Amber Heard has filed a defamation lawsuit against comedian Doug Stanhope after he accused her of blackmailing Johnny Depp and lying about the actor’s alleged domestic abuse.
In the court filing, she claims that Stanhope “orchestrated a plot to write an article, which was published at TheWrap.com, which falsely accuses plaintiff Amber Heard of ‘blackmail’ and other criminal behavior towards her husband, Johnny Depp, from whom she is seeking a divorce.”
The actress calls the claims “completely false and defamatory” and that it has caused her “tremendous harm.” In the papers, Heard also provides more details of alleged abuse by Depp, including an alleged incident in which she claims he “nearly suffocated her.”
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In a statement to PEOPLE, Heard’s lawyer, Charles J. Harder, says that Heard is seeking the “maximum possibly jury award” and plans to donate it to a domestic violence charity in Arizona.
“The Complaint alleges that Stanhope is a close friend of Johnny Depp and, as part of a coordinated effort, wrote a highly defamatory article about Ms. Heard, filled with completely false, highly defamatory and very hurtful statements,” Harder said in the statement. “Ms. Heard seeks the maximum possible jury award.”
Stanhope and Depp’s rep didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Her court filing also details further incidents of alleged abuse by Depp.
“Depp has hit and kicked Heard on numerous occasions, has thrown objects at her, at one point suffocated her to the point where she feared for her life,” she says in the documents.
Heard states that after each alleged attack, she would return to Depp “hoping optimistically that the man she married would change his behavior” but that “within months, the cycle of substance abuse and violence repeated.”
In the papers, she calls Depp “an alcoholic and drug addict” and states that most of the alleged attacks occurred while when he “relapsed into a cycle of substance abuse.”
“His drug and alcohol abuse has increased dramatically in recent years, as has his violent behavior,” Heard states in the papers.
She accuses Depp and his team – she cites 20 unnamed John Doe defendants whom she claims were complicit in defaming her – of going on a “publicity tour” with the purpose of trying to discredit her allegations. “Depp and his representatives further ‘went on the offensive’ during the publicity tour repeatedly making false public allegations about Heard to the press, accusing her of being manipulative, a blackmailer, and blaming her for the breakup of the marriage – as if Depp’s alcoholism, drug addiction and campaign of violence against his wife played no part.”
The lawsuit, which was filed in Arizona, where Stanhope lives, also states: “Defendants knew the statements about Heard in the Defamatory Article were completely untrue and fabricated, and they did not care, because their only concern was helping Depp by trashing the reputation of his wife, who loved Depp, even though she had been repeatedly physically and verbally abused by him.”
In court documents responding to Heard’s initial court filing for a temporary restraining order, Depp’s attorney, Laura Wasser, alleged that Heard “is attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”
Two days after Heard was granted a temporary restraining order against Depp, Stanhope penned a guest column on TheWrap titled, “Johnny Depp Is Being Blackmailed by Amber Heard – Here’s How I Know,” in which he claimed the actress manipulated and threatened to lie about Depp to the press.
Heard responded to Stanhope’s claims in a letter to TheWrap, written by her lawyer, Peter Sample. The letter stated that the publication printed “outrageous and defamatory false claims” about the actress.
“The foregoing allegations against Ms. Heard are absolutely and unequivocally false,” Sample writes in the letter obtained by PEOPLE.
The lawyer for Heard, 30, denies claims she “has been manipulating Johnny Depp and is now blackmailing him by telling about his domestic abuse,” and demanded the story be retracted from TheWrap.
Source Cowan: (Entertainment Weekly)