EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard won’t be facing off in a Virginia courtroom anytime soon, it seems.
In yet another delay in the trial start of the former Pirates of the Caribbean star’s acetous $50 million defamation lawsuit against the Aquaman actress, the former couple will now trade barbs and evidence on April 11, 2022. The trial is expected to last about two weeks, give or take a few days.
Already rescheduled several times and in what was looking like the final mad rush of discovery and depositions the trial had been set to start on May 7.
The new date was decided yesterday by Fairfax County VA Circuit Court Chief Judge Bruce White. The last time the fuming matter was postponed was back in September last year. While Depp had been advocating for a new delay then because of his then Fantastic Beasts 3 shooting schedule, Judge White actually pushed the date from January 2021 to May due to backlogs in the state’s court system because of the coronavirus pandemic.
And, to the frustration of some involved, that’s kind of the reason this time round too.
The April 2022 date was the first available slot for a civil jury trial, I hear.
As with last September, criminal cases are still the priority in Virginia. In that context, and with proceedings slowly starting up against as Covid-19 continues to rage across the nation, a murder trial with a defendant who is already behind bars was handed the Depp/Heard May 7 date.
With Depp’s UK lawyers anticipating an oral hearing next month in their attempt to appeal their loss in the actor’s libel suit against being called a “wife beater” by The Sun tabloid, the significant date shift in Virginia barely lowers the volume in the loud matter. For once thing, Heard countersued her ex-husband and Rum Diary co-star for $100 million last summer after failing to get the initial suit dismissed.
In fact, in the UK, Heard’s team recently filed an opposition to the appeal there, and Depp’s barristers have until February 28 to reply.
Having been axed from the Fantastic Beasts franchise last November, mere days after Judge Andrew Nicol’s damningly determined against Depp and for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sun, the actor has been on a subpoena binge in the US of late. The ACLU and Elon Musk were pulled into the Virginia case earlier this month, by Dep. That follows Heard dragging Pirates studio Disney and the LAPD in to the matter in January for basically everything that they might or might not have on her ex.
Among those high profile names in this very high profile case, free speech non-profit the ACLU are in the spotlight again in the case because the group was among the two organizations to which Heard said five years ago she was donating half of her $7 million divorce settlement from Depp. Despite years of insisting on the donation and an ACLU Ambassador for women’s rights role for Heard, it turns out that big bucks payments have been “delayed,” according to what the actress’ attorney Elaine Bredehoft told Deadline in January.
This all started when Depp sued Heard in Virginia state court for $50 million in March 2019 after she wrote a Washington Post op-ed about being a victim of domestic abuse. The December 2018 piece never actually named the actor, but the already fairly litigious Depp alleged the op-ed damaged his already tainted rep and cost him a well-paying gig in Disney’s planned Pirates of the Caribbean reboot.
The filed paperwork went on to say that in fact it was the fairly litigious Depp who was the real victim in the couple’s short-lived marriage that ended in full public view in 2016. “Ms. Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse, she is a perpetrator,” the suit read in part.
Obviously, Amber Heard disagreed.
As depositions are taken and more motions are to be decided in the case, this latest delay may ended up cranking up the volume on the near ear-splitting matter all the more – and could be pushed back again.
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