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Court Denies Johnny Depp's Bid To Overturn Decision In His 'Wife Beater' Libel Case

The Court of Appeal in London announced Thursday it had found the initial decision in the unsuccessful libel case against News Group Newspapers Ltd. “full and fair" — ending Johnny Depp's chance for further appeals.

By Jill Sederstrom

Johnny Depp’s attempt to overturn the ruling in his “wife beater” libel case has been denied.

The Court of Appeal in London announced its decision to deny the request for an appeal in a written decision Thursday, concluding that the initial trial last year had been “full and fair.”

Depp brought an unsuccessful libel claim against News Group Newspapers Ltd and one of its journalists after The Sun ran an article calling him a “wife beater”—a reference to his tumultuous marriage with actress Amber Heard.

The newspaper group's defense in the initial trial had been that the “allegation was true.” Judge Andrew Nicol, who oversaw the libel case, concluded in November that Depp had assaulted Heard on at least 12 occasions after Heard testified in detail about the physically abusive marriage.

Depp has continued to deny that he physically abused his wife, whom he divorced in 2017, and sought an appeal of the decision in the libel case.

In the decision to deny the appeal, Judges James Dingemans and Nicholas Underhill wrote that they “do not believe that there is a real prospect” of a court overturning the findings in a new trial.

In a statement to Yahoo Entertainment, a spokesperson for Heard said they were “pleased—but by no means surprised” by the court’s decision.

“The evidence presented in the UK case was overwhelming and undeniable,” the statement said. “To reiterate, the original verdict was that Mr. Depp committed domestic violence against Amber on no fewer than 12 occasions and she was left in fear of her life.”

The spokesperson called the decision a “well-reasoned” judgment.

“Mr. Depp’s claims of new and important evidence was nothing more than a press strategy, and has been soundly rejected by the Court,” it read.

The decision ends the “Pirates of the Carribbean” actor’s ability to pursue legal action against the newspaper for the claim, according to People.

Depp’s attorneys had argued in their appeal that the actor did not get a fair trial because much of the ruling was based on Heard’s testimony—who they had argued was an unreliable witness.

To support this claim, his attorneys said Heard had failed to donate the $7 million she received in their divorce settlement that she had publicly pledged to donate to a charity, calling it a “calculated and manipulated lie.”

In the appeals court decision, however, the judges said the Heard was never asked about her donation during the cross-examination at the trial and said the final determination in the libel case had not been based on whether or not she had donated the money.

Heard’s legal team has said she has done “nothing dishonest” and has pledged to make donations to the ACLU and Children’s Hospital over a 10-year period, People reports. They provided evidence showing she had already made donations totaling $950,000 to the ACLU and $850,000 to the Children’s Hospital through anonymous means.

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