Jury reviews Amber Heard’s counterclaims against Johnny Depp

Richter and Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp lost his efforts to dismiss Amber Heards Countersuits accusing him of defaming her when his lawyer called her domestic violence allegations a “hoax”. That Pirates of the Caribbean Actor made the move after Aquaman The actress has closed her case.

Just as she turned down a similar request from Heard, Judge Penney Azcarate allowed all defamation claims to reach a jury.

Azcarate noted that the bar is high for making allegations before a jury has a chance to consider them.

“In assessing a motion to strike, the court will accept the favor of the party that does not move unless it would be contrary to logic and common sense to do so,” she said.

Heard’s counterclaim largely focuses on a smear campaign she attributes to Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman, who called her allegations “fake,” “fraudulent,” and a “hoax.” Depp’s other attorney Benjamin Kau argued that Heard could not prove that Waldman made these statements with actual malice, which would require that he made the statements “with knowledge” of their falsity or “with reckless disregard for whether”. [they were] wrong or not.”

Heard’s attorney dismissed that argument Benjamin Rottenborn noted that Waldman had made some of the statements after a British judge ruled that a British tabloid had not defamed Depp by publishing an editorial calling him a “wife beater”, a characterization the court favored “essentially true”.

Judge Azcarate stated that only a “szintilla” of evidence of actual malice was required for the allegations to proceed, and she cited some of it in the record.

“Consequently, there is more than a shred of evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that Mr. Waldman made the counterclaims while realizing they were false or [made] with reckless disregard for the truth,” Azcarate said. “It is not my job to measure the weight or veracity of the evidence.”

The judge ruled similarly on Heard’s motion to dismiss Depp’s 2018 defamation claims Washington Post op ed. Though the editorial didn’t name Depp, it said Heard had become “a public figure representing domestic violence” two years earlier when she first publicly accused him of intimate partner violence.

The case was subsequently pursued under the doctrine of implied defamation.

On Tuesday, Depp is expected to advance his rebuttal case with high-profile witnesses. Jennifer HowlShe, too, who runs the nonprofit group Art of Elysium, is expected to disagree with certain statements made by Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez. Art of Elysium often works with hospitalized children and has offered workshops at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which Heard has pledged to support with an unfulfilled $3.5 million donation.

Both Heard and Henriquez testified about a “staircase incident” in which Depp allegedly punched Henriquez. Howell filed a statement in the UK pointing out that Henriquez told her an entirely different account in which Heard allegedly attacked Depp.

According to Howell’s statement, Henriquez confided that she feared Heard would “kill” Depp.

On Wednesday, Depp’s supermodel ex-girlfriend Kate Moss should testify via video link. Heard testified that she was thinking about Moss during the alleged stairwell incident.

“I immediately think of Kate Moss and stairs in my head,” Heard said.

One of Depp’s attorneys gave a fist pump when Heard made that comment, suggesting his legal team believed Heard had opened a door to helpful testimony. Moss and Depp remain friends, and the supermodel is said to deny the rumor.

The first witness for Depp’s case is Walter Hamada, the president of DC-based film production at Warner Bros. Pictures. He appears by affidavit.

This is an evolving story.

(Photo via Law&Crime Network)

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