Johnny Depp libel trial set to start in London

Source: AFP Published: 2020/7/7 19:18:40

File photo: Johnny Depp


A libel trial was due to begin on Tuesday between Hollywood actor Johnny Depp and a British tabloid newspaper over claims that he was violent to his former wife, Amber Heard.

Depp, 57, is suing News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of The Sun, and its executive editor Dan Wootton for an April 2018 article referring to him as a "wife beater."

The Pirates of the Caribbean star strenuously denies the accusation.

The case, which was delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak, will be heard over 15 days at the High Court in London.

The couple settled a divorce out of court in 2017. She donated a settlement of $7 million to charity.

Depp denies being abusive towards Heard, 34, and has brought separate libel proceedings against her in the US.

As well as Depp and Heard, his former partners Vanessa Paradis, the French singer, and the actress Winona Ryder are due to give evidence.

In pre-trial witness statements Paradis - his former long-time partner with whom he has two children - has described the actor as "kind" and "non-violent."

Ryder said she could not "wrap my head around" Heard's accusations that Depp was abusive.

The Sun is relying in its defense on 14 separate claims of domestic violence that Heard alleges occurred between early 2013 and May 2016.

The judge overseeing the case had previously refused an application by Depp's legal team to require Heard to disclose evidence, including a secret recording of a conversation with the actor.

The request also involved communications between Heard and "Rocketman," a contact in her phone who Depp claims is SpaceX founder Elon Musk, as well as with actor James Franco.

Depp's lawyer David Sherborne told the court last week that Heard had affairs with both Musk and Franco while she was going out with or married to his client.

The couple met on the set of the 2011 film The Rum Diary and married in February 2015.



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