Johnny Depp’s multimillion-dollar US defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard is set to begin in a Virginia court.
The former Hollywood power couple is expected to testify in person at the trial, and high-profile figures such as James Franco, Paul Bettany and Elon Musk are slated to testify.
Mr Depp is suing his former partner for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post discussing her experience of domestic violence.
The actor’s lawyers say the article falsely implied that Ms Heard, 35, was physically and sexually abused by Depp when they were married.
Mr Depp, 58, said the allegations have made it difficult for him to get the kind of roles he once had.
The piece was entitled: I spoke out against sexual violence – and faced the wrath of our culture. That needs to change.
The article does not mention Mr Depp by name.
Ms. Heard’s attorneys are expected to argue that she should be immune from the defamation lawsuit because of a Virginia law known as the Anti-Slapp Provision (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation).
The provision is designed to protect people from harassment claims when speaking about matters of public interest.
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Ms Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, has argued that the article addresses a very serious issue of public interest: the prevention of domestic violence.
The actress has also filed a counterclaim for defamation against Mr Depp over statements made about her by Mr Depp’s attorney.
The case is being brought in Virginia and not in California, where the actors live, because the Washington Post’s online editions are published from servers in Fairfax County.
Mr. Depp’s attorneys say one of the reasons they brought the case in Virginia is because the state’s anti-slapping law is not as comprehensive as California’s.
The lawsuit, which is taking place in the Fairfax County District Courthouse, is seeking $50 million (£38.2 million) in damages.
It comes after Depp lost a similar defamation case in the UK he brought against The Sun newspaper’s publishers, News Group Newspapers (NGN).
An article also written in 2018 by The Sun editor-in-chief Dan Wootton referred to Mr Depp as a “wife beater” in the headline.
After a 16-day trial in July 2021, a judge found the content of the article to be “essentially true.”
Mr Depp is being denied permission to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/johnny-depps-multimillion-dollar-us-lawsuit-against-amber-heard-to-begin-41540444.html Johnny Depp’s multi-million US lawsuit against Amber Heard begins