Actor Johnny Depp sued a major British media outlet who allegedly defamed him during his divorce from actress Amber Heard.
A UK judge ruled on Monday that the 2018 article in the British tabloid The Sun calling Johnny Depp a “wife beater” was not defamatory after a contentious legal standoff this summer.
Judge Andrew Nicol delivered his written verdict without a hearing, due to the coronavirus, in London High Court, dismissing Depp’s complaint against The Sun and finding that “the vast majority” of Amber Heard’s assault charges could ” prove to the civil norm “.
“Plaintiff has been unsuccessful in his defamation action,” reads a court summary published Monday in USA Today.
The statement continues: “Although he has proven the necessary elements of his defamation cause of action, the defendants have shown that what they published in the meaning that I have argued the words had was substantially true.”
Heard was justified in hitting Depp during an argument in March 2015 to defend his sister, the judge ruled.
Another incident in May 2016, in which Heard alleged physical abuse that days later would lead her to file a petition to end her marriage and a request for a domestic violence restraining order, had “particularly sharp” contradictory evidence, it noted. , though she eventually objected, with Heard’s claims that Depp hit her in the face with a cell phone.
The ruling represents a major blow to Depp’s reputation and finances that could seriously damage her lucrative film career. A lawyer for Depp, 57, described the decision as “perverse and disconcerting.”
“The sentence is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr. Depp not to appeal this decision,” Jenny Afia said in a statement to USA Today.
Meanwhile, an attorney for Heard said the verdict “came as no surprise” to anyone who followed the trial.
The Sun called the decision an “astonishing victory for press freedom” and said it had stood up and campaigned for victims of domestic abuse for more than 20 years.
“Victims of domestic abuse should never be silenced, and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and we thank Amber Heard for her courage in testifying in court,” a tabloid spokesperson said in a statement.
This was the violent marriage of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard
As we reported in The Truth News, in July, Depp and Heard had a dramatic three-week legal battle that exposed horrific allegations of verbal and physical assault, drug and alcohol abuse, and a tumultuous private life for the celebrity couple.
The actors met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary,” married in Los Angeles in 2015, separated the following year, and divorced in 2017.
Depp sued The Sun editor, News Group Newspapers, and executive editor Dan Wootton over a 2018 article claiming the actor was a “wife beater” for Heard without prepending the label with words like “alleged” or “accused.” .
He vigorously denied all of Heard’s accusations and responded that she was the abuser in their relationship. Their marriage, Depp told Heard several times, was “a crime scene waiting to happen,” she testified.
During closing arguments in July, Depp’s attorney, David Sherborne, said the actor flatly denied “this reputation-destroying, career-ending accusation, which urged JK Rowling to fire Depp from the film version of his book ‘Fantastic Animals and Where to Find Them’ “.
The lawyer stated: “They gave the false impression that Depp had been tried, convicted and sentenced for domestic violence, and compared him to former movie mogul and convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein.”
“He’s never hit a woman in his entire life, period, period, nothing,” Sherborne said.
NGN’s attorney, Sasha Wass, said at the time that there was no question that Depp “regularly and systematically abused his wife,” so the label of “female batterer” was justified.
After serving as the lead witness for The Sun, Heard made a statement on the court steps before a crowd of reporters and onlookers, according to a video posted by The Telegraph newspaper on YouTube.
Heard said he stayed true to his testimony and preferred to “move on with my life” after his divorce from Depp in 2017.
“I did not file this lawsuit and, despite its importance, I would have preferred not to be here in court,” he said.
The actress added: “It has been incredibly painful to relive the breakdown in my relationship and have my motives and my truth questioned and the most traumatic and intimate details of my life with Johnny shared in court and broadcast to the entire world.”
The judge’s ruling on Monday may have implications for another legal battle Depp has filed, this is a $ 50 million defamation lawsuit in Virginia against Heard for a 2018 column he wrote for The Washington Post, in which he was called upon herself a victim of domestic abuse by alluding to her relationship with Depp without referring to him by name.