Johnny Depp has received a rare victory in his ongoing legal battle against ex-wife Amber Heard, as a New York judge has partially granted a petition ordering the American Civil Liberties Union to prove that the Aquaman: The Lost Kingdom actress did, in fact, donate a portion of her $7 million divorce settlement to the nonprofit as she had previously and publicly promised she would.
As first reported by USA Today on July 30th, the judge’s ruling will require the ACLU, one of two organizations (alongside the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles) which Heard publicly announced would receive a portion of her divorce settlement, to provide the Court with documentation proving whether or not the actress actually followed through on her charitable promise.
Following the judge’s decision, Depp’s attorney, Benjamin Chew, told USA today, “Mr. Depp is most gratified by the Court’s decision.”
The ACLU was brought under court-ordered scrutiny in the case of Depp and Heard on May 19th, when the former requested that the Court “enter an order directing ACLU Witnesses to fully comply with the Subpoenas.”
According to Depp’s suit, these subpoenas included “discovery concerning any donations to the ACLU Foundation by Ms. Heard or in her name, and/or any public statements related to such donations; communications with Ms. Heard or those acting on her behalf concerning her relationship with Mr. Depp and divorce from Mr. Depp; discovery concerning Ms. Heard’s work as an ‘ambassador’ for the ACLU Foundation and the conception, drafting, and placement of the Op-Ed; and communications with Ms. Heard or those acting on her behalf concerning the Virginia Action and the preparation and submission of the Wizner Declaration.”
Meanwhile, Heard’s charitable donation was first called into question in January, when UK news outlet The Daily Mail obtained documents showing that not only had Heard only donated $100,000 of her divorce settlement to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, but that she had yet to fulfill her obligation even three years after her initial payment.
“I am following up on the correspondence that Children’s Hospital Los Angeles received on August 26, 2016 […] that a $3.5 million pledged gift has been made in your honor,” wrote Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Foundation Associate Senior Vice President Candie Davidson-Goldbronn in a 2019 letter to Heard. “Since the first installment, CHLA has not received further installments. I am inquiring if you have knowledge if CHLA should expect further installment(s) on your behalf or if the pledge will not be fulfilled.”
During the course of their reporting, the Daily Mail learned of “two further donations that the hospital received of $500,000 in 2017 and $250,000 in 2018, both in ‘honor of Amber Heard’,” which “came from an anonymous donor, however, rather than from Heard herself, and not from Depp.”
“The hospital’s June 2019 letter only refers to the initial $100,000,” the Daily Mail explained, “suggesting bosses did not consider the two payments part of Heard’s pledged $3.5m.”
As of writing, neither Heard nor the ACLU have responded to USA Today’s requests for comment.
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