A trial at London’s Royal Courts of Justice in which Johnny Depp will sue The Sun newspaper for an article alleging he was a “wife beater” is to go ahead.
The article referenced allegations that Depp was often violent toward his ex-wife Amber Heard, which he denies strenuously.
Adam Wolanski, the attorney acting for the tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, had asked the trial judge, Judge Andrew Nicol, to throw out the case.
Wolanski argued that Depp had breached a court order by not providing text messages relating to his alleged drug use. These texts, sent between Depp and his assistant during a trip to Australia, contained references to “happy pills” and “whitey stuff.” The texts suggested Depp was trying to obtain MDMA and cocaine, and preceded “a three-day ordeal of physical assaults” against Heard, Wolanski alleged.
Depp denies that he took the drugs, and that he was violent toward Heard.
The texts were among documents submitted as part of separate libel proceedings Depp is pursuing against Heard in the U.S.
In his ruling Thursday, Nicol said: “I am not persuaded that the trial of the claim would be unfair.” He said his decision to allow the case to proceed was dependent on Depp undertaking that he would not seek to prosecute Heard for allegedly breaching a court order made during the U.S. case, by providing The Sun’s legal team with evidence.
The trial is due to begin on Tuesday, with Depp, Heard and Depp’s former partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder expected to give evidence.
In 2016, Heard obtained a restraining order against Depp after accusing him of abuse, which he denied.
In addition to the alleged incident in Australia, The Sun’s defense team will refer to 13 separate allegations of domestic violence incidents between early 2013 and May 2016.