Johnny Depp to face more questions from ex-wife’s lawyers in defamation case


April 25 (Reuters) – Hollywood star Johnny Depp returns to the witness stand on Monday to answer additional questions from attorneys for ex-wife Amber Heard in front of a jury that will decide the actors’ dueling defamation claims.

Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million after she accused him of abuse before and during their roughly two-year marriage. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor has argued that Heard was the one who became violent in the relationship.

Heard, known for roles in “Aquaman” and “Justice League,” has counter-sued for $100 million, saying Depp smeared her by calling her a liar.

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Last week, Heard’s attorneys presented emails and text messages that Depp had sent to Heard, friends, family and associates that were often filled with expletives and vulgar descriptions.

Writing to actor Paul Bettany in 2013, Depp said: “Let’s drown her before we burn her” and “I will fuck her burnt corpse afterward to make sure she is dead.”

Depp said he was “not proud of any of the language he used in anger.”

The actor testified earlier that it was Heard who got physical during arguments and would slap or shove him. Heard once threw a vodka bottle at Depp’s hand, cutting off the top of his right middle finger, he said. read more

In a separate legal case in Britain, Heard denied throwing a bottle and severing Depp’s finger. She said she threw things only to escape when he was beating her, and once punched him because she feared he would push her sister down the stairs.

Depp said he never struck Heard or any woman. He has accused Heard of defaming him when she penned a December 2018 opinion piece in the Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic abuse.

The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyer told jurors it was clear Heard was referencing him. The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2017. read more

Depp, once among the biggest stars in Hollywood, said Heard’s allegations cost him “everything.” A new “Pirates” movie was put on hold, and Depp was dropped from the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise, a “Harry Potter” spinoff.

Heard’s attorneys have argued that she told the truth and that her opinion was protected free speech under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. In opening arguments, Heard’s attorneys said Depp physically and sexually assaulted her while abusing drugs and alcohol.

A state court judge in Fairfax County, Virginia, is overseeing the trial, which is expected to last until late May.

Less than two years ago, 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.

Depp’s lawyers have said they filed the U.S. case in Fairfax County, outside the nation’s capital, because the Washington Post is printed there. The newspaper is not a defendant.

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Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler

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