Johnny Depp Denied Initial Bid to Appeal His U.K. 'Wife-Beater' Libel Case, Judge Rules (Reports)
Johnny Depp's appeal in his U.K. libel case against The Sun has been denied.
U.K. judge Andrew Nicol refused permission for Depp to appeal his case after he ruled the British tabloid's 2018 story, in which the publication called the actor a "wife-beater" during his marriage to Amber Heard, was "substantially true," according to The Times.
Depp, 57, has been ordered to pay £628,000 in legal costs to News Group Newspapers, which owns the tabloid. The amount is equivalent to over $840,000.
Nicol dismissed the actor's appeal application saying an appeal did not have a "reasonable prospect of success," according to The Times.
"The findings of fact by a first instance tribunal (particularly one, such as myself, who has heard oral evidence) are rarely open to challenge on appeal," Nicol said in his ruling. "In any event, I do not consider that the proposed grounds of appeal have a reasonable prospect of success (and that is also the case so far as the grounds of appeal suggest that I erred in principle or in law) and there is not some other compelling reason why permission to appeal should be granted."
The Pirates of the Caribbean star can still take his case directly to the Court of Appeal to overturn his judgement, according to The Guardian.
Heard's U.S. counsel Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, said that the court's initial ruling will now strengthen their determination to fight Depp's $50 million defamation lawsuit against Heard in the U.S., which was recently delayed to May 3, 2021, by Circuit Chief Judge Bruce White in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Lawyers for Depp described the court's initial decision "as perverse as it is bewildering."
Days after losing the case, Depp revealed he had agreed to step down from his role as Grindelwald in the upcoming third installment in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise.
"In light of recent events, I would like to make the following short statement," Depp wrote in a statement on Instagram. "Firstly, I'd like to thank everybody who has gifted me with their support and loyalty. I have been humbled and moved by your many messages of love and concern, particularly over the last few days."
"I wish to let you know that I have been asked to resign by Warner Bros. from my role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts and I have respected and agreed to that request," he continued.
"Finally, I wish to say this. The surreal judgement of the court in the U.K. will not change my fight to tell the truth and I confirm that I plan to appeal," Depp concluded. "My resolve remains strong and I intend to prove that the allegations against me are false. My life and career will not be defined by this moment in time."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor shot only one scene since production on the film began in September, but due to his "pay-or-play contract" with no "morality clause," he was able to receive his full eight-figure salary regardless of whether the film was made or recast.
Depp first played Grindelwald in 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on the companion book of the same name. He reprised his role in the 2018 sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.