Johnny Depp's defamation suit to continue as judge rejects Amber Heard's dismissal plea

Web Desk
March 28, 2020

Judge White declined Amber Heard's plea for dismissal, stating that the case be continued by Johnny Depp

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Johnny Depp's defamation suit to continue as judge rejects Amber Heard's dismissal plea

Amber Heard’s request for a dismissal of the lawsuit filed against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp was turned down by a Virginia judge on Friday.

Judge Bruce D. White declined her plea for dismissal, stating that the case is to be continued by Depp under the theory that his ex-wife’s claims asserted that he had assaulted her.

In a statement, White wrote: “Plaintiff has pleaded circumstances that would reasonably cause three of the four statements at issue to convey the alleged defamatory meaning that Mr. Depp abused Ms. Heard, and this alleged meaning is in fact defamatory.”

Heard in a piece written for the Washington Post in 2018 has claimed that she had been a victim of domestic abuse in her marriage with Depp.

A $50 million defamation suit was filed against Heard by Depp in March 2019 against the opinion piece written by the former, with the headline: “Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

She wrote in the body: “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out. I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”

She had first accused the actor of domestic abuse in 2016 in the context of her divorce but Depp had termed the claims as 'false'.

Roberta Kaplan, Heard’s attorney had argued last year in front of the court that the case should be thrown out as the Washington Post op-ed was not primarily about Depp getting accused.

Her attorney had argued: “It was about her and what happened to her after she came forward.”

However, the argument was turned down by White who said that the published piece “relied on the factual underpinning that Ms. Heard was abused by Mr. Depp.”

The judge, however, did discard the Pirates of the Caribbean actor’s defamation claim with regard to a fourth statement in the column about Heard being at the receiving end of death threats and being followed by paparazzi.

White asserted that the claims did not convey defamatory insinuations against Depp and also quashed Kaplan’s statements that the case was barred by the year-long statute of limitations as Heard had simply been making reference to the claims that she had made earlier in 2016.

Kaplan argued further that they do aim to show that Heard had been the one getting abused in the marriage.

“Today’s decision leaves it to a jury to decide the meaning of Ms. Heard’s op-ed and the truth of what she said. As we have said all along, the courts have strong mechanisms in place for determining the truth. Here, we remain confident that Ms. Heard will prevail at trial when the jury is presented with evidence on the question that the Court identified – namely, whether ‘Ms. Heard was abused by Mr. Depp.'” Kaplan said.

The ruling was also responded to by one of Depp’s legal counsel Adam Waldman, who said: “Roberta Kaplan’s suggestion that losing their own motion to dismiss was what they had planned all along also speaks for itself. As for Amber Heard’s mythical ‘evidence’ that Ms. Kaplan confidently cites, we and reality both look forward to seeing it.”

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