Johnny Depp hugs his lawyer as judge denies Amber Heard's request to toss lawsuit
There is enough evidence to support Johnny Depp's $50 million claim of defamation.
On Tuesday, the actor's legal team rested their case after 13 days of testimony as Depp says Amber Heard ruined his career by presenting herself as a victim of abuse. After hearing oral arguments by both sides, the judge denied a motion from Heard's legal team to dismiss the lawsuit.
Depp is suing Heard over a Dec. 2018 op-ed she wrote that was published in The Washington Post. There are three parts of the article that Depp is suing over specifically. One is the title of the online op-ed: "I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change." The second is how Heard described herself as "public figure representing domestic abuse." The third is when she wrote, "I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse."
Judge Penney Azcarate denied the defense's motion to strike for statements two and three. She's taking the first under advisement.
"Last night I reviewed all the evidence submitted in this matter," Judge Azcarate said. "As to the second and third alleged defamatory statements... I view the evidence in light most favorable to the plaintiff."
Although Heard didn't name Depp in the article, it's "reasonably inferred" she's talking about Depp.
"There is evidence in the case that a jury could weigh that the statements were made by the defendant, that the statements were about the plaintiff, that the statement was published, that the statement is false and the defendant made the statement knowing it to be false, or the defendant made it so recklessly as to amount to a willful disregard of the truth," the judge continued.
As for the headline, Judge Azcarate said she can't rule on that yet as there is apparently outstanding evidence that is not yet submitted.
Depp looked elated after the ruling, giving his attorney Benjamin Chew a big hug. It was expected that Heard's lawyers would try and dismiss the lawsuit and also expected that the judge would deny the motion.
Court is adjourned for lunch and will resume this afternoon with Heard's team calling their first witness: Dr. Dawn M. Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist. It's expected that Heard will testify later this week.