Amber Heard is set to file a motion to dismiss Johnny Depp’s $50 million case; Move “required” likely to fail
EXCLUSIVE: Amber Heard’s attorneys plan to ask a Virginia judge on Tuesday to dismiss Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation case against their client. However, the defense team is almost certain to fail, and they know it.
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Under Old Dominion statutes, defense attorneys in civil cases are essentially “obligated,” as one legal source told us, to bring a motion to strike once the plaintiff has completed their case. and his witnesses.
Focusing on Plaintiff Depp’s specific claims and the evidence presented in support of said claims, Heard’s legal team led by Elaine Bredehoft and Ben Rottenborn will likely present the motion on Tuesday before Judge Penny Azcarate to grant, dismiss, or take under advisement, we mean.
With the jury out of the courtroom, lawyers for both sides will have an (almost) short time to make their case to Azcarte. After that, unless she makes the unlikely decision to dismiss the case, the judge will tell the lawyers that she immediately denies the motion to strike or that she takes time to think about it. She will then call the jury back for the defense to begin their case.
Pretty much guaranteed to fail in this high-profile case, the main point of the motion is to ensure certain appeal rights for the defense if necessary. Representatives for Heard and his lawyers had no comment on the likely move when contacted by Deadline today.
Depp sued his ex-wife and rum diary co-star for big money in March 2019 after Heard wrote a Washington Post editorial on being a survivor of domestic violence. As all parties have stated and as anyone who can read can see, the 2018 newspaper article owned by Jeff Bezos never mentioned Depp by name. Delayed by the pandemic and other issues, the case was repeatedly challenged by Heard to no avail before the five-week trial began on April 11 at the Fairfax County Courthouse.
In the summer of 2020, the Aquaman star countersued Depp for $100 million. Later that same year, in another wrinkle in the legal fabric, Depp failed in his UK libel suit against The sun tabloid for calling him a “wife beater” in the print media.
Perpetually on the periphery of the Virginia trial, this British case was in many ways a trial run – no pun intended entirely – of the current American case. While the burden of proof is much higher in the US for the disputed Depp than in the UK for a libel or defamation claim, the UK case differs from the current one primarily in that Heard n was not a party to the overseas case – although she testified.
“It’s the same evidence given in the UK case that he resoundingly lost,” a source close to the Heard camp told Deadline of their take on how the US case led by Ben Chew and Camille Vasquez has gone so far. “So I assumed it was now just a variation of that old saying, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, lie again,’ the source added.
Despite all the explicit revelations that have come out of the end of the couple’s marriage, the 2019 trial and this trial so far, this case is legally entirely about what was said in this WaPo op-ed, and what was the fallout – which in no small degree focuses on the First Amendment.
In Virginia, Heard is currently the second witness for the defense after clinical and forensic psychologist Dr. Dawn Hughes takes the stand. Often wearing sunglasses, Depp spoke on his own behalf for part of the second and third week of the trial. Big names like avengers alum Paul Bettany, James Franco and future Twitter owner Elon Musk were on pretrial witness lists for the respective parties.
Last week it became clear that Bettany would not be called up, despite a toxic mouthful of texts from 2013 between the Wanda Vision The actor and Depp attacking Heard were read out in court here, as they were in the action in the UK. Franco and Musk are not expected to speak in person or virtually now either.
What will undoubtedly come back is Depp’s insistence that Heard WaPo the editorial ‘destroyed’ his career and cost him lucrative roles in high-profile films, like an as-yet-unreleased sixth Pirates of the Caribbean flick – though it appears he was never officially invited back to Disney’s distributed franchise.
While his lawyers have insisted on the five-week trial that began on April 11, Depp has repeatedly said since mid-2019 that he was in fact a victim of domestic violence in the relationship, not Heard. It should be noted that Depp and Heard’s 2016 divorce was characterized by such allegations on his part and a restraining order against the former Oscar nominee. Yet even after issuing a joint statement about the end of the relationship, Depp never addressed those topics publicly until the op-ed was published.
With testimony via video link and live in the courtroom, including a security guard who said he saw Heard punch Depp in 2015, the plaintiff’s side moved closer to ending their case on Monday. The day’s session ended with a February 4, 2022 video deposition from Erin Falati, also known by her maiden name Erin Boerum, who was a former nurse to the couple. Apparently the last witness for the plaintiff, the testimony of Heard’s former personal nurse will resume Tuesday morning.
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