Johnny Depp ‘requests delay’ to US defamation trial against Amber Heard

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The US case is over an article written by Amber Heard in 2018 and is separate to ongoing proceedings against The Sun in the UK.

Johnny Depp has reportedly asked for a US defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard to be delayed due to filming commitments.

The Hollywood star is suing Heard for an article she wrote in The Washington Post, in separate proceedings to the ongoing case against the publishers of The Sun in the UK.

As filming on the next film in the Fantastic Beasts franchise – in which he stars as dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald – has been pushed back to early 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, it now overlaps with the dates set for the US trial, according to an article in the Hollywood Reporter.

                              Johnny Depp 'requests delay' to US defamation trial against Amber Heard

                              Johnny Depp 'requests delay' to US defamation trial against Amber Heard

Depp filed for continuance in August, asking the court to delay the trial until between March and June 2021, the report says.

The US case is over an article written by Heard that was published in December 2018, which had the headline “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”, but did not mention her ex-husband’s name.

In the opinion piece, Heard said she wanted to “ensure that women who come forward to talk about violence receive more support”.

Despite not being mentioned by name, Depp is able to file a claim because in Virginia – where the Washington Post is printed – claims can be pursued for defamation by inference, implication or insinuation.

“When the court set the current trial date in this case, Mr Depp understood that Warner Bros planned to shoot Fantastic Beasts 3 in London long before 11 January 2021,” the actor’s filing states, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

“COVID-19 disrupted the studio’s plans, causing repeated postponements. With conditions in London having improved somewhat, Warner Bros has now set a shooting schedule that conflicts with the trial date in this case.”

                              Johnny Depp 'requests delay' to US defamation trial against Amber Heard

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: Who said what in UK trial?

Depp says he was notified on 19 August that he would be required for filming between early October and mid-February, which clashes with proposed trial dates of 11-28 January.

In the UK, evidence in his case against NGN, the publishers of The Sun, finished at the end of July following a three-week hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice.

That case is over an article published in The Sun in 2018 that referred to the film star as a “wife beater”, and the judge’s ruling is expected to come later this year.


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