A bit of over three months earlier than the trial in Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation lawsuit in opposition to Amber Heard is about to lastly begin, the pink-slipped Fantastic Beasts actor needs Elon Musk and the American Civil Liberties Union to be pulled into the case.
As Depp awaits a listening to within the UK next month on his hopes for an attraction in his shedding libel go well with late last year in opposition to tabloid The Sun for calling him a “wife beater,” his U.S. attorneys have issued subpoenas for the SpaceX billionaire, the nonprofit group First Amendment and its Foundation arm. Now dealing with a $100 million counterclaims case from his Rum Diary co-star, Team Depp needs Musk and the ACLU entities to sit down for depositions within the matter, in addition to hand over related documentation of their interactions with Heard.
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In the Musk subpoena, Depp’s legal professionals at Brown Rudnick LLP have 24 requests that basically cowl “all communications between you and Ms. Heard regarding Mr. Depp.” Included among the many two dozen requests are particular requests about The Sun case, the ACLU and “any allegations of physical abuse or domestic violence committed by either Mr. Depp or Ms. Heard.”
In the primary ACLU subpoena (read it here), “topics” sought mainly have the identical scope, with emphasis on donations, the defamation go well with and conversations about “the relationship between Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard.”
You could be questioning what do Elon Musk and the ACLU need to do with the case that Depp launched in opposition to his ex-wife in March 2019 over a late 2018 Washington Post op-ed she penned?
Well, Musk dated the Aquaman actress for some time after her marriage to Depp collapsed. However, although the latter repeatedly has alleged that the previous and Heard had been romantically concerned whereas earlier than she and Depp break up. The PayPal co-founder has denied the claims. Musk even joked final summer time about settling issues with Depp in a “cage fight” when his title stored arising on the ongoing the UK libel trial. The ACLU was among the many two organizations to which Heard mentioned in 2016 she was donating half of her $7 million divorce settlement from Depp.
Subsequently named an ACLU Ambassador for ladies’s rights, Heard was publicly thanked on the time by the group’s “incredibly grateful” govt director for having “so very generously shown her support.” After Heard’s WaPo op-ed on home violence was printed in late 2018, the ACLU reposted the piece that began this entire authorized battle on the group’s web site.
However, with the ACLU having seemingly turned a blind eye to earlier subpoena makes an attempt, Heard’s important lawyer Elaine Bredehoft diplomatically admitted last month that her consumer has been “delayed” in making her full charitable contributions, as promised.
This is seen as very important within the UK case, the place Heard’s character and donations had been a pivotal half in Judge Andrew Nicol’s reasoning to damningly discover in opposition to Depp. Not lengthy after that verdict was revealed in London, Depp was axed from the Fantastic Beasts franchise by Warner Bros. and knocked nicely off his A-list perch.
Neither Musk nor the ACLU responded to requests from Deadline on their respective subpoenas. Right now, after a number of delays from Covid-19 lockdowns and different issues, the trial is about to start out on May 17 in Virginia’s Fairfax County.
The newest subpoenas come as Depp’s facet needs courtroom permission to have “non-party witnesses” give “live testimony at trial” through video hyperlink due to the continued coronavirus pandemic and journey restrictions.
Heard’s legal professionals aren’t 100% against the concept however are involved the “rules” have already got made sufficient lodging for such witnesses. A listening to on the movement is on the courtroom calendar for February 26. Also, a February 19 listening to is about on Heard’s movement to have a conciliator appointed by the courtroom to “assist with discovery disputes,” of which there have been many on this matter. Part of the position of that conciliator, if she or he had been to be appointed, can be to “compel contact information for witnesses identified in discovery.”
In that vein is the problem of the hanging deposition for lawyer and Depp adviser Adam Waldman, who at occasions appears to have been as a lot on the coronary heart of this case as the previous high-profile couple. A February 3 letter made public within the courtroom docket Thursday says that discovering the often outspoken Waldman isn’t proving straightforward.
“I have made multiple in-person attempts to serve Adam Waldman at two Washington D.C. addresses with this Subpoena, but was unsuccessful,” mentioned course of server Mark Simons in his correspondence to the clerk for the Superior Court for the District of Columbia (read it here). Essentially giving up, Simons says he mailed the subpoenas to the D.C. addresses and left it with the clerk’s workplace, “because I cannot confirm a known address from Mr. Waldman.”
Frequent tweeter Waldman has be silent on social media since January 21. He didn’t get again to Deadline once we reached out to him concerning the snafu surrounding his subpoena.
Slouching towards the late-spring trial begin date, Depp’s want to tug Musk and the ACLU into the practically two-year-old case is in some ways replicating a wide-net transfer instigated by Heard last month. In January, the actress despatched out subpoenas to the LAPD and to Pirates of the Caribbean studio Disney for every thing that they could or may not have on her ex-husband.
An ask that features “body-cam” footage of LAPD 911 visits to the one-time couple’s downtown L.A. condominium in May 2016. The LAPD subpoena additionally seeks inside communication on the division on her and Depp, in addition to “all documents and communications of any nature with Mr. Depp, and/or any of Mr. Depp’s agents, attorneys or others acting on his behalf, from May 21, 2016 through the present.”
Among the wide-ranging Disney subpoena requests is that the House of Mouse hand over any information on “incidents of drug or alcohol use (including suspected drug or alcohol use), details about “any delays or tardiness caused by Mr. Depp,” and “any incidents of violence or abuse by Mr. Depp.”
Déjà vu, once more.