Johnny Depp trial – live: Amber Heard and actor banned from court photos as opening statements start $50m case – The Independent

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard arrive at the High Court as libel hearing continues

Opening statements are due to be heard in Johnny Depp’s multi-million defamation lawsuit against his former wife, Amber Heard, which began in Virginia on Monday morning with jury selection.

Seven jurors and four alternates were picked to hear the case. He claims a 2018 article written by Heard in The Washington Post – in which she spoke about domestic violence towards women – implied Depp, her former husband, was an abuser.

Although the 35-year-old did not name the actor, lawyers for Depp say Heard’s allegations have made it difficult for the 58-year-old to land roles he previously did.

Depp is known for starring in films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Sweeny Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Heard has appeared in titles including Aquaman and Drive Angry.

He is asking for $50m (£38.2m) in damages during the trial in Fairfax County’s district courthouse. Heard has meanwhile filed a counterclaim of defamation against Depp, who she divorced from in 2017, for nuisance.

Depp has previously lost a defamation case in the UK against British newspaperThe Sun regarding the claims in Heard’s 2018 article.


Recap: What happened on Monday

Monday marked the opening of a case that brought celebrities, journalists, and a host of supporters to a Washington DC suburb, 2,500 miles from Hollywood.

Seven jurors were chosen by the judge and both Depp and Heard appeared at the court house in Fairfax, Virginia. Fans arrived even earlier, with reports of some people camping out to get a glimpse.

AsThe Independent’s Clémence Michallon, the jury selection process was extensive and at times, awkward, with the potential jurors quizzed on their knowledge and opinions of Depp and Heard.

Gino Spocchia12 April 2022 12:15


Why is the trial taking place in Virginia?

Although the couple both live in California, the defamation case brought by Depp against his former wife is in Virginia, where the trial will play out at Fairfax County’s district courthouse.

Online editions of The Washington Post are published through servers located in Fairfax County, which is thought to be one of the reasons behind Depp’s lawyers deciding on the location.

Another is because of Virginia’s anti-Slapp law, which is not as broad as the one in California. The provision allows a person to claim protection from a lawsuit when speaking about issues of public concern.

Lawyers for Heard, who have filed a counter defamation claim, are expected to use the anti-Slapp law during the trial. It comes four years after her Washington Post article titled: I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press

Gino Spocchia12 April 2022 11:50


Selfies and autographs banned by judge

Depp and Heard will be prohibited from taking selfies with fans and signing autographs outside the court house in Fairfax, Virginia, following an order entered into the docket by the judge last month.

The $50m defamation case brought by Depp against his ex-wife, Heard, will fully get underway on Tuesday with opening statements made by both sides.

In the order on 29 March, the judge said “Litigants and their legal teams in this trial will not pose for pictures or sign autographs in the Courthouse or on Courthouse Grounds”.

The court attracted a group of supporters and fans of Depp and Heard on Monday when the jury was selected. Some fans were thought to have travelled for hours to be in Fairfax for the trial involing the actors.

Gino Spocchia12 April 2022 11:25


Opening statements to begin on Tuesday

The multi-million dollar trial involving Jophnny Depp and Amber Heard will get fully underway on Tuesday in Fairfax, Virginia, following the selection of jurors.

The 58-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star was pictured outside the court house on Monday for the selection of the jury in his case against his 35-year-old ex-wife, Hearf.

The case centres on allegations of defamation following a 2018 article in The Washington Post in which she desctribed herself as a victim of domestic violence, but did not name her ex-husband, Depp.

On Tuesday, both sides will begin to set out their opening statements in the Fairfax County Circuit Court. The trial is expected to last for several weeks.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Gino Spocchia12 April 2022 11:05


‘No one is safe from cancel culture’: Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp claimed “no one is safe from cancel culture” while accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award at Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival in September last year.

At the time, Depp was responding to a question about Disney removing him from his career-defining franchise The Pirates of the Caribbean movies after allegations of abuse were leveled against him by ex-wife Amber Heard in 2018.

Four days after Heard’s The Washington Post op-ed, in which she alluded to physical and sexual abuse by the 58-year-old actor, Disney announced Depp would not be reprising his role as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Depp has sued Heard for a sum of “not more than $50m” claiming that the “categorically and demonstrably false” accusations of abuse in the opinion piece have impacted his Hollywood career adversely.

Maanya Sachdeva12 April 2022 08:00


Johnny Depp pictured outside Fairfax County Courthouse before trial

The actor, 58, was photographed outside Virginia’s Fairfax County Courthouse before trial for his defamation case against Amber Heard began on Monday (11 April).

Johnny Depp photographed outside Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia, US

(Getty Images)

Depp and Heard, who were married from 2015 to 2017, are facing off against each other in court after the Pirates of the Caribbean actor sued Heard for defamation over an op-ed she authored in 2018.

In The Washington Post article, Heard recounts her experiences as an abuse survivor – but doesn’t name Depp directly.

In 2020, the Aquaman star’s younger sister told the high court in London she began noticing “signs of physical abuse, like bruises or cuts or burns on [Heard’s] arm – and this was early on”.

Depp is suing Heard for a sum “not more than $50m” for alleged damages to his career, according to court documents.

Maanya Sachdeva12 April 2022 07:15


Elon Musk for Heard, Paul Bettany for Depp: Expected testimonies during trial

Elon Musk, who dated Amber Heard between 2016 and 2018, is expected to testify on the Aquaman actor’s behalf during the $50m defamation lawsuit which began on Monday (11 April).

The Tesla CEO allegedly offered Heard round-the-clock security to safeguard her from Depp.Actor James Franco’s testimony is also believed to be part of Heard’s legal strategy. Franco reportedly had knowledge about bruises Heard sustained during an alleged fight with Depp.

Meanwhile actor Paul Bettany is listed as a witness for Depp, and expected to appear in court via video link. The actors allegedly exchanged text messages about “burning Amber” and “drowning her” in 2013.

When asked about the text messages in an interview last year, Bettany told The Independent: “Can you imagine what it would be like, honestly, to have a bunch of lawyers go through every one of your emails and texts for 10 years? All I can tell you was that it was an unpleasant feeling.”

Maanya Sachdeva12 April 2022 06:30


Jury selected to hear evidence in Depp v Heard defamation case

A jury of eleven people, including four alternates, has been selected to hear Johnny Depp’s defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Oliver O’Connell12 April 2022 05:45


Revisiting Amber Heard’s op-ed which spawned $50m defamation suit

In 2018, Amber Heard authored an opinion piece for The Washington Post titled, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

The actor, who is currently being sued by former partner and actor Johnny Depp for defamation over the op-ed, wrote about having suffered physical and sexual abuse in the article.

“I was exposed to abuse at a very young age,” the 35-year-old actor revealed, adding, “But I kept quiet – I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim.

“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.”

Without naming Depp directly, Heard recounted the consequences of “speaking out” including being dropped by production houses and fashion brands alike, receiving death threats, and near-constant paparazzi surveillance.

Maanya Sachdeva12 April 2022 04:47


Oliver O’Connell12 April 2022 04:45

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