UK judge refuses Depp permission to appeal libel ruling

Entertainment

FILE – In this Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 file photo, actor Johnny Depp arrives for the screening of the film Minamata during the 70th International Film Festival Berlin, Berlinale in Berlin, Germany. Lawyers for British tabloid The Sun asked a judge on Thursday, June 25, 2020 to throw out Johnny Depp’s libel claim against the paper because the film star allegedly failed to disclose evidence relating to his drug use. Depp is suing the newspaper’s publisher News Group Newspapers and executive editor Dan Wootton over a 2018 article claiming he was violent and abusive to his ex-wife Amber Heard.(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

LONDON (AP) — A judge has refused Johnny Depp permission to appeal against a British court’s ruling that he assaulted ex-wife Amber Heard.

Earlier this month a High Court judge rejected Depp’s claim that a newspaper had committed libel when it called him a “wife-beater.” Judge Andrew Nicol said the article in The Sun was “substantially true.”

Depp is seeking to overturn the judgment. But in a setback for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, Nicol denied permission to appeal, saying “I do not consider that the proposed grounds of appeal have a reasonable prospect of success.”

In a ruling made public on Wednesday, the judge also ordered Depp to make an initial payment of almost 630,000 pounds ($840,000) to News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, to cover its legal fees.

Depp can still apply directly to the Court of Appeal, and has until Dec. 7 to do so.

The judge’s main ruling came after a three-week trial in which Depp and Heard gave conflicting accounts of their brief, tempestuous marriage.

In the wake of the decision, Depp said he was leaving the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise after studio Warner Bros. requested his resignation.

Depp is also suing Heard for $50 million in Virginia over a Washington Post op-ed essay that she wrote about domestic violence. The essay talks about her experience being abused but does not name Depp. The trial is due to be held next year.

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