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25th Mar 2022

Johnny Depp suffers massive defeat in $50M defamation battle with Amber Heard

Kieran Galpin


The trial is to begin on April 11

Johnny Depp has suffered a monumental loss in his multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard.

The world has followed the Depp and Heard situation closely, with the former having lost a lawsuit against The Sun in 2020 in what the newspaper described as the “biggest libel trial of the 21st Century.”

As per The Guardian, Depp is currently seeking $50m in damages against Heard’s $100m countersuit in a defamation case due to start next month regarding an article Heard wrote on the subject of domestic abuse for the Washington Post in 2018.

Depp’s lawyers insist the article falsely implies that Heard was physically and sexually abused by Depp while they were married.

However on Thursday March 24, Virginia Judge Penney Azcarate ruled that Heard, 35, could argue for immunity in front of a jury because the article was deemed to deal with a matter of public interest.

Next month's trial is expected to include a plethora of A-list talent including James Franco, Elon Musk, Marvel's Paul Bettany, and J.K Rowling. 

The former Fantastic Beasts star, 58, was seeking to block Heard from using the state’s anti-Slapp statute (Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation), which means people can argue against nuisance lawsuits when discussing matters of public interest.

The lawsuit, which was launched in 2019 and sought $50m in damages, is regarding an article Heard wrote for the Bezos-owned outlet entitled: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft argued that Depp was not named anywhere in the article – but Depp’s legal counsel, Benjamin Chew, argued that such anti-Slapp rules are not designed to be employed during private disputes. Naturally, Bredehoft said that such topics as domestic abuse are public domain.


According to the Mail Online, Depp’s lawyers moved the case to Fairfax, Virginia, where anti-Slapp rules are less broad but Heard’s team is trying to move the case back to California, where they both live. Depp was able to move the trial as the Washington Post’s online servers are housed there.

Next month’s April 11 trial is expected to include a plethora of A-list talent witnesses, including James Franco, Elon Musk, Marvel’s Paul Bettany, and J.K Rowling.

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