How is Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s court battle different from the previous trial?

Johnny Depp’s ill-fated relationship with Amber Heard has turned its way into public glare, with his defamation trial in Fairfax, Virginia this week—marking his second court battle in less than two years.

Hollywood actor Depp, 58, sued his ex-wife Heard, 35, for $50 million, alleging that he defamed her in an opinion piece that was published. Washington Post in December 2018. Screen star Heard has countersued for $100 million.

Depp is meeting in court after losing a 2020 defamation suit against British tabloids after a previous legal battle sunwhich called the actor a “wife killer” in reference to Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse.

Heard accused Depp of domestic abuse during their divorce proceedings in 2016. The stars, who married in 2015, officially dissolved their union in January 2017, months after Heard filed for divorce. Pirates of the Caribbean Star.

Depp sued sun Referring to her as a “wife-beater” prompted a high-profile trial at the UK’s Royal Court of Justice in London, where several outrageous allegations were leveled by the actor and his ex-wife.

Depp repeatedly denied being violent with Heard, and both provided evidence during a three-week trial, where claims of brutal violence and intimate details of their rocky relationship were publicly circulated.

As Johnny Depp (L) and Amber Heard (R) face off in court once again, Greeley Tribune examines the differences between their current trial and their previous fight.
srijan stevanovic/Getty Images; / Karawai Tang / WireImage

During the proceedings, Depp was asked about his lifestyle, drug use, and his attitudes toward women and his past partners.

As the trial concluded, the overseeing judge found that the UK publication’s claim that the actor was abusive to Heard was “fairly accurate.”

Now with the start of the new trial, entertainment lawyer Mark Litvak, founder of Mark Litvak & Associates, has told newsweek That there are noticeable differences between this court battle and their last—primarily because of the location.

“UK and US laws are quite different,” Litvak said. “In the United Kingdom the burden of proof to prove libel – written defamation – rests largely on the defendant. It is therefore easier to sue and win a defamation action in the UK

“In the United States, public figures like Depp and Heard have to prove genuine malice to prevail. It’s derived from the First Amendment rights we have as Americans in the United States, and the First Amendment doesn’t exist in the UK.” “

burden of proof

Depp is suing aquaman Star Heard for her 2018 op-ed, in which she said that she has been a victim of domestic violence. While Heard did not name Depp directly, the actor said it was clear that he was mentioned in the article. Due to the proximity of the post’s headquarters, the test is taking place in Virginia.

“This lawsuit is different in that Depp is claiming Washington Post The op ed piece meant he was a domestic abuser,” Litvak told newsweek, “And the evidence may be different this time as it pertains to a different publication.

“And to win under US law, one has to prove that the derogatory remarks were related to the plaintiffs. Apparently Heard did not name Depp in his article. So that’s another issue for Depp.”

However, the uphill battle on Depp’s part doesn’t end there, Litvak explained: “Most public figures don’t file a defamation suit even when a publication says something untrue about them.

“Because as public figures they have to prove genuine malice, which is a very difficult standard to meet. And then if they lose, most people might think they lost because the defamatory comment must have been true.

“But in reality, they lost simply because they could not prove that the publisher acted negligently or intentionally, which is genuine malice. The statement may be false but they still lose. After that most celebrities decide that it’s not wise to bring a suit.”

save career

Another challenge facing Depp is the risk of more allegations against him being publicly circulated as a direct result of his decision to file the lawsuit.

“Whenever you file a lawsuit, especially if you’re a celebrity, the lawsuit itself can draw more attention to the allegations and circulate to people who were previously unaware of the allegations,” Litvak said. “So it could further damage one’s reputation.”

Amid the fallout of the UK court battle, Depp was “asked to resign” Fantastic Beasts 3, in which he was set to reprise his role as Gellert Grindelwald. He was later replaced by Mads Mikkelsen.

With this in mind, California First Amendment attorney Jeff Lewis contends that Depp has every reason to file this lawsuit to seek back career opportunities that are currently out of reach.

“Remember that after the last trial, Depp lost his lucrative film deal. Fantastic Beasts film series,” Lewis told newsweek, “Getting his name cleared in court is the only way to get his career back on track. Given the damage done in the previous lawsuit, Depp’s reputation can only improve and certainly not significantly decline. “

However, Litvak said, the fact that “a UK judge after investigating various allegations found many of the allegations to be largely true … means it could be a tough time for Depp.”

Amber Heard And Johnny Deppo
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard attend the UK premiere of “Mortdecai” at Empire Leicester Square on January 19, 2015 in London, England. The stars married in 2015, with Heard filing for divorce the following year.
Dave M. Bennett/WireImage

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