After months of slipping out of having to actually sit down for the $50 million defamation lawsuit that he launched against Amber Heard, Johnny Depp may have run out of moves.
“Plaintiff John C. Depp, II shall …appear for three successive days in counsel for Defendant’s offices in Virginia …or at such other place in Northern Virginia designated by counsel for Defendant, from November 10-12, 2020, beginning at 10:00 a.m. each day,” declares an order yesterday from Fairfax County VA Circuit Court Chief Judge Bruce White (READ IT HERE).
No word yet from the Depp camp if the Fantastic Beasts star plans to fight this order, yet. However, if the Oscar nominee does show up, it looks like it will involve him having to skip out of some of the UK filming of the latest sequel in the WB franchise from J.K Rowling.
It was the coronavirus delayed start of shooting on the David Yates-directed Fantastic Beasts 3 that was why Depp sought in August to have the commencement of the trial in the contentious
matter pushed back to mid-2021 and why he has been supposedly unable to sit with Heard’s lawyers previously. Though the actor has been conducting a mini-grand tour of European film festivals the last month or so, WB SVP for Corporate Legal Wayne M. Smith wrote in a September 8 letter that “we require Mr. Depp to be in the United Kingdom from September 17 through the anticipated end of production in mid-February, 2021.”
Citing the backlogs COVID-19 has caused in the courts, Judge White on September 11 shoved the previously much delayed trial from its anticipated January 2021 start to May 3 next year. Under that timeline, Depp’s deposition desired dates would have taken place mere weeks before the trial began – a state of affairs that Heard’s attorneys claim gave them little time.
Late last month, the Charlson Bredehoft Cohen & Brown, P.C. lawyers and Aquaman star Heard filed paperwork to have Depp face their questions “on or before October 30, 2020 on dates and times agreeable to counsel for Defendant.” Having launched a $100 million counterclaim this summer, Heard was also unsuccessfully trying yet again to get the case initiated by her ex-husband tossed out.
There was a hearing in Fairfax County on the matter on October 9.
Following that, clearly Judge White, who also ordered Depp pay his ex-wife just under $7000 in some administrative fees and hand over long sought documents, split the difference on the deposition.
For those of you who haven’t been following with bated breath, this all started when the litigious and much sued Depp went after Heard in early 2019 for an op-end Heard wrote about domestic violence for the Washington Post in December 2018 . A piece that, while Depp believes cost him a role in Disney’s Pirates reboot, never actually mentions him by name.
The Rum Diary co-stars’ short and media spotlighted marriage came to an end in 2016 with a temporary restraining order slapped against Depp amid domestic violence claims. The relationship was officially over with a $7 million divorce settlement, most of which Heard ultimately donated to charity – though Depp contests if she actually did make the donations she claims
This new delay in the Virginia case comes as Depp, Heard and all their attorneys wait for the long anticipated verdict in Public Enemies star’s UK libel battle against Rupert Murdoch-owned The Sun. Touted as the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century, the 16-day trial against the tabloid over stories about “wife beater” Depp allegedly abusing Heard ended in late July.
The High Court’s Judge Justice Nicol was expected to make public his verdict by last month – yet the clock keeps ticking.
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