Johnny Depp's $50 million defamation suit is still in process, though Amber Heard and her attorneys are trying once more to get the case dismissed. Heard's legal team recently got a new addition in the form of Roberta Kaplan, who led the Time's Up legal defense fund, and she's filed a motion to get Depp's defamation suit over Heard's op-ed in The Washington Post dismissed. For those who aren't familiar, the case stems from the op-ed Heard published talking about her life with domestic abuse, and though she didn't name Depp in the piece, Depp says it is clear who she was talking about and that has hurt his reputation (via THR).
"There is a stark irony at the heart of this case," Heard's legal team wrote in a dismissal memorandum. "In December 2018, Defendant Amber Laura Heard published an op-ed calling for 'changes to laws and rules and social norms' so that 'women who come forward to talk about violence receive more support.' She warned that such reform is necessary because powerful men who have been accused of violence will spare nothing to punish and harass their accusers. Months later, Plaintiff John C. Depp, II proved Ms. Heard's point by filing this defamation lawsuit."
Heard says that the main message of the op-ed was regarding the #MeToo movement, calling on Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act among other things. Her legal team also says that Depp has failed to deliver a truly actionable statement or reasoning for the defamation case.
Depp says it is clear she was referring to him in the piece by citing things like the title or statements like "I became a public figure representing domestic abuse", but Heard's legal team denies those assumptions.
"Mr. Depp reads it as stating sub silentio that he abused her in 2016," the brief states. "That is incorrect. This is an op-ed about what happens to women who report men for domestic abuse and why society should react differently. Given that context, her claim about becoming a 'public figure representing domestic abuse' — and suffering 'the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out' — is a statement about what she believes happened after she accused Mr. Depp of violence. It describes her opinions about the personal consequences, not the underlying merits, of her decision to report Mr. Depp."
"Even if Mr. Depp insists on smashing it apart and analyzing it word by word, the only conceivable factual kernel is the observation that 'men' had been 'accused of abuse,'" the brief states. "But the use of the plural term 'men' indicates a broader focus on Ms. Heard's part than just Mr. Depp himself — and, in any event, Mr. Depp does not deny (and in fact admits) the truth of the proposition that he had been 'accused... of domestic abuse.'"
Now the ball is in Depp's attorney's corner, as they can argue those statements and present a case on why the defamation case should continue moving forward.