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Johnny Depp faces off against Amber Heard’s lawyers again

Lawyers for Amber Heard showed a jury on Monday critical news articles they say damaged her ex-husband Johnny Depp’s career long before the complaint at the center of his defamation case.

Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million after accusing him of abuse before and during their roughly two-year marriage. The ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ actor maintained that Heard was the one who got violent in the relationship.

Heard, known for her roles in ‘Aquaman’ and ‘Justice League,’ has counter-sued for $100 million, claiming Depp smeared him by calling her a liar.

The case hinges on a December 2018 opinion piece in The Washington Post in which Heard said she was a survivor of domestic violence.

The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his attorney told jurors it was clear Heard was referring to him. The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2017.

In a Virginia courtroom on Monday, Heard’s attorneys presented news articles with headlines such as “Why are all Johnny Depp movies bombing at the box office?” and “Where did it all go wrong for Johnny Depp?” All were published before Heard’s article.

Depp said that as a longtime Hollywood star, he was the subject of “hit plays”.

The actor testified earlier that it was Heard who got physical during the arguments and slapped or pushed him. Heard once threw a bottle of vodka into Depp’s hand, cutting the top of his right middle finger, he said.

In a separate court case in Britain, Heard denied throwing a bottle and cutting Depp’s finger. She said she only threw objects to get away as he beat her, and that she once hit her because she feared he would push her sister down the stairs.

Depp, once among Hollywood’s biggest stars, said he never hit Heard or any woman and that Heard’s allegations cost him “everything”. A new ‘Pirates’ movie has been put on hold, and Depp has been dropped from the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film franchise, a ‘Harry Potter’ spin-off.

Heard’s lawyers argued that she had spoken the truth and that her opinion was protected by free speech under the First Amendment to the US Constitution. In opening arguments, Heard’s attorneys said Depp physically and sexually assaulted her while she was using drugs and alcohol.

A state court judge in Fairfax County, Va., is overseeing the trial, which is expected to last through the end of May.

Less than two years ago, Depp lost a libel case against The Sun, a British tabloid that called him a “wife beater”. A High Court judge in London ruled that he repeatedly assaulted Heard.

Depp’s attorneys said they filed the US case in Fairfax County, outside the nation’s capital, because The Washington Post is printed there. The newspaper is not accused.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler and Alistair Bell)

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