Entertainment Movies Amber Heard's Motion to Dismiss Johnny Depp Defamation Case Denied by Judge, Trial Moves Forward As Amber Heard's defense team prepares to call their first witness, her lawyer said they will show "even more evidence of the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of" Johnny Depp By Benjamin VanHoose Published on May 3, 2022 01:26 PM Share Tweet Pin Email In the middle of Johnny Depp's $50 million defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard, her legal team motioned for dismissal of the lawsuit. The judge has however denied the request after arguments from both sides. On Tuesday, Depp's side wrapped their witness list as the plaintiff rested their case. Before defendant Heard's team brings witnesses to the stand, her attorney Ben Rottenborn made the case for why the lawsuit should be thrown out, arguing that Depp's side doesn't have enough to prove defamation. Depp's attorney Benjamin Chew recapped their witness testimonies up to this point, claiming they've shown how Depp's career and reputation was tarnished by Heard's December 2018 Washington Post op-ed, which is the center of the case. Though she did not mention Depp by name in the article, she wrote about becoming "public figure representing domestic abuse" and feeling "the full force of our culture's wrath for women who speak out." Chew said Heard — who has not yet taken the stand — was the abuser in the relationship, not Depp, 58. For more on the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day. In his final statements countering Chew's argument, Rottenborn spoke about "disputed evidence" of abuse in the case presented by the plaintiff, adding of Heard, 36, "I can tell you, she is not the abuser, and if the case moves forward, she and her witnesses will put on even more evidence of the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of Mr. Depp." Rottenborn pointed out that Depp and some of his expert witnesses testified that domestic abuse comes in various forms, not only physical. With that, "Even under their standard, the undisputed evidence is that Mr. Depp did commit abuse against Ms. Heard," he said. After reviewing all of the evidence, Judge Penney Azcarate denied the motions, saying that the "weight of that evidence is up to the fact-finders," meaning she's letting the jury decide whether Heard's op-ed was indeed defamatory as the trial continues. Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard: Biggest Bombshells and Revelations from the Defamation Trial (So Far) Amber Heard; Johnny Depp. JIM WATSON/POOL/AFP via Getty (2) Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. Back in November 2020, Depp lost his highly publicized U.K. libel lawsuit case against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater." The court upheld the outlet's claims as being "substantially true" and Heard testified to back up the claims. In March 2021, the Pirates of the Caribbean star's attempt to overturn the decision was overruled. Depp originally filed this $50 million lawsuit against Heard back in 2019 but it was delayed due to the pandemic, until a jury was selected on April 11 in Fairfax, Virginia, and opening statements began the following day. Heard previously asked to dismiss Depp's Virginia lawsuit, arguing that the U.K. judgment should hold sway on the proceedings in the U.S. since both lawsuits center on allegations of Depp as an abuser. In August, however, Azcarate granted Depp the right to pursue his lawsuit, denying Heard's supplemental plea to dismiss the case. Daniel Gutenplan — entertainment litigator, defamation expert and a partner at Enenstein Pham & Glass — recently told PEOPLE that Depp has an "uphill battle" in proving defamation. He explained, "Defamation is very hard to prove. First and foremost, truth is an absolute defense to any defamatory statement. So regardless of the alleged defamatory statement, if a defendant can establish that it is true, the defense is going to win." Gutenplan said Heard's essay never name-dropped Depp and "doesn't detail any specific alleged events or any specific conduct. It is incredibly general in that regard." He also said that winning a defamation case "has to be based on facts," adding: "It can't be based on opinion. And that's where a lot of defamation plaintiffs get in trouble." STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty One of Depp's witnesses, their former marriage counselor Dr. Laurel Anderson, previously testified that Depp and Heard engaged in "mutual abuse" with each other. Anderson said she also observed "multiple" small bruises on Heard's face at an in-person meeting. In audio recordings, Heard has admitted to hitting Depp, and a security guard for Depp testified that he once witnessed Heard punch Depp. The motion from Heard's legal team comes after the Aquaman actress decided to switch her public relations teams. A crisis communications expert told PEOPLE, "Depp's team has been on national television and in the court making his case for weeks. Obviously that's going to result in some coverage that I'm sure Amber Heard hasn't liked — but that's just the reality of a situation where the plaintiff gets to go first. To get through crisis situations like these you have to have thick skin, which it seems she does not have by making this change at a very bizarre time when she instead should be going on the offense." Depp has testified that his "goal is the truth" as he seeks to clear his name in the trial, which is being televised live via various outlets. Ahead of the trial, Heard said in a statement that "hopefully when this case concludes, I can move on and so can Johnny. I have always maintained a love for Johnny and it brings me great pain to have to live out the details of our past life together in front of the world."