A judge is allowing Amber's lawsuit against Depp to proceed, failing to prevent the case from moving forward.
Amber Heard and Johnny Deep have been clashing in the courtroom ever since divorcing each other in 2017. According to reports from The Hollywood Reporter, a judge has granted permission for Heard to move her $100 million defamation countersuit against Johnny Deep forward.
Virginia judge Bruce D. White had rejected all of Depp's attempts to have the 34-year-old Aquaman 3 star's lawsuit against him tossed out, reasoning that Heard in fact does have every right to claim Depp's attorney libeled her in the media. The claims in question were statements made by attorney Adam Waldman who told the press that Heard's stories of abuse by Deep were a "hoax" and "fake." Judge White ruled that these statements could damage a person's reputation and were not protected under new laws beefing up a defendant's ability to use first amendment defenses.
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“In light of the #MeToo Movement and today’s social climate, falsely claiming abuse would surely ‘injure [Ms. Heard’s] reputation in the common estimation of mankind,’” White ruled, noting the existing standard for claiming to be a victim of libel. “Therefore, this Court finds that the statements contain the requisite ‘sting’ for an actionable defamation claim.”
White also added that Waldman's statements can not be protected as an opinion because Heard being abused by Depp is a concrete fact that can be proven with evidence one way or another. Depp had initially chosen to bring the lawsuit to Virginia because of their previous lack of anti- Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) laws, which was eventually passed sometime during the middle of their long legal battle. This was used against Depp to reject his motion for dismissal of the suit.
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Also dismissed were Depp's claims that he was acting in self-defense, with the Judge noting that he was actively trying to harm her career by doing things like rallying to remove her from projects, among others.
Deep's initial multi-million dollar lawsuit will be heard this spring, while Heard's countersuit is expected later this year.