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Judge denies Amber Heard’s attempt to dismiss Johnny Depp defamation lawsuit

A judge on Tuesday rejected Amber Heard’s offer to dismiss Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against her after the latter actor’s legal team dropped their case.

The defamation trial between Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard began on April 11 in Fairfax, Virginia, following Mr. Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife in March 2019. Mr. Depp argues that she defamed him in a December 2018 opinion piece published in washington post titled “I spoke out against sexual violence — and faced the wrath of our culture. That has to change.”

In seeking dismissal, defense attorney Ben Rottenborn argued that the only issue in the case is whether Ms Heard can be held liable for defamation because of her 2018 column and nothing else.

He said there is “ample evidence” that Mr. Depp physically abused Ms. Heard and acknowledged that this claim is disputed, but argued that there is no dispute on the non-physical abuse aspect.

If Mr. Depp abused Ms. Heard “even once, then she wins. It’s that simple,” Mr. Rottenborn said.

The attorney made a strike motion, requesting that the judge remove all or part of the evidence presented by the plaintiff from the file.

He asked the court to “reject the plaintiff’s evidence and award summary judgment to Ms. Heard.”

Depp’s lawyer, Ben Chew, opposed the strike motion, insisting that Heard’s “false accusations” rose to the level required to constitute defamation and saying that “she is the abuser in this courtroom.”

Chew said the ACLU’s Terence Dougherty’s testimony “was disgusting,” arguing that they released Heard’s op-ed using Depp’s name to make it more attractive to publishers around the release of the aquaman movie.

Ms Heard’s legal team argued that Mr Depp’s case has not proven malice, pointing out that the Washington Post The op-ed headline was not written by Ms. Heard.

Judge Penney Azcarate said she denied the motion to dismiss the case regarding two statements filed by the plaintiff, but will take a third into consideration.

In her 2018 opinion piece, Ms. Heard wrote that “like many women, she had been sexually harassed and assaulted when she was college age. But I kept quiet, I did not expect to file complaints to do justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim.”

Depp Heard Lawsuit

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Depp Heard Lawsuit

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“Then two years ago I became a public figure representing domestic abuse and felt the full force of our culture’s anger at women speaking out,” she added at the time.

While Mr. Depp is not mentioned in the article, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Mr. Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”. Mr. Depp is seeking compensation of “not less than $50 million”.

Ms. Heard has filed a $100 million counterclaim against Mr. Depp for nuisance and immunity from his accusations.