The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard saga isn’t over.
On Tuesday, a Virginia judge dismissed Heard’s request to dismiss a defamation suit filed by Depp over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote, People reported.
In the op-ed, Heard wrote about being a survivor of domestic abuse. Though she did not name Depp, she had previously accused her ex-husband of domestic violence amid their split in 2016.
Heard had made the plea after Depp lost his libel suit in the U.K. against the Sun tabloid over their referring to him as a “wife beater,” arguing the determination should hold sway over the U.S. court decision.
The judge, though, said that while the two cases may be related to the same claims of abuse, the statements in the Sun and Heard’s op-ed are “inherently different.”
“[Heard] argues she was in privity with the Sun because they both had the same interest in the case,” the judge said. “However, for privity to exist, [Heard’s] interest in the case must be so identical with the Sun’s interest such that the Sun’s representation of its interest is also a representation of [Heard’s] legal right. The Sun’s interests were based on whether the statements the newspaper published were false. [Heard’s] interests relate to whether the statements she published were false.”
The judge added, “The libel laws of Virginia are starkly different than those of England. The Declaration of Independence and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution represent major departures from the English Common Law with respect to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.”
In the original 2018 op-ed, Heard wrote, “I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
Three months after the op-ed’s publication, Depp filed a $50-million defamation suit against Heard over her statements in the piece.
“Mr. Depp never abused Ms. Heard. Her allegations against him were false when they were made in 2016. They were part of an elaborate hoax to generate positive publicity for Ms. Heard and advance her career,” attorneys for Depp said in the lawsuit.
In a responding statement at the time, Heard’s representative said, “This frivolous action is just the latest of Johnny Depp’s repeated efforts to silence Amber Heard. She will not be silenced. Mr. Depp’s actions prove he is unable to accept the truth of his ongoing abusive behaviour. But while he appears hell-bent on achieving self-destruction, we will prevail in defeating this groundless lawsuit and ending the continued vile harassment of my client by Mr. Depp and his legal team.”