We’ve been waiting for the judgment in Johnny Depp‘s libel case against The Sun newspaper for weeks now, as it’ll decide if either Depp or his ex-wife Amber Heard’s conflicting stories about each other’s behavior are credible. Victory for the former would be a huge vindication after years of his name being dragged through the mud, but if the judge sides with Heard, it could do irreparable financial and career damage to him.
Beyond that, there are several other ongoing lawsuits between the pair. One of them is a $50 million defamation lawsuit that Depp has filed in Virginia (Heard has launched a $100 million counterclaim to this). The suit hit the headlines recently when Depp applied to have the case adjourned from January to May in order to allow him time to film Fantastic Beasts 3. Heard opposed the move, claiming that Depp had long known about the dates and was simply using them as a delay tactic.
In the end, the judge agreed to push it back, though his reasoning was because of COVID-19 delays to jury trials and criminal cases having to take precedent. That factor means it may be moved back even further than May, possibly until late in 2021. Now, Heard is trying to get the court to order Depp to undergo a lengthy deposition by her attorneys. The actor claims he cannot do this until after February 2021, but the Aquaman star is arguing that he’s trying to dodge accountability.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter that her legal team has filed:
“Defendant is forced to bring this motion after extensive efforts to obtain the deposition of Plaintiff, even after providing a two-month Notice of Deposition, asking for locations and dates for Mr. Depp prior to his filming, seeking discovery to ascertain Mr. Depp’s exact filming schedule, and finally being told that the Plaintiff in this action, suing Defendant for $50 million, will not make himself available for deposition until the filming of Fantastic Beasts is complete, sometime late February 2021, or possibly later.
Mr. Depp relies upon the letter from a Warner Bros. Associate counsel claiming Mr. Depp is needed from September 17 through the completion of filming, to remain in the UK. Meanwhile, disproving the veracity of the letter, Mr. Depp is traveling around Europe and attending film festivals, each of which includes quarantine periods. Yet Mr. Depp is refusing to return to the US, where there is no quarantine requirement for his deposition.”
But all of this could end up being academic. If Johnny Depp wins big in London, then Heard’s lawyers may advise her to attempt to settle or drop the cases altogether. In any case, it’s the opening of the British legal year tomorrow and the courts are back in full swing, so let’s hope that long-delayed judgment moves the situation on from this repetitive tit-for-tat.