Fairfax (USA) (AFP) – A jury election began Monday in a blockbuster defamation suit against a Hollywood star over alleged marital abuse. Johnny Depp And his ex-wife, the actress Amber Hard.
Depp, 58, has filed a lawsuit against Hard, 35, in the United States after losing a high-profile defamation suit in London.
Nearly a dozen Depp fans with small black pirate flags – agreeing to his role in “Pirates of the Caribbean” – gathered outside Fairfax County Courthouse as the jury election began.
One had a sign reading “Justice for Johnny.” Depp, who married Hard from 2015 to 2017, came to court through the back door.
The jury election, which is expected to last one day, is not being televised, but the judge hearing the case said it would be broadcast live with arguments starting Tuesday.
Depp and Hard are both expected to testify with actors James Franco and Paul Betany and billionaire Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk.
The case centered on a column written by Hard and was printed in The Washington Post in December 2018 where he described himself as a “public figure representing domestic violence” who was shocked online after his assault claim.
The headline of the column was: “I have spoken out against sexual violence – and faced the wrath of our culture. That needs to change. “
The actress never named Depp, whom she met on the set of the 2011 film “The Ram Diary”, but she filed a defamation suit against him for being an abuser and seeking $ 50 million in damages.
“The op-ed clearly implies that Mr. Depp is a domestic oppressor and is clearly false. Mr. Depp never abused Miss Hard,” the complaint said.
Depp accuses Heard of wanting to “create positive publicity for himself” before the release of the movie “Aquaman”, where he had a cast.
Herd countered for 100 100 million, saying he had suffered “a lot of physical violence and abuse” at his hands.
“The petty lawsuit that Mr. Depp filed against Miss Hard continues to be abusive and harassing,” she countered.
Depp has filed his lawsuit in Virginia since the post was published there, but he is not suing the newspaper himself.
Virginia also has defamation laws that are more favorable to plaintiffs than to California, where two actors live.
The trial is expected to last several weeks, with Judge Penny Azcaret presiding.
Depp and Hard are expected to testify in person, while some witnesses can be heard via video link.
More details about the personal lives of the two actors are expected to come out.
Beginning in 2016, Heard sought a restraining order against Depp amid allegations of abuse. Their divorce was finalized in 2017.
Depp lost the case in London, which he brought against The Sun for identifying her as “Wife Beater”. His appeal was rejected in March last year.
The trial details the couple’s troubled relationship, including Depp’s battle with drugs and alcohol.
Hard testified that he loved Shant Depp – but after a few days of resting on strong prescriptions and other drugs, he became a “monster”.
Depp’s career has suffered as a result of that lawsuit.
He left the role of Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.
Depp added that he was asked to withdraw from the “Fantastic Beasts” series based on a book by Harry Potter author JK Rowling. He was replaced by Mads Mickelsen.
In time, the next movie in the series opens in theaters on April 15.