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LONDON – Hollywood actor Johnny Depp lost a defamation case against British tabloid The Sun on Monday which published an article calling him a "bully".
Depp had sued the newspaper in 2018 over the story alleging he was violent towards his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard.
The article questioned Depp's casting in the second episode of the Fantastic Beasts film series, entitled: "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be" really happy "in the new film" Fantastic Beasts "when he casts Mrs. Woman beats? "
Depp denied the allegations and brought lawsuits against News Group Newspapers, which publishes The Sun, and Dan Wootton, the journalist who wrote the article and is now the newspaper's editor-in-chief.
The smear battle came to public attention because of their garish portrayal of the private lives of Depp and his then-wife Heard and their stormy relationship before the couple divorced in 2017.
Details of the former couple's arguments, alleged matters, and Depp's problems with alcohol and drug abuse were heard in the Royal Courts of Justice for three weeks by Judge Justice Nicol in July.
Nicol ruled Monday that the newspaper's allegations were "essentially true" and said in a judgment published online: "I accept that the defendants have shown the words they published to mean what I believed they were have, are essentially true. " The ruling could have a significant impact on Depp's career.
"Flawed" and "Perverted"
Johnny Depp's attorneys criticized the High Court's verdict as "flawed" and "perverse" and said they would appeal, Reuters reported. They said they hoped a separate defamation case that Depp filed against Amber Heard in the U.S. over an opinion piece she wrote for the Washington Post in late 2018 would lead to a different outcome.
"This decision is as perverse as it is confusing," said Depp's law firm Schillings in a statement on Monday.
"The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr Depp not to appeal this decision," the statement said.
"In the meantime, in the meantime, we hope that contrary to this case, the ongoing defamation proceedings in America are fair and that both parties make full disclosure rather than one side strategically figuring out which evidence can and cannot be relied on."
A spokesman for The Sun newspaper tweeted Monday that the newspaper "has stood up and fought for victims of domestic violence for over twenty years. Victims of domestic violence must never be silenced, and we thank the judge for his careful attention." Deliberation and Amber Heard for her courage to testify to the court. "
US attorney for Amber Heard, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, said in a statement that she was not surprised by the result.
"For those of us present for the trial in the London High Court, this decision and verdict come as no surprise," she said in a statement from Reuters.
"Very soon we will be producing even more evidence in the US. We are determined to get justice for Amber Heard in the US court and to defend Ms. Heard's right to freedom of expression."