Lawyers for both sides were in a Virginia court today to argue over a motion to dismiss the case filed by Heard’s attorneys, who believe the case does not belong in that state. Depp’s attorneys have argued that because the op-ed at the heart of the defamation claim appeared in the Washington Post, and the Post is printed in Virginia, the case belongs there.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the judge took the motion under advisement and said he would have an opinion “soon.” When “soon” actually is could be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks because the judge in the case is headed off on vacation towards the end of next week (presumably for the July 4th holiday).
The judge has already set a trial date in the case — February 3, 2020 – and set aside 12 days on the court calendar … so it seems likely the case will be going forward in Virginia as Depp is requesting.
As The Blast first reported, Johnny Depp sued Heard for defamation over an op-ed Heard wrote last year where she referred to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”
In his lawsuit, Depp takes issue with an article Heard wrote for the Washington Post in December 2018, in which she referred to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Although Johnny Depp was not named, he claims the entire article “depends on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr. Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her.”
He claims that Heard’s abuse allegations were “conclusively refuted by two separate responding police officers, a litany of neutral third-party witnesses, and 87 newly obtained surveillance camera videos.”
Depp is suing for defamation and asking for damages in excess of $50,000,000.
Heard submitted a declaration as a response to Depp’s lawsuit, going into great detail in alleging multiple instances of abuse at the hands of Johnny Depp during the course of their brief marriage.
In her filing, Heard claims that Depp began to abuse drugs and alcohol about a year into their relationship. She claims he frequently went in and out of “alcohol dependency medical care.” She claims he “used both illegal narcotics and prescription medications.”
During a trip to Australia in March 2015, she claims Depp went on an ecstasy bender. Heard claims the two got into another fight and claims Depp “hit me multiple times, shoved and pushed me to the ground, choked me, and spit in my face.”
In a December 2015 incident, she claims Depp “threw another decanter at me, knocked items around the room, and punched a wall.” She also claims he “slapped me hard, grabbed me by my hair and dragged me from a stairwell to the office to the living to the kitchen to the bedroom and then to the guest room.”
Heard also denies any claims that she abused Johnny and says she “never attacked Johnny other than in self-defense (and in defense of my little sister).”
Depp then filed a deposition in his own words about the allegations of abuse levied against him by Heard, saying, “Ms. Heard’s fabricated domestic violence allegations against me are categorically and demonstrably false.”
Depp stated, “I have denied Ms. Heard’s allegations vehemently since she first made them in May 2016, when she walked into court to obtain a temporary restraining order with painted-on bruises that witnesses and surveillance footage show she did not possess each day of the preceding week. I will continue to deny them for the rest of my life. I never abused Ms. Heard or any other woman.”
He says he decided to file the lawsuit “not only to clear my name and restore my reputation, but to attempt to bring clarity to the women and men whose lives have been harmed by abuse and who have been repeatedly lied to by Ms. Heard purporting to be their spokesperson.”