After almost a month, the judicial process that Johnny Depp faces against his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, resumes and continues its course. A legal battle that began in mid-2019 and is being tried for six weeks in the courts of Fairfax County, Virginia (USA); prolonging this process longer than the 15 months that the couple was united in marriage.
A process in which both sue each other and have key witnesses that are causing many aspects of their intimate and personal life to come to light, in an attempt by each to prove that the other is really it was much worse in their relationship, marked by violence, alcohol and drugs.
What happens and what is at stake?
The actor filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife in March 2019, alleging that she committed a crime of defamation after writing an opinion piece in 2018 for the newspaper Washington Postin which she presented herself as a victim of sexual violence and “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”
An opinion that, for the actor, ended his career. Amber Heard lived like her, despite never having named Depp in her article, public opinion stood up to defend her and condemned her ex-husband, making her lose juicy contracts (Pirates of the Caribbean and the saga fantastic animals, just to name a few). For this reason, Johnny Depp’s legal team filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife, asking for at least 45 million euros as compensation.
However, things are not so simple. In August 2020, Amber Heard’s legal team also filed a countersuit against her ex-husband in response to said defamation lawsuit, accusing him of “orchestrating a smear campaign” against her, insisting that she was being victimized, once again, by ” abuse” and “harassment”. For this reason, the actress requests that she be granted immunity from the accusations of her ex-husband, in addition to compensation of approximately 100 million euros.
Why is the case being tried in Fairfax, Virginia?
Johnny Depp sued his ex-wife for the article she published in Washington Post in 2018. The trial is taking place in Virginia because the digital edition of the newspaper is published through several servers located in Fairfax County, within the aforementioned state, which allowed the actor to file his lawsuit in that court. However, according to Associated Presshis ex-wife’s attorneys unsuccessfully tried to move the case to a California court.
But why did the actor insist on staying in Virginia? The reason is simple: its anti-SLAPP law (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation), or what is the same, specific regulations for people to use the courts or threaten to sue others who try to exercise their right to freedom of expression, which is what his ex-wife would have tried to do.
What has been discovered?
At the moment, and despite the passing of the years, a stage in the life of the performers is being reconstructed, to say the least, stormy. On the part of Depp’s team there have been several witnesses who affirm that Johnny Depp was the real victim of domestic violence, even losing a finger after a fit of anger from his ex-wife. The actor has been presented as the true victim of domestic violence, with several testimonies confirming his claims.
According to a forensic psychologist who witnessed the accusation, the actress could suffer from two severe personality disorders. Something in which another psychologist specialist differs from the defense, who maintains that the actress would suffer from post-traumatic syndrome (PTSD) due to the domestic violence suffered at the hands of Depp and the abuse she received from her in her childhood. . An abuse that the actor compared to that suffered by himself as a child, at the hands of his mother, who was “quite violent and cruel” both with him and with his father and his brothers.
Amber Heard, for her part, has already taken the stand and recounted how she met Johnny Depp, the connection they had when they filmed together The Rum Diaries in 2009. An instant chemistry that would become a relationship as such in 2011, with both recently separated from their respective partners. In 2015, they got married, and 15 months later, she filed for divorce.
A relationship marked by violence, alcohol and drugs in excess; with attacks on each other. The actress offered in her testimony an account of the life she led with the actor, giving details of an alleged episode of sexual abuse in which Depp forced her to have sex with a bottle; aggression and excessive alcohol or drug use.
A shocking testimony in which, among other things, he recalled the first time that the actor allegedly attacked him after she made fun of one of his tattoos. He also tells her version of what happened at the time Depp lost part of her finger, assuring that she was not even present when it happened, but that it was the same night that he sexually abused her with the aforementioned bottle of liquor.
In addition, it has also been discovered that, despite the fact that the actress never named the actor in her controversial article against sexual and domestic violence, she did so in her first drafts, and she removed it at the request of her lawyers, just like the references to the restraining order she requested – and broke – to stay away from the actor.
According to the evidence and witnesses who have testified in the trial so far, the actor would have lost approximately 40 million euros after the publication of the controversial article, including his dismissal as the protagonist of the sixth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.
What does Johnny Depp need to prove to win the case?
The actor filed a complaint against his ex-wife, whom he accuses of three crimes of defamation, each one by the medium in which the controversial article of Washington Post (print edition, web and social networks, when the actress shared her article through her accounts).
As Johnny Depp is a public figure, he has an addition: he has to prove that his ex-wife acted with “real malice”, or that he wrote the article knowing that what he was saying was false. According to experts, this is something very difficult to prove, which would explain why the actor is presenting witnesses who show what the couple’s marital relationship was like.
What will happen to Amber Heard if Johnny Depp wins the trial?
There are seven people who make up the jury and who will decide if Amber Heard committed a crime and defamed her ex-husband, ruining his professional career and his image with his article. In addition to determining whether or not she is guilty, the jury will also determine whether the actress should compensate Depp or if, on the contrary, he is the one who is defaming her and has to pay the millionaire compensation she asks for.
Whoever emerges victorious from this confrontation will leave the other in front of another grand jury: the public, which will determine if they continue to support him professionally after everything that has been experienced.