A Virginia judge has allowed Johnny Depp permission to pursue a second libel trial to establish that he did not physically abuse his ex-wife Amber Heard.

The decision follows Heard's request that her ex-lawsuit husband be dismissed after losing a libel case in the United Kingdom against The Sun for publishing an article labelling him a "wife-beater."

People said Johnny Depp sued Heard for writing about suffering domestic violence in a December 2018 Washington Post column. She added, "I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I suffered the full weight of our culture's hatred for women who speak up."

Even though the actress did not name Depp in the op-ed, she did accuse him of domestic abuse during their 2016 breakup, which he adamantly denied.

The Hollywood Reporter said Depp lost his case against British tabloid The Sun in November 2020, after the judge affirmed the tabloid's assertions as "basically factual." Depp was left in the position of arguing that he did not obtain everything he wanted in the country, which has long been known for libel tourism, after the verdict, which he was unable to overturn on appeal.

Heard, on the other hand, argued that the Virginia court should recognize the U.K. ruling because both actions were centered on allegations that Depp was an abuser. The Virginia case should have gone to trial first, but due to delays, Depp's lawsuit in the United Kingdom took precedence.

Fairfax County Chief Judge Penney Azcarate denied Heard's motion on Tuesday due to a lack of privity. While the actress's interests were matched with those of the British newspaper in question, the judge determined that they were not identical.

The Sun's interests were predicated on whether the statements it published were untrue, according to court filings written by Azcarate.

“Heard’s interests relate to whether the statements she published were false,” read the document.

Heard was not a party in the U.K. lawsuit, therefore he was not subject to the same discovery restrictions, according to the judge.

“In fact, Defendant could not have been a named defendant to the U.K. litigation because her allegedly defamatory statements were made after the U.K. action commenced,” explained Azcarate.

Johnny Depp
Depp lost a libel case when he sued the British tabloid "The Sun" in November. It comes after the masthead published a story with the headline tagging him a "wife-beater," something a judge found to be true in a ruling against him.  Miquel Benitez/Getty Images

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