Act II begins in America

American actor Johnny Depp leaves the court in Fairfax on April 11, 2022 in Virginia (Samuel Corum / AFP)

After the great showdown of his private life in a London court, the American actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard meet again on Monday in court, this time in the United States, to accuse each other of defamation.

The extraordinary trial in Fairfax, a small town in the state of Virginia near Washington, began with the selection of the jury, which ended in the afternoon. The process will begin on Tuesday before Judge Penney Azcarate and could last several weeks.

In the morning, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard arrived without making a statement at the courthouse, where a small group of Depp fans had gathered with pirate flags and “Justice for Johnny” banners.

“To me, Johnny is innocent,” Carmen Maria Pagan Carlo, 49, from Pennsylvania told AFP. “I have been an abused woman and I know what it is like to be a man who abuses a woman, and Johnny is not like that.”

This second legal act after London, filmed and broadcast live, should be well attended, especially since the cast of witnesses is worthy of the great Hollywood movies: billionaire Elon Musk, actors James Franco and Paul Bettany, actress Ellen Barkin…

Johnny Depp, 58, and Amber Heard, 35, will appear in person, their witnesses rather by video link.

The lawsuit stems from a 2018 Washington Post column in which Amber Heard described herself as a “domestic violence victim” hounded by society after coming out of silence two years earlier.

protection order

The actress did not name Johnny Depp, whom she met in 2009 on the set of “Rum Express” and married in 2015. But as early as 2016 she had tried to get a protection order to keep him in line. She had dropped the charges as part of her divorce, which concluded strongly in 2017.

American actress Amber Heard leaves court in Fairfax on April 11, 2022 in Virginia.
American actress Amber Heard leaves the court in Fairfax on April 11, 2022 in Virginia (Samuel Corum / AFP)

Following the publication of this forum, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, who denies ever hitting his wife, had filed a defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard, claiming $50 million in damages.

“The column, which implicitly accuses Mr. Depp of being an abusive husband, is categorically false” and aims to “generate positive publicity” around Mrs. Heard, a few days before the premiere of the film “Aquaman”, in that she appeared, he argued.

The actress had fought back, in turn filing a defamation lawsuit to obtain 100 million dollars. “Mr. Depp’s useless complaint against Mrs. Heard continues the abuse and harassment” she inflicted on him during her marriage, she wrote.

Johnny Depp filed his complaint in the state of Virginia, where the Washington Post is printed and where the legal framework is more favorable to defamation complaints than in California, where the two actors reside.

Photos, account statements, medical examinations, text messages… Many intimate details are at risk of being leaked during the hearings and once again exposing the excesses of the hero of “Edward Scissorhands.”

“Freak”

This scenario strangely resembles the one that played out in 2020 in London. Except at the time, the Hollywood star had filed a lawsuit against the publisher of The Sun tabloid following an article that portrayed him as an abusive husband.

Fans of American actor Johnny Depp and actress Amber Heard outside the courthouse in Fairfax on April 11, 2022 in Virginia.
Fans of American actor Johnny Depp and actress Amber Heard outside the courthouse in Fairfax on April 11, 2022 in Virginia (Paul Morigi/Getty/AFP)

To demonstrate its good faith, the tabloid had called his ex-wife to the bar.

She had described a dozen attacks committed, according to her, by a husband transformed into a “monster” by his excessive use of drugs.

At the helm he admitted to having used too many drugs and alcohol, but claimed to have never raised his hand to a woman, supported in this regard by the written testimonies of his former teammates Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder.

British justice had finally ruled in favor of the tabloid, considering that “the vast majority of the alleged attacks had been proven.”

Following this setback, the American actor had to give up his role in the next film in the “Fantastic Beasts” series, an adaptation of the works of “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling.

On Saturday, Amber Heard claimed on Twitter that she “always had love for Johnny” Depp.

“It pains me so much to have to relive the details of our past lives in front of the world,” she added, saying she would stay away from social media for the next few weeks.

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