Johnny Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard can argue to a jury that she ought to be protected against a libel lawsuit as a result of an article she wrote in 2018 on home violence offers with a matter of public curiosity, a decide dominated Thursday.
Depp sued Heard for libel in Virginia after the Washington Post printed her opinion piece. Depp’s attorneys say the article falsely implies she was bodily and sexually abused by Depp when the actors have been married.
At a Fairfax County courtroom home on Thursday, Depp’s attorneys sought a ruling that Heard couldn’t, in her defence, invoke a Virginia legislation designed to guard folks from nuisance lawsuits after they talk about issues of public concern.
Depp’s lawyer stated the legislation, often known as an anti-Slapp (strategic lawsuit in opposition to public participation) provision, will not be designed to intervene with personal disputes. Heard’s lawyer stated the article in query doesn’t point out Depp by identify and it addresses a critical difficulty of public concern: stopping home violence.
The decide dominated in opposition to Depp, who had sought to bar Heard’s attorneys from claiming immunity. The ruling doesn’t imply Heard has immunity for what she wrote however merely that she will be able to make that argument to a jury as a part of her defence.
Heard has additionally filed a counterclaim for defamation in opposition to Depp due to statements Depp‘s lawyer made about her. The ruling comes just weeks before a lengthy trial is scheduled to begin in Fairfax. Both Depp and Heard are scheduled to testify in court, with numerous other Hollywood figures listed as potential witnesses.
Depp was allowed to sue in Virginia because the Washington Post’s on-line editions are printed by servers positioned in Fairfax County. Heard’s attorneys had sought to have the case moved to California, the place the actors stay.
During Thursday’s arguments, Depp’s lawyer stated that one of many causes they introduced the case in Virginia is as a result of the state’s anti-Slapp legislation will not be as broad as in California. Depp filed an identical lawsuit within the UK in opposition to a newspaper and misplaced. The decide dominated that Depp assaulted Heard on a dozen events and put her in worry for her life 3 times.
The Virginia lawsuit seeks $50m in damages. While the December 2018 Post article by no means mentions Depp, Heard refers to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse”. Depp has stated the accusations are unfaithful and have made it troublesome for him to get the kinds of roles he as soon as did.