Johnny Depp and Amber Heard arrive at the High Court as libel hearing continues
Opening statements have concluded on day one of Johnny Depp’s multi-million defamation lawsuit against his former wife, Amber Heard, which began in Virginia on Monday (11 April) morning with jury selection.
Seven jurors and four alternates were picked to hear the case. He claims a 2018 article written by Heard in The Washington Post – in which she spoke about domestic violence towards women – implied Depp, her former husband, was an abuser.
Although the 35-year-old did not name the actor, lawyers for Depp say Heard’s allegations have made it difficult for the 58-year-old to land roles he previously did.
Depp is known for starring in films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Sweeney Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Heard has appeared in titles including Aquaman and Drive Angry.
He is asking for $50m (£38.2m) in damages during the trial in Fairfax County’s district courthouse. Heard has meanwhile filed a counterclaim of defamation against Depp, who she divorced from in 2017, for nuisance.
Depp has previously lost a defamation case in the UK against British newspaperThe Sun regarding the claims in Heard’s 2018 article.
Legal dispute was focus of TV documentary last year
ICYMI: The high-profile legal disagreement between Depp and Heard was depicted in a TV documentary series last year on Discovery Plus, which sought to reveal the reasons behind the pair’s two “polarised perspectives”.
The programme – Johnny v Amber – was also billed as the story “of the breakdown” of Depp and Heard’s relationship, including “how it tipped into the celebrity court case of the decade”.
Graeme Massie13 April 2022 08:20
ICYMI: Bredehoft alleges Depp wrote “terrible things” on lampshades, mirrors, and countertops and lists extensive allegations of physical abuse and drug-taking.
Marilyn Manson has been mentioned twice as someone Depp associated with.
In a particularly shocking moment, Bredehoft says that Depp penetrated Heard with a liquor bottle.
Behind her Depp appears to shake his head as if to say “no”.
The graphic nature of the opening statement documenting several alleged incidents of abuse is purportedly backed up with photographic and documentary evidence.
Graeme Massie13 April 2022 07:01
Heard said in 2020 she wanted to be ‘left alone’
ICYMI: Appearing as a witness during Depp’s trial against British newspaper The Sun in 2020, Heard said she wanted to be “left alone” and wanted her former husband to end lawsuits over domestic abuse claims to “save him the embarrassment.”
“I didn’t want to do this, I did not want to expose this totality of what really happened to me,” Heard told London’s Royal Courts of Justice. “I didn’t want to talk about everything that happened in our marriage and happened in our relationship.”
While Depp denies the claims, Heard told the court of 14 allegations of “violence” by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in locations such as a rented house in Australia, his private island in the Bahamas and a private jet, as The Associated Press reported two years ago.
The judge ruled against Depp, who accused the publisher of The Sun of defaming him with a headline including the words “wife beater”. His lawyers afterwards called the judge’s decision “perverse”.
Graeme Massie13 April 2022 06:14
ICYMI: Heard is being characterised by the plaintiff’s legal team as a compulsive liar who covers up one lie with another and used the allegations against Depp to advance her own career and portray herself as a heroic and innocent survivor of abuse.
Depp’s team acknowledge his use of drugs and alcohol but that does not make him an abuser.
Graeme Massie13 April 2022 05:04
Why is the trial taking place in Virginia?
Although the couple both live in California, the defamation case brought by Depp against his former wife is in Virginia, where the trial will play out at Fairfax County’s district courthouse.
Online editions of The Washington Post are published through servers located in Fairfax County, which is thought to be one of the reasons behind Depp’s lawyers deciding on the location.
Another is because of Virginia’s anti-Slapp law, which is not as broad as the one in California. The provision allows a person to claim protection from a lawsuit when speaking about issues of public concern.
Lawyers for Heard, who have filed a counter defamation claim, are expected to use the anti-Slapp law during the trial. It comes four years after her Washington Post article titled: I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press
Graeme Massie13 April 2022 04:05
ICYMI: Johnny Depp will testify in the defamation trial.
Graeme Massie13 April 2022 03:01
Franco and Musk to provide testimony
ICYMI: James Franco and Elon Musk are among the high-profile names who will provide a testimony during the case between Depp and Heard.
Paul Bethany, of WandaVision, as well as representatives of the Walt Disney company and Warner Bros are also due to appear in the Fairfax County court, reported Deadline.
The long-delayed trial is due to begin later today with the selection of a jury.
Graeme Massie13 April 2022 02:03
Depp arrives at court
Graeme Massie13 April 2022 01:35
Graeme Massie13 April 2022 01:01
ICYMI: Depp’s lawyers say there was no evidence of physical abuse and police officers who responded to a call placed by Heard will testify to that.
Graeme Massie13 April 2022 00:31