Johnny Depp may have succeeded earlier this month in getting the trial for his $50 million defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard pushed back to May next year, but the Fantastic Beasts star might not be so wily when it comes to ducking a deposition in the heated case.
Having already launched a $100 million counterclaim against her ex-husband this summer, Heard is now asking a Virginia judge to force Depp to finally sit down for an elongated examination by her attorneys. Yet, as past lawsuits have taught us, Johnny Depp has never been so good with deposition dates or other deadlines, if you know what I mean?
“Defendant is forced to bring this motion after extensive efforts to obtain the deposition of Plaintiff, even after providing a two-month Notice of Deposition, asking for locations and dates for Mr. Depp prior to his filming, seeking discovery to ascertain Mr. Depp’s exact filming schedule, and finally being told that the Plaintiff in this action, suing Defendant for $50 million, will not make himself available for deposition until the filming of Fantastic Beasts is complete, sometime late February 2021, or possibly later,” declares the blunt and attachments rich memorandum in support of Heard’s motion (READ IT HERE).
“Mr. Depp relies upon the letter from a Warner Bros. Associate counsel claiming Mr. Depp is needed from September 17 through the completion of filming, to remain in the UK,” the September 23 filing continues. “Meanwhile, disproving the veracity of the letter, Mr. Depp is traveling around Europe and attending film festivals, each of which includes quarantine periods,” it adds.
“Yet Mr. Depp is refusing to return to the US, where there is no quarantine requirement for his deposition.”
Once again Heard is trying to get the nearly over a year and a half case dismissed.
Failing that, the Aquaman star and her lawyers at Charlson Bredehoft Cohen & Brown, P.C. want the court to order Depp to show up “for three successive days in counsel for Defendant’s offices in Virginia on or before October 30, 2020 on dates and times agreeable to counsel for Defendant.”
A hearing has been set for October 9 before Fairfax County VA Circuit Court Chief Judge Bruce White on the matter, with another hearing on sanctions against Depp’s main lawyer Adam Waldman scheduled for October 23.
Reps for Depp did not respond to request for comment on Heard’s latest motions.
On September 11, Judge White for the third time shifted the start of the high profile trial. The move this time from January to May 11 wasn’t because of Depp’s supposed Fantastic Beasts 3 filming schedule in Britain, as the star had previously requested, but because of COVID-19 delays and backlogs in the Commonwealth’s court system. In an opposition filed on September 4, Heard told the court that granting Depp’s request for continuance could actually conflict with the filming schedule on her own Warner Bros tentpole sequel Aguaman 2.
Still the Judge made the move, for his own reasons.
For those of you who have been following this spectacle, it all started when the litigious Depp went after Heard in early 2019 for an op-end his one-time Rum Diary co-star wrote about domestic violence for the Washington Post in December 2018 . A piece that, while Depp contends cost him a role in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean reboot, never actually mentions him by name.
Depp and Heard’s short and much profiled marriage came to an end in 2016 with a temporary restraining order slapped against the Oscar nominated actor amid domestic violence claims. The relationship was officially over with a $7 million divorce settlement, most of which Heard ultimately donated to charity – though Depp has frequently contested if she actually did make the donations.
This latest twist in the case over Depp’s deposition, comes as the actor Heard and their respective attorneys wait for the verdict in the Pirate star’s UK libel battle against Rupert Murdoch-owned The Sun. Heralded as the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century, the 16-day trial against the tabloid over stories about “wife beater” Depp allegedly abusing Heard ended in late July.
The High Court’s Judge Justice Nicol was expected to make public his verdict in September, so he still has one day left on that one. Otherwise, October looks more likely now.