The stateside legal victories are continuing to pile up for Johnny Depp, as in pursuit of his libel lawsuit against Amber Heard, a Virginia court has ruled that the Aquaman-franchise star must now allow her ex-husband access to her phone records – records Depp claims will prove the photographs of the injuries she claimed to have sustained at his hand during their now-infamous penthouse altercation were completely “phony”.

Source: Drive Angry (2011), Millenium Media

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According to the ruling, obtained but not released by the New York Post’s Page Six, Depp was granted access to Heard’s phone records on November 4th following a filing made by Depp’s lawyer, Benjamin Chew, to the Fairfax County Circuit Court of Virginia in which he claimed “Ms. Heard’s counsel has repeatedly used these phony photographs at deposition.”

At the same time, the court conversely denied Heard and her team their request to have Depp likewise hand over his phone and laptop, as its search parameters were found to be “too broad”.

Source: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), Warner Bros. Pictures

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As recalled during Depp’s previous and unsuccessful ‘wife-beater’ libel trial against UK tabloid The Sun, and seen in the photographs in question, Heard claimed to have suffered “bruised ribs, bruises all over my body from where I had been defending myself from the blows, two black eyes, a broken nose, a broken lip, really bad [injuries] in my hairline, my chin.”

However, in his recent filing, Chew noted that the officers who responded to the calls to law enforcement made during the 2015 domestic incident had, per both their own bodycam footage and testimony, “found no injury upon Ms. Heard and no disruption to the penthouses.”

Source: People, June 2016

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“Ms. Heard and her friends then fabricated photos that she used to obtain an ex parte TRO [temporary restraining order] and a $7 million divorce settlement which Ms. Heard falsely testified in London she gave to the ACLU and, more scandalously, to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles; sick children with cancer,” wrote Chew.

He added that the LAPD has since “disavowed [Heard’s] photographs” and “said they did not depict what they saw.”

Source: The Ward (2010), Echo Lake Entertainment

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Further, Chew asserted that while previous images given to Depp’s legal team lacked any comprehensive metadata, their subject matter expert, Brain Neumeister, found “that a number of the photographs have been run through a photo — a photo editing application called Photo 3 that can easily manipulate images such as showing bruises where none actually existed.”

Explaining that the photos provided were created via an iPad Pro 10.5 “on or after Oct. 6 2018”, Chew concluded that Neumeister’s investigation had found that “Ms. Heard or someone on her behalf doctored those photographs three years later.”

“When that came up in her testimony in London, Ms. Heard falsely denied it,” he continued. “In short, Your Honor, without forensic imaging Mr. Neumeister cannot properly assess or verify Ms. Heard’s data.”

Source: Minamata (2020), Vertigo Releasing

In response to the court’s ruling against Heard, her attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, told Page Six that Heard “welcomes the opportunity to present her evidence in a trial by jury, in a court of law”.

“This is a dirty strategy (after having been found to have committed multiple significant acts of domestic violence against Amber Heard) by Mr. Depp’s legal team, to present false claims while avoiding accusations of defamation because of judicial immunity,” she said.

Source: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021), Warner Bros. Pictures

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“While legal hearings are protected from defamation, they are not protected from leaks to the press, which is exactly Mr. Depp’s intention – even though he lost every one of these arguments in the UK trial – his first choice of forum – he is trying to interject out-of-context and already proven to be false pieces from his unsuccessful efforts in court to attempt to deceive the public, pretending these issues have not already been fully tried, in his court of choice, where he lost,” Bredehoft declared.

She then concluded, “Now, in yet another court of law, he is unable to submit his own evidence because he has nothing to prove his claims.”

Source: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018), Warner Bros. Pictures

At current, Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Heard is set to head to trial on April 11th, 2022.

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