The latest chapter in Hollywood star Johnny Depp’s legal battle with ex-wife Amber Heard kicked off near Washington on Monday (April 11) as a defamation trial began over allegations Heard made about domestic abuse.
Depp has sued Heard for $50 million, saying she defamed him when she penned a 2018 opinion piece in the Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic abuse.
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Juror selection is expected to begin Monday in the case.
The op-ed never mentioned Depp by name, but Depp’s lawyers have said it was clear Heard was referencing him, and that the piece damaged his film career and reputation.
Depp has denied all allegations of abuse, saying in his lawsuit that Heard’s claims were an “elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms. Heard and advance her career.”
The U.S. trial comes less than two years after Depp lost a libel case against The Sun, a British tabloid that labeled him a “wife beater.” A London High Court judge ruled he had repeatedly assaulted Heard and put her in fear for her life.
The United States is a difficult forum for libel plaintiffs, especially public figures like Depp, who faces several hurdles in the Virginia case. Depp must prove by clear and convincing evidence that Heard knowingly made false claims.
(Camera: Kevin Fogarty, Gershon Peaks, Liliana Salgado Production: Arlene Eiras)