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Johnny Depp, Amber Heard libel lawsuit on abuse op-ed begins

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard libel lawsuit on abuse op-ed begins

Depp is accusing his ex-wife of falsely portraying him as a home abuser.

FAIRFAX, Va. — A jury was chosen Monday to listen to a long-anticipated libel lawsuit Johnny Depp filed in opposition to his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, whom he accuses of falsely portraying him as a home abuser.

Depp sued Heard over an op-ed piece she wrote in The Washington Put up in 2018 through which Heard refers to herself as a “public determine representing home abuse.” The article does not point out Depp by title, however he says it clearly refers to allegations Heard made in different boards that she suffered bodily abuse at his palms. Depp denies the accusations.

The lawsuit introduced a bit little bit of Hollywood to a courthouse that has a protracted historical past of coping with high-profile crimes, simply not these involving film stars.

Greater than a dozen ladies, some waving indicators saying “Justice for Johnny,” joined different followers who waved pirate flags in recognition of Depp’s signature function within the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, waited exterior the courthouse an hour earlier than the listening to.

The courtroom within the metropolis of Fairfax was closed to the general public Monday, with restricted closed-circuit entry in an overflow courtroom. Individuals lined up earlier than 7 a.m. for the wristbands granting entry. Each Depp and Heard had been in attendance, however court docket personnel introduced them out and in using particular entry factors that annoyed followers’ means to see them.

The decide overseeing the trial, Penney Azcarate, has imposed a collection of entry guidelines to attempt to keep decorum within the courthouse. Most importantly, neither Depp nor Heard are permitted to pose for photographs or signal autographs within the courthouse or on the courthouse grounds.

Depp’s followers have been vocal of their assist, saying he has been falsely accused. Raylyn Otie, a Depp fan from Bluefield, Virginia, drove 5 hours to see the film star. She was upset when Depp didn’t greet followers personally, as sheriff’s deputies fastidiously restricted fan entry.

“I am so upset. I got here to offer him flowers to point out some assist,” she mentioned, bouquet in hand.

In a separate lawsuit Depp filed in opposition to a British newspaper, a decide dismissed the case, discovering that Depp assaulted Heard on a dozen events and put her in concern for her life on a number of events.

Heard has filed a countersuit in opposition to Depp that accuses his attorneys of defaming her at his route.

Heard’s attorneys tried unsuccessfully to have the case moved to California, the place the actors reside. A Fairfax decide dominated that Depp was inside his rights to deliver the case right here as a result of the Put up’s on-line editions are printed by means of servers situated in Fairfax County. Depp’s attorneys have mentioned they introduced the case in Virginia partially as a result of the legal guidelines listed below are extra favorable to their case.

A jury of seven, plus 4 alternates, was chosen by Monday afternoon. The smaller jury is typical for civil trials in Virginia.

Opening statements are scheduled for Tuesday morning. The trial is predicted to final greater than a month. A protracted checklist of witnesses consists of actors James Franco and Paul Bettany, and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk. Some witnesses are anticipated to look in individual, whereas others will testify through video hyperlink.

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