Johnny Depp is a female drummer, ruled by the High Court in London today.
The astonishing verdict, which went against all expectations, is subject to appeal by Depp.
Depp was suing News Group Newspapers (NGN), the publishers of England Sun newspaper, for libel over a 2018 article that said the 57-year-old man attacked his ex-wife, Amber Heard, 34, during their relationship.
During the trial, Depp denied ever having been violent towards his ex-wife and claimed that she had been abusive of him during their relationship, including accusing him of putting a cigarette in his face and throwing him a bottle of vodka.
However, NGN’s lawyers based their defense on 14 specific allegations of abuse committed by Heard between 2013 and 2016, and Heard was their star witness.
The case saw alleged salacious and intimate details of Depp and Heard’s private life revealed in open court.
Among the extraordinary allegations were allegations that Heard defecated in the marital bed as a “prank” on her husband, which led him to nickname her “Amber Turd”.
The court heard the actor refer to his wife as “mean, mean and vindictive” who was “desperate for success and fame” in a series of scathing texts.
In a text he wrote: “I can’t live like this… She’s as full of shit as a Christmas goose !!! I’m finished. NO MORE…!!!”
Depp messaged British actor Paul Bettany, describing Heard as a witch, saying he would “fuck his burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead”. Depp’s lawyers argued that the messages should not be taken seriously “as dark and extravagant as the language is”.
the Sun said Depp’s claim that Heard was abusive towards him could not be true as the actress weighs only eight stones (around 112 pounds) and “did not have the physical ability” to attack the actor , whom she described as a “hopeless drug addict.”
the Sun claimed that Depp’s jealousy, addiction and misogyny led to “violent outbursts” which were followed by “embarrassment” and “apologies.”
The court heard details of a fight in Australia in 2015 in which Depp’s finger was severed and he used the stump to jot down messages in his own blood. The court also heard that during the couple’s honeymoon aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express in Malaysia in August 2015, Heard wrote in her diary “a graphic description of Depp trying to strangle her with his own shirt”.
A spokesperson for the Sun say it Sun has stood up and campaigned for victims of domestic violence for over 20 years. “Victims of domestic violence should never be silenced and we thank the judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in testifying in court.”
In his decision, the judge, Justice Nicol, said: “The plaintiff [Depp] did not succeed in his libel action… The defendants [the Sun and News Group Newspapers] showed that what they published in the sense I wanted to say was essentially true.
“I have come to these conclusions after examining in detail the 14 incidents upon which the defendants rely as well as the overriding considerations which the plaintiff has argued that I should take into account. In these circumstances, Parliament declared that an accused had a full defense. “
The long-awaited ruling was posted online at 10 a.m. on Monday, more than three months after the High Court hearing ended in late July.
The case was arguably the largest English libel lawsuit of the 21st century and garnered global attention as it unfolded over three weeks in July at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
Spending 20 hours in the witness stand for five days, Depp was faced with intense questions about his Hollywood lifestyle, his use of drinks and drugs, allegations of violence and his friendships and associations.
Depp admitted to consuming prodigious drinks and drugs during the affair. He admitted spending $ 30,000 on red wine every month and said he consumed large amounts of cocaine, which he said only “brought it to a normal level”. Depp lost $ 650 million which he earned at the height of his Pirates of the Caribbean fame and owed $ 100 million in taxes. Heard has been accused of having an affair with billionaire Tesla Elon Musk, which she has denied. Depp allegedly threatened to cut Musk’s penis.
Sasha Wass, a lawyer for NGN, told the court that there was “no doubt that Mr. Depp routinely and systematically abused his wife,” adding, “The qualification of a female drummer is entirely true.”
Depp is likely to cover most of the Sun legal fees, plus his.
Depp will now have to decide whether or not to pursue a separate claim against Heard in the United States, suing her for $ 50million (£ 38.7million) on a column she wrote.
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