Johnny Depp has requested a postponement of a defamation lawsuit due to take place early next year.
The actor is suing his ex-wife Amber Heard over an article she wrote in the Washington Post which Depp said implied he was violent towards her.
Heard has yet to comment on his request for delay.
This is a separate trial from the one currently taking place in London, where the actor is suing the publisher of The Sun.
A hearing on Mr Depp’s postponement request is currently set for September 11.
Depp and Heard were married for 15 months before their split in 2016.
What did Amber Heard write?
In December 2018, the Washington Post ran an article written by Heard with the headline: “I spoke out against sexual violence – and I faced the wrath of our culture. This must change. ”
The article called for institutions to be more protective of women who have been abused.
She specifically expressed her opposition to proposed measures that would weaken the protection of victims of sexual assault on college campuses.
In the article, Heard said she had become “a public figure representing domestic violence” but did not mention her ex-husband by name.
She said she had the “rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”
Why can Johnny Depp take legal action?
Although not mentioned by name, Depp is able to file a claim because in Virginia – where The Washington Post is printed – plaintiffs can sue for defamation by inference, implication, or innuendo.
The actor filed a $ 50million (£ 37.2million) libel complaint against Heard in March 2019, three months after his article was published.
Why does he want the trial to be delayed?
The coronavirus pandemic has delayed the filming and release dates of countless movies and TV shows around the world.
As a result, the filming of the latest installment in the Fantastic Beasts franchise has been extended until early 2021.
This overlaps with when Depp’s libel suit against Heard was scheduled to begin.
He has now filed an extension petition asking the court to postpone the trial between March and June 2021.
“When the Court set the current date for the trial in this case, Mr. Depp understood that Warner Bros was planning to shoot Fantastic Beasts 3 in London well before January 11, 2021,” said the file, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
“Covid-19 has disrupted the studio’s plans, causing repeated postponements. With conditions in London improving somewhat, Warner Bros. has now established a filming schedule that conflicts with the trial date in this case. ”
Depp says he was told on August 19 that he would be required for filming between early October and mid-February, which conflicts with proposed trial dates of January 11-28.
“Mr. Depp could be held liable for breach of contract if he did not adhere to the timeline contractually dictated by Warner Bros.,” the case says. “Although Mr. Depp is anxious to stand trial, he faces an untenable situation over which he has no control. ”
The actor maintains that Heard will not be harmed by a delay.
Heard is set to film Aquaman 2 in 2021 ahead of its scheduled release in late 2022, but the film’s production schedule has not been made public.
What else does Depp say?
Depp also says Heard’s recent $ 100million (£ 74.4million) counterclaim warrants a delay.
In a filing earlier this month, the actress accused Depp and her team of trying to get her fired from the Aquaman movie and as a spokesperson for L’Oréal.
The actress said Mr Depp and his team coordinated a harassment campaign through social media and other online platforms.
She alleges that there are “dozens, if not hundreds” of inauthentic Twitter accounts that exist only to damage her reputation.
Mr. Depp says the allegations “greatly expand the scope of the necessary discovery.”
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