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Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard: Why the Defamation Trial Is Being Held in Virginia

The explosive libel lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is taking place well outside of their normal Hollywood orbit — in a court in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Mr Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife alleges she defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post titled “I spoke out against sexual violence – and faced the wrath of our culture. This must change”.

The trial is taking place in Fairfax because the online edition of The post office is published through servers in the county, allowing Mr. Depp to sue her in this area.

According to the Associated Press, lawyers for Ms Heard tried to move the trial to California, but lawyers for Mr Depp said one of the reasons they decided to sue in Virginia was anti-SLAPP legislation of the state, which is not as extensive as in California.

SLAPP stands for strategic lawsuits against public participation. “Anti-SLAPP laws are intended to provide a remedy for SLAPP suits. Anti-SLAPP laws are intended to prevent people from using the courts and potential threats of lawsuits to intimidate people who exercise their First Amendment rights,” according to the Committee of Reporters.

In her 2018 op-ed, Ms Heard wrote in part that “like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted when I was of college age. But I kept the silence – I didn’t expect the filing of complaints to do justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim”.

“Then two years ago I became a public figure representing domestic violence, and I felt the full force of our culture’s anger for women speaking out,” she added to the time.

Although Mr. Depp is not named in the article, his legal team says it contains a “clear implication that Mr. Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and patently untrue”. Mr Depp is seeking damages of “no less than $50 million”.

Ms. Heard has filed a $100 million counterclaim against Mr. Depp for nuisance and immunity from his claims.


The Independent Gt

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