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UK judge rejects tabloid's bid to throw out Depp libel suit

Last Updated Jul 2, 2020 at 6:38 am EDT

LONDON — A British judge on Thursday rejected an attempt by tabloid newspaper The Sun to quash a libel suit from actor Johnny Depp over an article claiming he abused his ex-wife.

Depp is suing the newspaper’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and Executive Editor Dan Wootton over a 2018 article claiming the actor was violent and abusive to Amber Heard. He strongly denies the allegations.

Judge Andrew Nicol said “in my view It would not be just to strike out the claim.” He said the full hearing could begin on Tuesday as scheduled.

The Sun’s lawyers applied for the case to be dismissed because Depp failed to disclose text messages he exchanged with an assistant showing that he tried to buy “MDMA and other narcotics” while he was in Australia with Heard in 2015.

The newspaper’s lawyer, Adam Wolanski, said withholding the texts was a breach of a previous court order requiring Depp to provide all documents from separate libel proceedings against Heard in the United States. He said the lapse endangered the defendants’ ability to get a fair trial.

Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. They divorced in 2017.

The Associated Press