Why is the Johnny Depp case in Fairfax? All you need to know about the ongoing defamation trial 

Reason behind Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's legal battle being fought in Fairfax explored (Image via AP)
Reason behind Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's legal battle being fought in Fairfax explored (Image via AP)

The explosive defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard continues to unfold. One may assume that the legal battle is taking place in the Hollywood orbit, however it is going on in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Johnny Depp is suing his ex-wife Amber Heard after alleging that the latter defamed him in an op-ed published in The Washington Post in December 2018. The 36 year old titled the piece- "I spoke up against sexual violence- and faced our culture's wrath. This has to change."

The 58-year-old actor is suing Heard in Fairfax as the online edition of the op-ed was published via the servers in the county. This would allow him to sue her in the region.

The second reason would be because of the state's lenient SLAPP legislation. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. According to the Reporters Committee, anti-SLAPP legislation that is prevalent in California would:

"Prevent people from using courts, and potential threats of a lawsuit, to intimidate people who are exercising their First Amendment Rights."

Under California's anti-SLAPP laws, Johnny Depp would not be able to sue Amber Heard for defamation as the state believes that everyone is entitled to free speech.

Virginia doesn't have the same laws, hence it was more likely that his lawsuit would go to trial in the state. Amber Heard's lawyer attempted to shift the lawsuit to California in 2019, however a Fairfax judge denied her request.

Why is Johnny Depp suing his ex-wife for $50 million?

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor filed a defamation lawsuit in March 2019. Though Heard did not mention Johnny Depp's name in the controversial article, Depp's legal team argued that she made a "clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser" and added that it is "categorically and demonstrably false."

Amber Heard accused of physical assualt by Johnny Depp (Image via AP)
Amber Heard accused of physical assualt by Johnny Depp (Image via AP)

In her piece, Heard wrote:

"Like many women, I had been harassed and s*xually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet- I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn't see myself as a victim."

She continued:

"Then two years ago I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out."

Amber Heard has since filed a $100 million counterclaim against the actor for nuisance and immunity from his allegations.

Latest updates regarding the trial

In the trial currently taking place, Johnny Depp shared that Amber Heard berated him and physically abused him multiple times.

On Tuesday, psychologist Dr. Shannon Curry testified on behalf of Depp's legal team. She said that she diagnosed Heard for 12 hours and analyzed that Heard did not suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as she claimed came from her relationship with Depp.


Curry also noted that Heard suffers from histrionic personality disorder, which Curry claimed to be associated with "drama and shallowness," and the need to be the center of attention.

She added that people who are physically attractive and have the disorder often "utilize their looks to get that attention."

Cross-examining Curry's claims, Heard's lawyers said that the psychologist was biased as she had dinner and drinks at Depp's house before she was hired.

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Edited by Somava
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