Johnny Depp trial live: Jury picked as Amber Heard and actor face off in $50m defamation case

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

Johnny Depp’s multi-million defamation lawsuit against his former wife, Amber Heard, 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 other Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Heard has appeared in titles including Aquaman other drive angry.

He is asking for $50m (£38.2m) in damages during the trial at Fairfax County’s district courthouse. Heard 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 newspaper The Sun regarding the claims in Heard’s 2018 article.

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Why is the trial taking place in Virginia when Heard and Depp live in LA?

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-slapping 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

Oliver O’Connell11 April 2022 22:45

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Heard and Depp pictured leaving courthouse after day one of trial

(AFP via Getty Images)

(EPO)

Oliver O’Connell11 April 2022 22:35

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Opening statements to commence on Tuesday morning

Oliver O’Connell11 April 2022 22:28

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Heard: ‘I’ll be away for a few weeks’

Here’s the statement issued by Amber Heard on Saturday on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, in which she tells fans she will be “offline for the next few weeks”.

She also thanked her fans for their support, and said “in these coming weeks I will be leaning on it more than ever”.

Heard also addressed Depp’s claim that she had defamed him in an article in 2018 in The Washington Postand said she continued “to pay the price” for speaking out on the issue of domestic violence.

Depp denies any wrongdoing.

Oliver O’Connell11 April 2022 22:06

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Judge rules Heard can use anti-Slapp provision

Heard will be able to argue during the trial that she is immune from liability because her Washington Post Article in 2018 about domestic violence was an important issue in the public interest.

Lawyers for Depp had argued for the court to refuse to allow Heard to use the law, known as an anti-Slapp (strategic lawsuit against public participation) provision, because it was a civil case.

Both will testify during the trial, which will see the Fairfax County district court assess Heard’s counter defamation claim against Depp.

Oliver O’ConnellApril 11, 2022 21:47

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Heard said in 2020 she wanted to be ‘left alone’

Appearing as a witness during Depp’s trial against British newspaper The Sun in 2020, Heard said she wanted to be “left alone” and wanted her former husband to end lawsuits over domestic abuse claims to “save him the embarrassment.”

“I didn’t want to do this, I didn’t want to expose this totality of what really happened to me,” Heard told London’s Royal Courts of Justice. “I didn’t want to talk about everything that happened in our marriage and happened in our relationship.”

While Depp denies the claims, Heard told the court of 14 allegations of “violence” by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in locations such as a rented house in Australia, his private island in the Bahamas and a private jet, as The Associated Press reported two years ago.

The judge ruled against Depp, who accused the publisher of The Sun of defaming him with a headline including the words “wife beater”. His lawyers afterwards called the judge’s decision “perverse”.

Oliver O’ConnellApril 11, 2022 21:28

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Who might testify during the trial?

Ahead of the trial due to begin today in Virginia, Depp and Heard have each published a list of witnesses their teams may wish to call upon, writes The Independent’s Clemence Michallon.

They have each filed lists of objections to some of the other side’s witnesses, so the final pool of witnesses will become clearer and may evolve as the proceedings go on.

Some of the people named as potential witnesses so far include Tesla founder Elon Musk and actor James Franco…

Oliver O’Connell11 April 2022 21:09

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The jury has been selected

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’ConnellApril 11, 2022 21:05

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Not the first time Heard and Depp have been in court

This is not the first time Depp and Heard have appeared in court after he failed to sue the publishers of The Sun newspaper for defamation in 2020.

A judge ruled that the headline of an article written by The Sun’s executive editor Dan Wootton in 2018 was “substantially true”. It described the actor as a “wife beater”, which he denies.

Depp, whose lawyers called the judge’s ruling “perverse”, was not allowed to appeal the decision either.

He also denied the claims made in the article and by Heard, who spoke in court as a witness during the case in London’s Royal Courts of Justice.

While Depp says he was forced to stand down from his role in the film Fantastic Beasts a Harry Potter spin-off – following the trial, he has attended a number of film events and was awarded by the San Sebastian film festival in Spain for his lifetime achievements. The decision proved highly controversial.

Oliver O’Connell11 April 2022 20:50

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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-slapping 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

Oliver O’Connell11 April 2022 20:31

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