The slander case against Johnny Depp against Amber Heard begins Monday

The second round of the explosive, long-running battle between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp begins Monday in Virginia court – where the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star is suing her ex-wife for $ 50 million because she claims she slandered him in an up-and-coming ed from 2018.

The star-studded witness list for the Fairfax County trial includes everyone from Elon Musk to James Franco and the warring ex-couple themselves.

At the heart of the case is the piece that Heard, 35, wrote for the Washington Post in which she spoke out about being a victim of “sexual violence.”

Although Depp is not named in the op-ed, the actor, who once earned up to $ 20 million per film, says it ruined his reputation and career after it was widely believed that Heard wrote about their five-year relationship.

Defamation cases as high-profile as this one are usually brought behind closed doors, but a jury of 12 Virginians will ultimately decide whether they find Heard’s allegations credible.

Just days after Heard’s op-ed was announced, Disney dropped Depp from its “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, which grossed more than $ 4.5 billion in the box office. And after losing his 2020 lawsuit in the UK against The Sun – due to its description of Depp as a “wife hit” – the actor withdrew from his role in the Harry Potter spin-off “Fantastic Beasts”, apparently at the instigation of Warner Bros. .

The star-studded witness list for the Fairfax County trial includes everyone from Elon Musk to James Franco and the warring ex-couple themselves.
Neil Mockford / GC Images

Unlike the case in the UK, which had fewer witnesses but where the judge ruled that Depp had physically abused Heard, the case in Virginia has a long list of witnesses and is expected to last six weeks.

The jury selection in the case starts on Monday.

Heard has claimed that Depp was always the aggressor, and any physical reaction from her was to defend herself, while the actor has accused his “sociopathic” ex-wife of being the perpetrator of the violence that marred their marriage.

On Saturday, Heard announced on Instagram that she will be away from social media while in Virginia for the trial, adding: “I have always maintained a love for Johnny and it brings me great pain to have to live out the details of our past life together in front of the world. “

Both Heard and Depp are expected to take a position – although it was not immediately clear whether Depp will participate in the trial.

Heard’s formerly loves Elon Musk, actor James Franco, “WandaVision” star Paul Bettany, actress Ellen Barkin, representatives from Disney and Warner Bros. as well as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Los Angeles Police Department are among those expected to testify. Some will likely testify at a distance.

Two LAPD officers who responded to the ex-couple’s house in May 2016 for a domestic unrest are expected to occupy the booth and will play body camera footage from the scene that day, according to insiders.

A person familiar with Heard’s case said there were likely to be “more doctors and psychiatrists, more pictures, more audio, more video and more documents showing that there was abuse” than at the UK trial.

Heard’s exhibition list of 1,530 objects includes a text exchange between Depp and Paul Bettany, in which Depp writes: “Let’s burn Amber !!! … Let’s drown her before we burn her !!! I will f — k her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead. ” The disturbing message was revealed at the British trial.

Johnny Depp
Both Amber Heard and Depp are expected to take a position – although it was not immediately clear whether Depp will participate in the trial.
Marilla Sicilia / Marilla Sicilia Archive / Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

“These are two people who had a troubled, violent childhood,” a source familiar with both Depp and Heard told The Post. “Amber had a difficult father, whom she once compared to Johnny, and Johnny’s mother was very hard on him. That may be why they both keep fighting it and not let it go. “

A spokeswoman for Heard told The Post that “the British Supreme Court has already found that Mr Depp was involved in at least 12 acts of violence against Amber in his injury case against the London Sun. Now he is seeking a different outcome in his injury case against Amber. “

Heard filed a $ 100 million counterclaim against Depp in his $ 50 million defamation lawsuit.

Amber Heard
The centerpiece of the case is the piece Heard, 35, wrote for the Washington Post in which she spoke out as a victim of “sexual violence.”
Karwai Tang / WireImage

Celebrity lawyer Claire Gill told The Hollywood Reporter that this lawsuit, which will be televised and available for public viewing, is very unique.

“It’s really rare for someone to take on this level of risk. You could say that it suggests he may be telling the truth. The perception is, ‘Why would anyone do this unless what is being said about him is untrue?’ she said. “Others would say he is desperate and has no choice but to follow up. Either way, it’s really unusual. ”

Additional reporting by Dana Kennedy

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