In the best news I have heard all week, a Virginia judge has refused Johnny Depp’s attempt to get his ex-wife Amber Heard’s $100 million libel lawsuit against him thrown out of court.
After seeing the absolute sh*tshow (literally) Depp’s $50 million libel lawsuit trial against The Sun was late last year in the United Kingdom, and how he ended up completely cucking himself in the process, the fact that lawsuit has been allowed to go ahead on American soil is a freaking awesome development.
Fairfax County Judge Bruce White wrote in his opinion statement, “Mr. Depp makes factual assertions that do not fairly and accurately summarize the litigation that has taken place.”
“In support of her accusation of malice, Ms. Heard alleged that the GQ journalist, Mr. Heath, stated that Mr. Depp invited him to interview the actor because he was ‘angry —angry about a lot of things —and he’s vengeful,'” he continues. “Moreover, Ms. Heard has alleged that Mr. Depp has the intention of ruining her career; citing statements that he made to friends demonstrating a malicious intent. Further, Mr. Depp has admitted his intent to destroy Ms. Heard’s career by stating that he wanted her replaced on Aquaman. Accordingly, Ms. Heard has sufficiently pled a malicious intent, which prevents a ruling on the self-defense privilege at this stage in the litigation.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter…
Why did Depp pick Virginia to sue over a Washington Post op/ed that she had authored? Possibly because at the time, Virginia had no anti-SLAPP law, a mechanism by which defendants can quickly escape frivolous litigation targeting First Amendment rights. As a result of Depp v. Heard (plus Rep. Devin Nunes’ vexatiousness), Virginia lawmakers passed a new law targeting SLAPPS (strategic lawsuits against public participation) in February 2020.
Guess who became one of the first to attempt to use it?
That would be Depp, soon battling a countersuit brought by Heard in the same case.
Doh! Cucked himself again.
Heard alleges that her former husband has deployed social media bots against her in alleged violation of Virginia’s Computer Crimes Act. She says he’s directed a concerted effort to tarnish her career and interfere with endorsements and acting gigs as retaliation for what she has publicly claimed about their troubled marriage. As for Heard’s story of being abused, after Depp attorney Adam Waldman told media outlets that it was “fake” and all part of a “sexual violence hoax,” Heard included defamation counterclaims too.
Now comes White’s first big decision on those counterclaims — a ruling that represents the most significant legal development since a U.K. judge rejected Depp’s lawsuit against a British tabloid. The November ruling that Heard’s tale of being physically assaulted was “substantially true” has wounded Depp’s career.
Although Depp can’t now prevail on his anti-SLAPP motion (more on that in a moment), he does at least succeed in paring Heard’s countersuit. Heard can’t pursue a declaratory judgment of being immune over statements in the op/ed as the Virginia judge deems this claim to be duplicative of her defense to Depp’s own suit and not worthy of jurisdiction. And the actress loses her claim over the alleged smear campaign on social media. The judge rules that Heard hasn’t sufficiently alleged the elements of a computer crime, in particular communication of obscene language.
It wasn’t all roses and rainbows for Heard in the ruling, however.
The judge did rule that the negative comments allegedly made online by Depp about Heard do not constitute defamation, but Heard’s $100 million lawsuit over statements made by Depp’s attorney Waldman to the Daily Mail in 2020, which is actually a countersuit to a $50 million lawsuit Depp filed against her in 2019, will still be allowed to go forward.
Depp previously settled a third $50 million lawsuit against his former lawyers.
This case, which has now lasted longer than Depp and Heard’s actual marriage, is currently set to go to trial on May 3rd. Get ya popcorn ready!