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Depp uses charity payout as grounds to appeal libel case

 

Lawyers say it influenced the ruling

Johnny Depp lost his libel trial because the judge was influenced by ex-wife Amber Heard’s lie that she would give her $7m (£5m) divorce payout to charity.

Lawyers for Depp are appealing against the ruling claiming Heard’s charity promise never materialised which was based on her payout from divorcing Depp.

Depp took News Group Newspapers (NGN), publishers of The Sun, to court last year over claims he assaulted his ex-wife but lost.

The libel trial judge found that Depp had assaulted his then wife but lawyers say he was “subliminally influenced” by the evidence of the donation, which included victims of domestic violence, his legal team claimed.

Heard had not donated all of the divorce settlement to US charities as she claimed, Depp’s legal team argued.

They also argued that the trial judge had erred in not attaching much weight to recordings in which Heard appeared to admit to assaulting her former husband.

Andrew Caldecott QC said the pledges about donating the £5m had “strengthened Heard’s credit in an exceptional way”. But, he added, that was a “calculated and manipulative lie, designed to achieve a potent favourable impression from the outset”.

“NGN would have had no defence without Ms Heard. There were many other witnesses, but she was on any view centre stage,” said Caldecott, who added that Heard’s witness statement referred to how “the entire amount of my divorce settlement was donated to charity”.

On 18 August 2016, Heard publicly stated that the $7m divorce payout would be equally divided between them, according to the barrister, but he added that “the only donation” to the hospital was one of “$100,000, not the $3.5m which we say the court was led to believe was the true position”.

Depp’s legal team began the application for permission to appeal against the ruling by questioning whether she had honoured a pledge to split her $7m divorce settlement evenly between two charities: the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

He said the ACLU received $350,000 initially and a subsequent $100,000, according to documents that have been released.

 

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