Ms Heard’s $100m countersuit centres around her claim that Mr Depp defamed her in multiple statements to the press via his attorney Adam Waldman after she published the 2018 op-ed at the heart of Mr Depp’s suit.
In those statements, Mr Waldman called Ms Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse a “hoax” and an “ambush” orchestrated by the Aquaman actor and her friends.
At the start of Tuesday’s proceedings, Mr Depp’s legal team asked Judge Penney Azcarate to throw out the countersuit, arguing that Ms Heard should be suing Mr Waldman himself instead of Mr Depp.
Judge Azcarate rejected the request, saying there is enough evidence to suggest Mr Waldman made the statements on behalf of Mr Depp and that a jury should be allowed to hear the case.
The first allegedly defamatory statement cited in Ms Heard’s counterclaim was made in April 2019, when Mr Waldman accused her of committing “defamation, perjury and filing and receiving a fraudulent temporary restraining order demand with the court”.
In June 2019, Mr Waldman told the Blast: “Ms Heard continues to defraud her abused hoax victim Mr Depp, the #metoo movement she masquerades as the leader of, and other real abuse victims worldwide,” the countersuit states.
The following month, Mr Waldman is quoted as telling the Blast that Ms Heard “went to court with painted on ‘bruises’ to obtain a temporary restraining order” and telling People her “battered face” was a “hoax”.
The countersuit then cites several statements Mr Waldman made to Daily Mail in April and June of 2020.
“Amber Heard and her friends in the media used fake sexual violence allegations as both sword and shield, depending on their needs. They have selected some of her sexual violence hoax ‘facts’ as the sword, inflicting them on the public and Mr Depp,” he said in one article.
In another article, he told the outlet: “Quite simply this was an ambush, a hoax. They set Mr Depp up by calling the cops but the first attempt didn’t do the trick. The officers came to the penthouses, thoroughly searched and interviewed, and left after seeing no damage to face or property. So Amber and her friends spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911.”
Ms Heard’s suit contends that Mr Waldman made the statements at Mr Depp’s direction, and thus the actor should be held liable.
Judge Azcarate’s decision not to dismiss the countersuit comes after Mr Waldman was called as a witness for Ms Heard’s defence last week.
Over the course of around an hour of testimony played in court, Mr Waldman refused to answer more than 75 questions from Ms Heard’s lawyers, citing attorney-client privilege.