Depp is suing Dan Wootton, the executive editor of The Sun, and the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, for defamation over an article in April 2018 that referred to him as a “wife-beater.”
The remark was a reference to a string of allegations made by Depp’s former wife, Amber Heard — allegations that the Pirates Of The Caribbean star strenuously denies. Heard’s claims are subject to messy legal proceedings in the U.S.
At a remote High Court hearing in the UK on Wednesday, Depp’s lawyers attempted to admit witness statements from Ryder and Paradis, according to Press Association. News Group Newspapers did not oppose the application.
Paradis, the French model and actress who has two children with Depp, said in her statement: “I have known Johnny for more than 25 years. We’ve been partners for 14 years and we raised our two children together. Through all these years I’ve known Johnny to be a kind, attentive, generous, and non-violent person and father.”
Stranger Things star Ryder supported this sentiment when reflecting on her relationship with Depp in the 1990s. She said: “I cannot wrap my head around [Heard’s] accusations. He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me.”
Depp’s libel action was due to go to court in March but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. The case will now be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice over three weeks from July 7. Depp’s barrister David Sherborne said the actor intends to travel to London from his home in France to give evidence, Press Association reports.
In a statement, Depp’s attorney said: “Yesterday’s pre-trial review was largely a hearing of The Sun’s attempts to first publicly smear, and then seek to exclude the testimony of multiple witnesses against their friend Amber Heard. One witness who will not be heard from is Dan Wootton, the co-defendant who wrote the Sun article about Johnny Depp and JK Rowling, but refuses to testify as to its truth.”
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