After three attempts to dismiss her ex-husband’s, actor Johnny Depp’s, defamation lawsuit, the Judge presiding over the case has released her verdict regarding Amber Heard’s repeated appeals.
The lawsuit regarding Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse is still set for trial next year in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp launched a $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife and The Rum Diary (2011) co-star, Amber Heard (Aquaman), after the latter published an Op-Ed in The Washington Post in 2018 detailing her life as a domestic abuse survivor. The litigation over the alleged claims in Heard’s article will result in a decision in 2022 following a trial with Judge Penney Azcarate.
It is this Judge who has repeatedly dismissed Heard’s lawyers’ attempts at throwing out the court case, which means Johnny Depp’s lawyer, Ben Chew, and Depp himself will once again be allowed to challenge the claims made by the Hollywood actress. At the root of Heard’s attempt to dismiss is the ruling in favor of British tabloid The Sun, editor Dan Wootton, and parent company, News Group Newspapers.
The libel lawsuit was finished last year after Depp’s appeal to challenge the decision made by Judge Andrew Nicol in London was dismissed. Depp and Heard offered testimonies in the libel case, which was based on The Sun labeling the Captain Jack Sparrow actor a “wife-beater”.
Yet, despite this specific trial being wrapped up, that hasn’t stopped Depp’s fervent supporters from repeatedly causing #JusticeForJohnnyDepp and #FireAmberHeard to trend on social media — the latter being a response to Heard’s casting in the DC Extended Universe movie, director James Wan’s Aquaman sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022).
Now, as Courthouse News Service reports, Heard’s attempt at getting the Virginia Supreme Court involved in Judge Penney Azcarate’s decision to dismiss her appeal has proven fruitless.
In a ruling from the bench, Judge Penney Azcarate refused to allow lawyers for actress Amber Heard, Depp’s ex-wife, to petition the Virginia Supreme Court to weigh in on legal issues at the core of her last attempt to dismiss the case.
The reason for the Judge’s repeated dismissals is based on the fact that the libel suit in the United Kingdom was under completely different circumstances and tried in a different court than the one the defamation suit is being held in.
Heard’s challenges, of which there have been three, detail the result of Depp’s libel trial — that Heard’s allegation of being a victim of domestic violence was proven substantially true and that Depp’s attempt at a defamation case is based on his opposition to her being labeled a domestic abuse survivor. Heard’s lawyers have consistently been told that her appeal attempts hold no ground.
The report continues:
In her opinion, Azcarate noted, “the defamation claim in the U.K. was based on completely different statements than the present case.” In her ruling today, Azcarate ticked through each legal standard required to send the case to the Virginia Supreme Court and concluded that the case didn’t qualify.
The judge’s decision “did not appear to be a close call,” Chew remarked.
Chew’s claims line up with what the Judge has said before regarding the appeals; earlier this year, they warned Heard’s team not to waste the court’s time. The case will now be put before the court in 2022. In another ruling, the court will also require, per Depp’s claim, Heard to provide evidence that she donated part of her $7 million divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) after claims in her testimonies that she did.
While Amber Heard’s next movie from Warner Bros. will debut next year, Depp, despite recently winning a lifetime achievement award, resigned from the Harry Potter spinoff franchise, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, with his role of evil wizard Gellert Grindelwald now being played by Hannibal star, Mads Mikkelsen.
It also seems likely that Depp will not be back in his beloved Pirates of the Caribbean series as the fan-favorite pirate any time soon based on the ongoing legal battles and controversy surrounding the star.