Johnny Depp wins right to sue Amber Heard for libel

Disgraced actor Johnny Depp has been granted the green light to press libel charges against ex-wife Amber Heard despite a UK court ruling that he was a “wife-beater.”

The 58-year-old “Pirates of the Caribbean” star seemed out of luck this past December after losing a libel suit against the Sun, which penned a 2018 piece accusing the actor of physically assaulting Heard, the Times reported. After the multi-week trial, the judge had ruled that the UK publication’s claims were “substantially true,” after carefully examining 14 domestic incidents that reportedly occurred during the pair’s tumultuous 15-month marriage.

The “Justice League” actress, 35, then tried to use Depp’s legal loss to invalidate another defamation case by him concerning a 2018 Washington Post op-ed, in which Heard claimed to be a victim of abuse but didn’t mention her ex by name, the Times reported. The “Aquaman” star says that the Virginia court should recognize the UK ruling as both cases involved domestic violence, according to a report by the Hollywood Reporter.

Johnny Depp can move forward with libel charges against ex-wife Amber Heard.
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However, on Tuesday, Fairfax County Chief Judge Penney Azcarate denied Heard’s motion, citing the fact that her interests weren’t aligned with the Sun’s.

Azcarate wrote specifically that while the Sun‘s interests were based on the veracity of the publication’s claims, “[Heard’s] interests relate to whether the statements she [herself] published were false.”

As for whether the UK ruling should prevent Depp from pressing libel charges, Azcarate determined that Heard was not present at the across-the-pond trial and therefore the same rules don’t apply, THR reported.

Heard’s lawyer argued at the hearing that rejecting the UK judgment gave the “Donnie Brasco” actor carte blanche to sue any publication that referred to him as a “wife-beater.” Azcarate countered by saying that “upholding English libel judgments in the United States” would create a “dangerous precedent,” as the UK is more lenient toward defamation plaintiffs.

The court date is slated for early 2022. Along with the aforementioned libel allegations, the trial will also examine Heard’s counterclaims that her ex-husband sicced social media bots on her, the Times reported.

The ruling follows another legal victory by Depp earlier this month in New York, which will force several charities to disclose whether his former betrothed made good on her word to donate her $7 million divorce settlement.

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