Amber Heard's drinking will be used against her in Johnny Depp's libel case, rules judge

The two-week trial in the case was originally due to start in London on March 23, but it was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic


                            Amber Heard's drinking will be used against her in Johnny Depp's libel case, rules judge
(Getty Images)

Amber Heard's history of drinking and her efforts to falsify documents in order to smuggle her dogs into Australia will be used as evidence against her in Johnny Depp's lawsuit against the Sun. Depp filed a libel claim against News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, after it published a 2018 article in The Sun, under the headline: 'Gone Potty - How can JK Rowling be "genuinely happy" casting wife-beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?'

The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' actor took issue with the term "wife-beater" which insinuated that he physically abused Heard during their short-lived marriage - something he vehemently continues to deny. 

In a hearing last week, a high court judge granted the full testimonies of some of the witnesses requested by Depp's lawyers. They include the actor's former partners, Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder. On the other hand, only partial testimony of Heard's former personal assistant Kate James will be allowed. The judge said that James will be testifying on her impression of Depp, Heard's habit of consuming red wine and her alteration of vaccination certificates of the former couple's pet dogs, Daily Mail reported. 

James has claimed that the 'Aquaman' actress asked her to help draft a letter to Homeland Security in 2014, which would verify that one of her employees was nothing more than a friend which would get the worker out of trouble since she did not have permit to work in the US. The judge also made it clear that James' testimony pertaining to Heard's alleged drug abuse, revamping of the actress' home and her fashion will not be admitted during the trial  because they were "irrelevant."

Actors Amber Heard (L) and Johnny Depp attend "The Danish Girl" premiere during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at the Princess of Wales Theatre on September 12, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Getty Images)

Also, it's yet to be determined by the judge if James' testimony relating to what was referred to as the "Australia dogs episode" in court will be allowed to stand. The testimony in question is about a 2014 incident where Depp and Heard were accused of taking their Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo into Australia illegally. After Heard pleaded guilty to falsifying an immigration document to conceal the pets in a private jet, she managed to avoid jailtime Down Under by agreeing to record a video along with Depp warning others against breaking Australia's strict quarantine laws. James claimed that Heard had asked her to lie about the incident when she was working for her. 

The judge's ruling elicited different reactions from the lawyers representing the two sides.

Depp's lawyer said: "The Sun attempted to exclude the truth. But in a case about Amber Heard's lies and frauds to get what she wants, we are delighted that we will be able to show Amber Heard's history of lies and frauds to get what she wants. Ms. Heard's own assistant has testified that Heard lied under oath to a foreign court, defrauded Homeland Security, and she has attempted to suborn the perjury of third parties. It is deja vu all over again in Depp vs The Sun." 

On the other hand, a spokesman for Heard said: "As the judgment today shows, Depp's team has been attempting to introduce irrelevant evidence. This is one of the defining characteristics of their strategy – to adduce irrelevant evidence designed to smear Ms Heard and distract from the facts so that people do not focus on Mr Depp's behavior."

The two-week trial in the case was originally due to start in London on March 23, but it was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, it is rescheduled to take place at the Royal Courts of Justice over three weeks from July 7. Depp has brought separate libel proceedings against Heard in the US, and whose proceedings are ongoing.  

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