Judge Denies Johnny Depp’s Motion to Dismiss Amber Heard’s $100 Million Defamation Countersuit
The judge overseeing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's ongoing legal battle denied a motion to dismiss the Aquaman actress' countersuit.
The world has been following the former couple's legal battle closely as it plays out in the courtroom and the media. Depp sued Heard for $50 million and claimed that he was defamed by a 2018 op-ed she wrote about her experiences with an unnamed abusive partner.
Although he was not named, Depp alleged that the article hurt his career and lost him roles in the likes of the Pirates of the Caribbean and Fantastic Beasts franchises. During the legal battle, a petition calling for Depp to be reinstated to the former picked up steam online.
People notes Heard responded to Depp's lawsuit with a $100 million countersuit of her own. The actress alleged that her career was damaged by a series of comments that have been attributed to one of Depp's attorneys, Adam Waldman.
Heard testified in court that her role in the upcoming Aquaman sequel was reduced. An active campaign to remove her from the project overall gained further momentum in recent weeks. Her claims have also been called into question on social media with Milani Cosmetics even filming a TikTok in response to her.
Depp's legal team attempted to have Heard's countersuit dismissed on the alleged grounds that he was not involved in the comments, according to People.
Meanwhile, Heard's team disagreed and argued to uphold the case.
"The evidence shows that not only was Mr. Waldman Mr. Depp's agent, but that the two of them conspired to falsely accuse Amber of creating a hoax and falsify evidence that they believe supported their theory and what they wanted to achieve," her lawyer Ben Rottenborn said.
Judge Penney Azcarate ultimately sided with Heard's team.
"The jury may infer Mr. Waldman made these specific statements to a third party to service plaintiff [Depp] by portraying defendant [Heard] as an opposing litigant in a negative light," she said. Azcarate previously denied a motion from Heard's team to have Depp's case dismissed.
While the comments in question from Heard's countersuit have been attributed to Depp's attorney, private text messages appear to imply that Depp at one point wanted to retaliate against his ex by humiliating her in the public. The messages were revealed during the actor's prior lawsuit against The Sun, which he lost in 2020.
"She is begging for global humiliation. She is going to get it," Depp texted a friend in 2016, according to the Irish Examiner. People notes Heard has testified that Depp "promised to take" her name and integrity from her.