Hollywood celebrities

Johnny Depp libel case verdict due in November

Agence France-Presse

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The much-anticipated verdict follows 3 weeks of charged testimony between Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard, including claims of drug abuse and domestic violence

Hollywood star Johnny Depp will learn next week if he has won his blockbuster libel lawsuit against The Sun, after the British newspaper branded him a “wife beater” in 2018.

Judge Andrew Nicol will deliver his much-anticipated verdict at 1000 GMT on Monday, November 2 following 3 weeks of charged testimony at the High Court in London including claims of drug abuse and domestic violence.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor sued the tabloid’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) over claims he was violent to ex-wife Amber Heard during their volatile two-year marriage.

Branded “the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century,” the 16 days of proceedings in July exposed the former Hollywood couple’s troubled relationship in painful detail.

Sordid stories, including one involving feces in the couple’s bed and another in which he scrawled messages on a wall with the bloodied stump of his severed finger while high on drugs, were aired in the Royal Courts of Justice.

Depp vehemently rejects accusations he hurt Heard while battling a drug addiction over a 3-year span that ended with her 2016 decision to get a restraining order and file for divorce.

The 57-year-old actor faced days of withering cross-examination in which he admitted to only hazily remembering some events because he was consuming copious amounts of drugs.

Meanwhile Heard, who also took the stand, was portrayed by Depp and his legal team as a manic depressive who was making up the allegations for money and personal fame.

NGN argued they had a valid basis for their 2018 claim by detailing 14 alleged instances of Depp abusing Heard.

But legal commentators have said the odds appear to be stacked against them, with England’s ancient defamation law – one of the strictest in the Western world – putting the burden of proof on the media.

Nicol’s judgment will be delivered remotely and it is not known whether Depp or Heard will attend court again. – Rappler.com

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