Johnny Depp’s Libel Case Against British Tabloid Hampered by Coronavirus Crisis
The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ actor is suing The Sun’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, and its publisher News Group Newspapers over a 2018 article which referred to him as a ‘wife-beater’.
- Mar 21, 2020
AceShowbiz – Johnny Depp‘s libel case against British tabloid The Sun over allegations he was violent towards his ex-wife Amber Heard has been adjourned due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The trial was due to begin on Monday (March 23), but British High Court judge Andrew Nicol adjourned proceedings until a later date after Depp’s lawyers claimed he will be unable to attend as he is in lockdown in France.
According to The Guardian, at a hearing on Friday, Nicol said: “I have reached the reluctant conclusion that the trial does have to be adjourned.”
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, 56, is suing The Sun’s executive editor, Dan Wootton and its publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) over a 2018 article which referred to him as a “wife-beater”.
Depp’s lawyer, Jennifer Afia, said her client was “extremely keen” for the trial to go ahead so he can “vindicate his reputation” but that the spread of Covid-19 meant it was not “responsible” to continue. She said that he was unable to travel from France and could not give evidence via videolink due to the remote location of his home.
Opposing adjournment, NGN’s attorney, Adam Wolanski claimed Depp wanted the trial to be delayed, “not because of the coronavirus” but because it would expose him as telling “lies” about his relationship, branding the star a “coward”. He said Heard, who is to give evidence for the defence, had managed to book a flight to London from California despite the coronavirus crisis and was, “prepared to move heaven and earth to make this trial happen and to come and give evidence”.
The couple married in February 2015, but separated in May the following year, when the “Aquaman” actress obtained a restraining order and accused him of spousal abuse, allegations which he denied and were withdrawn after they settled their divorce in 2017. Heard donated her $7 million (£5.5 million) settlement to domestic abuse charities.
Depp has brought separate libel proceedings against her in the U.S., demanding $50 million (£42 million) in damages over a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post he claims suggested he was an abuser.
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