According to legal documents, obtained by The Blast, The VPA has filed a request to be heard in the case via amici curiae.
Virginia Press Association
In the filing, the VPA says it is, "comprised of 225 members, including daily and weekly newspapers based throughout Virginia. These members report on matters of public concern on a daily basis including matters involving public figures like Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard."
The organization is clear, in the filing, it will not offer any comment or claims regarding the validity of any allegations of domestic violence.
But, the VPA points out it, "has a strong interest in the outcome of this case, which involves a claim of defamation by implication arising from an op-ed published by The Washington Post, a member of the VPA. "
It continues, "Even though Johnny and Amber have "no significant ties to the Commonwealth of Virginia. The VPA and its media members, on the other hand, reside and work within the Commonwealth, and the outcome of this defamation by implication case could have a significant effect on those journalists and their work within the Commonwealth."
The VPA is asking the court to allow lawyers for the organization to be heard before a hearing on November 8, 2019.
The organization contends the intention of filing an amicus curiae brief is to, "discuss the elevated chilling risks for allowing public figure plaintiffs like Mr. Depp to state a claim for defamation."
In a statement, Johnny Depp's attorney Adam Waldman calls the growing number of participants in this case, "powerful co-conspirators."
“After confessing under oath and being arrested and incarcerated for separate violent domestic assaults, Amber Heard is an odd spokesperson against domestic abuse. And Ms. Heard also oddly has a growing list of powerful co-conspirators – The ACLU, Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun, Elon Musk, James Franco, and her other hoax assisters who keep running from their depositions," Waldman says.
He continued, "Today, Ms. Heard added the Virginia Press Association, fighting to oppose Mr. Depp’s defamation case despite their written admission that they have done zero due diligence on the case. We will get to the bottom of each of these co-conspirators’ motivations, and how Harvey Weinstein’s #TimesUp lawyers interact with each of them."
Heard Welcomes VPA
Amber Heard's attorney Roberta Kaplan says she welcomes the involvement of the VPA telling us, "Because Mr. Depp has brought an incoherent and legally baseless lawsuit against her in Virginia, Ms. Heard has had no choice but to defend herself. We welcome the action of the Virginia Press Association, an independent group of more than 200 newspapers, for seeking to weigh in about the important First Amendment principles at stake in this case. This is what happened—Ms. Heard wrote an op-ed about the horrible backlash that many women face when they speak the truth about powerful men. By dragging her through this meritless lawsuit, Mr. Depp only continues to prove her point.”
Johnny Depp's attorney is questioning the tactics of Amber's legal team, in the use of private investigators in the case .
"In Harvey Weinstein’s case, lawyers who held themselves out as women’s rights champions hired a spy firm to smear their victim and distract from the heinous crimes Weinstein committed against them. In the Amber Heard case, Harvey Weinstein’s #TimesUp lawyers who hold themselves out as women’s rights champions hired a spy to smear Heard’s victim and distract from Heard’s hoax and heinous confessed and witnessed crimes," Waldman says.
He continued, "Specifically, Heard’s legal eagles hired Paul Barresi, a self-described former gay porn star, “field man” for Anthony Pellicano and “bag man” for the National Enquirer, who was dumb enough to confess to precisely the strategy Heard’s advisors are using to attack Mr. Depp in a recent podcast: “In the life of a celebrity, or anyone else for that matter, if you want to hurt someone, character assassination is the way to go. And the irony is, it isn’t necessary that whatever is said be true. The damage can be done in the mere telling of it.”
Johnny Depp is suing Amber Heard for defamation after she wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post about domestic abuse.
Amber responded by detailing alleged abuse she took at the hands of Depp including striking her and ripping her hair out. Heard included photographs of injuries and apology messages from Depp in the documents.
The case is due back in court for the hearing on November 8.