won the case. Carrey and his lawyers were expecting “costs” to be covered by Sweetman should he be victorious, including “extensive discovery [lawyer questioning] in London, England, different cities in Ireland, and elsewhere in Europe, as well in the United States.”
It is estimated that the actor will have to take part in at least 20 depositions around the world.
“In light of the Court’s recent rulings entirely in our favour, we look forward to the trial in April against Mr. Carrey,” he said. “The public deserves to know the truth.”
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.