Johnny Depp Loses Bid to Challenge Libel Verdict in Case Against ‘The Sun’

·2 min read

A judge has rejected Johnny Depp’s bid to challenge the ruling in a libel case he lost last year against the publisher of The Sun over an article that identified him as a “wife-beater,” the BBC reports.

The initial ruling, which came after a three-week trial last July, found a judge dismissing the actor’s libel claim. The court found that the paper’s April 2018 column describing Depp as a “wife-beater” for his treatment of ex-wife Amber Heard was “substantially true.”

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Depp, 57, then asked the court permission to challenge the ruling, which also asserted that he had assaulted Heard, 34, a dozen times and put her in “fear for her life” three times. Depp’s argument rested partially on the fact that Heard has not yet given away most of her $7 million divorce settlement, which she had stated she was going to donate to charity. The court refused Depp permission following a hearing last week.

Lord Justice Underhill stated: “We refuse Mr. Depp’s application to admit further evidence in support of his proposed appeal and we conclude that the appeal has no real prospect of success and that there is no other compelling reason for it to be heard. We accordingly refuse permission to appeal.”

“Today’s decision fully vindicates The Sun’s journalism, and also Amber Heard who stood up to Mr. Depp in the face of his repeated attempts to silence her,” Jeffrey Smele, partner at media law specialists Simons Muirhead Burton and attorney for The Sun, tells Rolling Stone in a statement. “It’s a victory for the freedom of the press and for victims of domestic violence everywhere. In a case widely labelled as the ‘libel trial of the century’, the court heard evidence from over 30 witnesses and reviewed more than a dozen files of evidence. The Court of Appeal has now turned down any form of additional appeal. For our clients this will thankfully, finally, bring this matter to a close. Mr. Depp’s claim of new and important evidence was nothing more than a press strategy and has been soundly rejected by the Court.”

“We are pleased — but by no means surprised — by the court’s denial of Mr Depp’s application for an appeal,” a spokesperson for Heard told The Guardian. “The evidence presented in the UK case was overwhelming and undeniable.”

A representative for Depp did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.

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