Judge Refuses Amber Heard's Attempt to Have Defamation Case Dismissed

Johnny Depp's attorneys rested their case in the defamation trial against Amber Heard on Tuesday after 13 days of testimony and, moments later, Heard's legal team presented a motion to dismiss the entire case. However, Judge Penny Azcarate denied the motion based on two of the charges, though also stated that she is taking the third charge — one involving the re-tweeting of the Washington Post op-ed at the center of the case — under advisement at this time. The trial will move forward.

Heard's attorney Ben Rottenborn motioned for the dismissal of the lawsuit is largely a formality to the proceedings as it wasn't expected that Azcarate would actually dismiss the case. Instead, the motion to dismiss was likely to ensure the preservation of specific appeal rights for the defense should appeal be necessary. Azcarate noted that in terms of the evidence in the case, "the weight of that evidence is up to the fact finders". It's not clear when the judge will rule on the defamation claim regarding Heard's tweet.

Depp and Heard have been locked in legal battles for several years following their divorce. in 2016. In November 2020, Depp lost a highly publicized U.K libel suit against British tabloid The Sun which called the actor a "wife-beater". The court sided with the tabloid, finding the claims to be "substantially true". As for the current defamation case, the case stems from a 2018 op-ed Heart wrote for The Washington Post in which she wrote about being the victim of domestic and sexual violence and particularly how speaking out about the abuse negatively impact4ed her career. Heard did not name Depp in the op-ed. Depp, who is suing Heard for $50 million in the suit, alleges that the op-ed led him to lose film roles and other opportunities. Depp has denied the accusations that he abused Heard and insists instead that she is the abuser. Proceedings in the case are being broadcast on Court TV.

"Court cases that are as high-profile as this one often create a lot of noise, and it can be difficult for viewers to break through these distractions to have a clear picture of the facts, but that's where we come in," Ethan Nelson, Acting Head of Court TV, said in a statement. "Between the camera feed directly from the courtroom and our first-class lineup of talent, Court TV will be the true source of an unbiased, down-the-middle perspective of the trial as it unfolds."

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h/t: Variety