Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have been on opposite sides in court several times already, but that period of their lives won't be coming to an end anytime soon. Heard's most recent attempt to get the defamation lawsuit brought against her by Depp tossed out of court has failed.
Amber Heard had tried previously to get the defamation lawsuit thrown out of court. The most recent argument was based on last year's verdict in a U.K. libel case against the newspaper The Sun, who had referred to Johnny Depp in its pages as a "wife-beater." Heard's legal team argued that, since the court in the U.K. had found against Depp, that the issues at hand in the Virginia defamation case had already been dealt with, and thus the defamation case should be dismissed.
However, as reported by Deadline, Fairfax County Chief Judge Penney Azcarate has now ruled that, since Amber Heard was not a named defendant in the U.K. libel case, she was not subject to the same rules as the defendants, as she would be as a named defendant in this case. The defamation case, currently set to open in the spring of 2022, will go forward. Johnny Depp's legal team has now responded to the ruling, saying...
In 2018 Amber Heard wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post where she revealed she was the victim of domestic abuse. While Johnny Depp's name is never mentioned, the defamation lawsuit was filed by the Pirates of the Caribbean actor shortly after. Depp claims that the op-ed cost him the role of Jack Sparrow in future Pirates movies
While Amber Heard did testify on The Sun's behalf in the libel case, the judge ultimately rules that her interests in that case were not identical to that of The Sun. Basically, Johnny Depp may have had a day in court that dealt with this same topic, but he hasn't had his day in court against Heard specifically. The judge also pointed out that free speech rules in the U.K and the U.S. are not the same, so a win in a libel case there doesn't necessarily mean the same thing to an American court.
Following Johnny Depp's loss in the U.K. in the original case, as well as the denial of his appeal, this is certainly a big legal win for him. The case can move forward. Of course, there's also a potential downside as Amber Heard has also filed a countersuit for defamation against Depp, so if the ruling here also goes against him, it could cost him much more than legal fees.
The case has been delayed several times due to the pandemic. With the case currently set to go to trial in April, there's still plenty of time for more legal wrangling, and even, however unlikely, a settlement out of court.
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