Johnny Depp has secured a legal victory in his ongoing court battle against ex-wife Amber Heard, which will force the actress to prove that she donated her $7 million divorce settlement to charity, as promised.

After the couple’s messy divorce in 2016, Heard, 35, said that she didn’t want any of the Pirates of the Caribbean star’s money, declaring that she would instead donate the large sum to two separate charities – the American Civil Liberties Union and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Depp, 58, has long claimed that Heard never donated all of the cash, and his representatives have spent the past year trying to prove just that.

Well, after filing a petition in New York Supreme Court after the ACLU refused to hand over documents proving that Heard had donated the full amount, Depp and his lawyers have been allowed 23 of the 24 original requests in the “motion to compel” – meaning Heard and her lawyers must cough up the evidence.

The only request that was denied was for documents concerning Heard’s role as brand ambassador for the ACLU.

 

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In a witness statement given by Heard in February last year, the actress said: “I remained financially independent from him the whole time we were together and the entire amount of my divorce settlement was donated to charity.”

But Depp’s lawyers have produced documents that suggest that Heard only donated $450,000 to the ACLU, opposed to the alleged $3,500,000.

Furthermore, it is believed that Heard hasn’t donated the full amount to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, with the hospital’s CEO, Paul Viviano, writing to Heard asking why they haven’t received the total amount.

Judge Arthur Engoron said that Depp “has satisfied the initial burden of stating the circumstances of reasons underlying the subpoena… the ACLU has failed to demonstrate that the information sought it utterly irrelevant to the action…”

He added: “Thus, for the reasons stated herein, the petition is granted and denied in part and respondents are ordered to comply with all subpoenas with the exception of… documents pertaining to Ms Heard’s role as a brand ambassador for the ACLU.”

 

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The news – which was first reported by the Mail Online – is a huge win for the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory star, who lost a defamation case against The Sun newspaper last year.

A British High Court judge ruled that the publication’s portrayal of  Depp as a “wife beater” was “substantially true” based on horrific testimonies from Heard.

After losing the court case, Depp was axed from his role as Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

Depp’s lawyers want the docs to prove Heard was lying when she boasted about the giveaway when she gave evidence to the court in London.

 

Judge Andrew Nichol cited Heard’s donation while deciding the case in The Sun’s favour, saying: “Her donation of the $7 million to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger.”

Depp’s lawyers belatedly argued the “missing” charity payments were a “calculated and manipulated lie, designed to achieve a potent favourable impression” when he challenged the ruling.

But a panel of judges said the new evidence wouldn’t make any difference, and refused his bid for an appeal, leaving him with $840,000 in legal costs.

That won’t stop him from using the same arguments in a separate $50 million lawsuit filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, which accuses the Aquaman actress of lying in a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post.

The Washington Post opinion piece – titled ‘I spoke up against sexual violence and faced our culture’s wrath, That has to change’ – didn’t mention Depp by name but he claims it wrecked his reputation and got him fired as Captain Jack Sparrow.

 

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In the new filing, the actor’s lawyers point to a September 2019 declaration from Heard that states that the idea for the article came from the ACLU itself.

Anthony Romero, the executive director of the ACLU, introduced Heard to a colleague, Jessica Weitz “who in turn suggested the idea that [she] might write an Op-ed about how [her] experience exemplifies the issues faced by those who speak out about abuse and violence”.

Heard goes on to describe how she worked with the ACLU to draft the Op-Ed and the ACLU handled placing the Op-Ed in a newspaper.

Depp and Heard met on the set of The Rum Diary back in 2011 and married four years later before ending their marriage in May 2016.

 

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Heard sought a restraining order and a divorce claiming Depp hurled a phone in her face but after months of back and forth accusations they reached a deal.

Heard said in August 2016: “As described in the restraining order and divorce settlement, money played no role for me personally and never has, except to the extent that I could donate it to charity and, in doing so, hopefully, help those less able to defend themselves.

“As reported in the media, the amount received in the divorce was $7 million and $7 million is being donated. This is over and above any funds that I have given away in the past and will continue to give away in the future.

“The donation will be divided equally between the ACLU, with a particular focus to stop violence against women, and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles where I have worked as a volunteer for past 10 years.”

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