Hollywood arrives at UK High Court as Depp confronts The Sun

LONDON (AP) – Johnny Depp has a lead role in a real-life courtroom drama in London, where he is suing a tabloid newspaper for defamation for an article calling him a “female drummer”.

High court judge scheduled to start hearing Depp’s lawsuit against Sun publisher News Group Newspapers and editor-in-chief Dan Wootton regarding the 2018 story alleging that it was violent and abusive towards the woman of the time, Amber Heard. Depp firmly denies this claim.

Depp, 57, and actress model Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. They divorced in 2017, and now bitterly accuse each other of abuse.

Depp and Heard are both expected to testify at the three-week trial, one of the first to be detained in person since Britain began lifting its coronavirus lockout. Witnesses will likely include former Depp partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder, both of whom have submitted statements supporting the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star.

Depp’s claim centers on an April 2018 story in the British tabloid headline: “Potty – How can JK Rowling be” really happy “by beating his female drummer Johnny Depp in the new movie Fantastic Beasts?

Depp and The Sun have hired some of the most prestigious British lawyers, and preliminary hearings have already revealed dramatically different accounts of Heard and Depp’s tumultuous marriage.

Sun attorneys tried to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that Depp had not disclosed the text messages he had exchanged with an assistant showing that he had tried to buy “MDMA and other narcotics” while in Australia with Heard in 2015.

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Heard alleges that Depp subjected her to a “three-day physical assault test” while in the country after drinking and using drugs.

The newspaper’s lawyer, Adam Wolanski, said that the withholding of the materials violated a previous court order requiring Depp to provide all documents for a separate defamation proceeding against Heard in the United States. Depp is suing Heard for $ 50 million for defaming him in a Washington Post article on domestic violence.

Last week, judge Andrew Nicol ruled that Depp had violated the court order, but said “it would not be fair” to dismiss the actor’s request.

He also dismissed Depp’s attempt to force Heard to disclose evidence, including communications with actor James Franco and Space-X founder Elon Musk, with whom she is said to have had dealings with Depp. The judge said that the issue of Heard’s extramarital affairs was irrelevant to the central question of the case, “whether Mr. Depp had assaulted Ms. Heard”.

The judge also dismissed a last-minute attempt by Depp’s lawyers to have Heard removed from the courtroom, except when she was testifying. They argued that her testimony would be more reliable if she was not present in court when Depp was cross-examined.

Nicol said the exclusion of Heard “would hinder the defendants in the conduct of their defense”.

Source: AP News

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