Even between the coronavirus lockdown, the hearings have continued. And they may continue for much longer, it seems. Johnny Depp filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard last year. The lawsuit was in response to Amber’s op-ed in the Washington Post. It discussed her experience with domestic violence, without specifically naming Depp. But the jury might consider it as defamation.
Johnny Depp’s case clears demurrer:
A demurrer is a pleading in a lawsuit that challenges a pleading filed by an opposing party. Amber Heard’s legal team tried to dismiss the case on grounds of jurisdiction. But after that failed, she filed a demurrer arguing action could not be taken on her opinion statements. However, it seems even this step has failed. Judge Bruce White sent a letter to both parties saying:
[Depp meets the requirement to] plead allegations of implied defamatory meaning, that is, in fact, defamatory, as well as circumstances that would reasonably cause the statements at issue to convey an alleged defamatory meaning.
The judge noted that op-eds and editorials are usually not acted upon because opinions cannot be defamatory. But, Virginia law provides a cause of action for defamation “made by inference, implication, or insinuation.” The judge agreed in Depp’s favor, regarding inferences and evidence. The judge agreed potential defamatory statements in the op-ed are:
I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change… Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out… I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.
Amber Heard’s attorney speaks out:
Things will likely get more ugly as the case progresses. The case looks weaker and weaker for Amber Heard as more evidence leaks. Last month, audio recordings revealed her admitting to hitting Johnny and saying ‘nobody would believe a man’. And just this week, CCTV images show place her and Elon Musk in a private elevator. They are rumored to have an affair one month into marriage. Amber’s attorney Roberta Kaplan issued a statement:
Today’s decision leaves it to a jury to decide the meaning of Ms. Heard’s op-ed and the truth of what she said. As we have said all along, the courts have strong mechanisms in place for determining the truth. Here, we remain confident that Ms. Heard will prevail at trial when the jury is presented with evidence on the question that the Court identified — namely, whether ‘Ms. Heard was abused by Mr. Depp.
Meanwhile, Johnny Depp’s attorney retorted that he and reality, both look forward to seeing Amber Heard’s mythical evidence.