Johnny Depp Wins Big Victory Over Amber Heard

Johnny Depp Wins Big Victory Over Amber Heard as Judge Rejects Her Motion to Dismiss His Defamation Suit


A Virginia judge determined Tuesday that Johnny Depp’s two-year-old defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard will not be dismissed, paving the way for a trial next year.

Heard’s move to dismiss the case — his third since Johny Depp launched his lawsuit in March 2019 – was denied by Fairfax County Chief Judge Penney Azcarate on a variety of grounds, according to an opinion obtained by USA TODAY.

Heard attempted to have the Virginia action dismissed by citing a London judge’s decision last year in a libel case Depp filed against the publisher of The Sun newspaper, which he lost after a contentious legal battle in an English courtroom.

The London judge found that the 2018 article calling Depp a “wife-beater” was not defamatory and that “the large bulk” of Heard’s domestic violence claims “may be proven to the civil standard.”

Johnny Depp Wins Big Victory Over Amber Heard

Judge Azcarate of Virginia, however, determined that the two cases were not the same – Heard was not a party in the London litigation, though she was a witness for The Sun – and that her argument for dismissal failed under well-established legal standards regulating when civil cases might be dismissed.

In her conclusion, Azcarate stated, “Defendant’s allegation that refusing to acknowledge the United Kingdom’s judgment in this matter would set a hazardous precedent is incorrect.” “Upholding English libel judgments in the United States, on the other hand, would have a chilling impact and set a dangerous precedent.” As a result, Defendant’s case has failed to persuade this Court.”

The actor’s continuous battle with his ex began in 2016 during their California divorce and has already outlasted their brief, unhappy marriage.

Mr. Depp’s lawyer, Benjamin Chew of Brown Rudnick in Washington, D.C., said, “Mr. Depp is quite happy with the Court’s ruling.”

Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, Heard’s lawyer in Virginia, spoke with USA TODAY.

Johnny Depp Wins Big Victory Over Amber Heard

The case will be heard in Fairfax County, Virginia’s largest and most populated county, which is located in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., on April 11, 2022. Both sides will resume discovery, including Heard’s deposition.

The Virginia case stems from an opinion piece Heard wrote in December 2018 for the Washington Post a Virginia newspaper, in which she claimed she had become a public face of domestic abuse. In the post, she expressed her dissatisfaction with “the full weight of our culture’s anger for women who speak out.”

Depp sued for $50 million in damages a few months later. According to his lawsuit, he portrayed himself as a victim of “false” charges who was “part of an elaborate scam to garner positive publicity” for Heard’s professional advancement.

According to the lawsuit, “Ms. Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse; she is a perpetrator.”

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According to Depp’s lawsuit, Heard never addressed Depp by name in her essay, but it was apparent who and what she was referring to.

Her piece came after the couple’s tumultuous 2016 divorce proceedings, during which Heard accused Depp of domestic abuse, applied for a restraining order against him, and claimed he threw a cellphone at her face during a fight at their downtown Los Angeles loft.

Depp has categorically rejected all of the charges, and the Los Angeles police officers who responded to their apartment the night of the alleged abuse stated they discovered no evidence of a crime.

Johnny Depp Wins Big Victory Over Amber Heard

By the end of the summer, the two had reached an out-of-court settlement and released a heartfelt joint statement declaring their love.

“Our relationship was incredibly passionate and at times tumultuous, but always bonded by love,” the statement reads. “Neither party has made false charges for the purpose of gaining a financial advantage. There was never any intention of causing bodily harm or emotional distress. Amber hopes Johnny has a bright future ahead of him. Amber heard plans to donate her divorce settlement to a charity.”

Heard’s various legal teams have been seeking unsuccessfully for the past two years to have Depp’s Virginia lawsuit dismissed. Meanwhile, the two actors were key witnesses in Depp’s libel case in London, which ended in June 2020 after a three-week circus-like trial.

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Mr. Depp has filed a lawsuit against Ms. Heard for various reasons.

Mr. Depp’s complaint, which was filed in 2019, is based on Ms. Heard’s 2018 op-ed, “I stood out against sexual abuse — and faced our culture’s wrath.” Something has to be done.”

Mr. Depp isn’t mentioned by name in the op-ed, but Ms. Heard says she became a “public figure symbolizing domestic abuse” two years before the essay was published.

Ms. Heard was granted a temporary restraining order in 2016 after turning up to a California court with a battered face, claiming that Mr. Depp had thrown a phone at her face at close range in an application for the order. This is something that the actor refutes.

Ms. Heard said in her application that Mr. Depp had been emotionally and physically abusive to her during their relationship, including a recent episode in which he grabbed her by the hair and forcibly pushed her to the ground. Mr. Depp later claimed in court papers that she was the one who hit him in the face that night.

Johnny Depp Wins Big Victory Over Amber Heard

According to Mr. Depp’s lawsuit, Ms. Heard’s allegations of abuse were an “elaborate fraud” that cost him his job and reputation.

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According to the actor’s lawsuit, “Mr. Depp is bringing this defamation case to clear his name.”