Update: On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Holly Fujie ordered the trial postponed. A new trial date was set for May 11, 2020.
Johnny Depp is expected to appear in a Los Angeles courtroom next week for a trial on a lawsuit alleging that he punched a location manager during the 2017 shoot for “City of Lies.”
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Gregg “Rocky” Brooks alleges that Depp hit him twice in the side after Brooks advised him that the production would have to stop filming for the day. Brooks also alleges that Depp screamed at him, used obscenities, and offered to pay Brooks $100,000 to punch him back.
Brooks says he was fired after he refused to sign an agreement not to sue the production. His attorney, Pat Harris, said Brooks tried to downplay the incident subsequently, fearing that exacerbating the situation would harm him professionally. Nevertheless, Harris said word got around in the location manager community, and Brooks found himself struggling to get work.
“We obviously recognize that in the hierarchy of Hollywood, Johnny Depp is on top and the location managers are somewhere mid-level or toward the bottom,” Harris told Variety. “In any confrontation between the two of them, no matter who started it, no matter who’s responsible, Johnny Depp is going to come out on top and our guy is going to come out damaged.”
Depp is expected to testify that he did not hit Brooks, but rather confronted him verbally after he saw Brooks acting belligerently toward a woman on set. Depp’s attorneys have also argued in pre-trial briefs that there is no evidence suggesting that Depp had any hand in preventing Brooks from getting work.
Harris alleges that Depp is lying, and that Brooks never berated anyone on set.
Following the incident, the two men “hugged it out” and took a photo together, according to Brooks’ deposition testimony.
Harris argues that Depp has long cultivated the image of a “Hollywood bad boy,” and should have foreseen that the altercation might harm Brooks’ career.
Depp is also involved in litigation with two of his former law firms, as well as his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, whom he accuses of defaming him in a Washington Post editorial about domestic violence. Harris said that Depp’s attorneys have taken a “scorched earth” approach in the assault case, and that it does not seem likely that the case will settle on the eve of trial.
Adam Waldman, Depp’s attorney, threatens to bring a malicious prosecution claim against Brooks’ lawyers.
“After all the evidence from multiple sworn eyewitness testimony and dozens of contemporaneous photographs taken by the script supervisor, Mr. Brooks has finally found a single witness to support his absurd, delusional claim — his own lawyer,” Waldman said. “As soon as the evidence defeats Mr. Brooks in trial we will immediately launch malicious prosecution claims against his attorneys. What Mr. Brooks lawyer terms ‘scorched earth’ is actually known as ‘Justice.'”
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