The Hollywood Reporter writes today that Johnny Depp has been blocked by Virginia Judge Bruce White from leveraging a new law he’s partially responsible for. On Monday, White rejected the fading former A-lister’s bid for immunity over statements made about Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard. As a result, Depp will face counterclaims his attorney told media outlets that Heard’s tale of domestic abuse was a “hoax” when the case moves to trial later this year.
The Aquaman actress alleges Depp abused here throughout their troubled marriage and after Depp attorney Adam Waldman told media outlets that it was “fake” and all part of a “sexual violence hoax,” Heard has included defamation claims in a countersuit against her ex.
“White concludes that the ‘hoax’ statements imply Ms. Heard lied and perjured herself when she appeared before a court in 2016 to obtain a temporary restraining order against Mr. Depp,” THR reports. “Moreover, they imply she has lied about being a victim of domestic violence. In light of the #MeToo Movement and today’s social climate, falsely claiming abuse would surely ‘injure [Ms. Heard’s] reputation in the common estimation of mankind.'”
White adds that Waldman’s statement is not protected opinion because “whether Mr. Depp abused Ms. Heard is a fact that is capable of being proven true or false.”
To the argument that the statement is nonetheless privileged as a “fair and accurate account” of a legal proceeding, the judge finds otherwise. “Although much of what Mr. Depp states is also contained in his Complaint, the statements do not appear to have been made in the context of attempting to recount litigation,” writes White. “Instead, Mr. Depp makes factual assertions that do not fairly and accurately summarize the litigation that has taken place.”