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Amber Heard Makes Bizarre New Accusation, Says Johnny Depp Lawsuit Verdict is Void as It Was Held in The Wrong US State

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Johnny Depp, left, and Amber Heard have each filed appeals in a defamation case.Credit...Steve Helber/Associated Press

Ms. Heard’s lawyers argue in their appeal that the trial was held in the wrong state, and that the judge erred in prohibiting evidence they say supports her claims of domestic abuse.

Months after Johnny Depp prevailed in a defamation case against Amber Heard, who accused him of physical and sexual abuse, he has begun testing the status of his public image, appearing in a fashion show backed by Rihanna and an awards show in which he delivered tongue-in-cheek laugh lines about his derailed career.

But in a Virginia appeals court, the legal battle continues.

Last week, Ms. Heard’s lawyers filed an appeal in hopes of overturning a jury’s verdict that Ms. Heard had defamed Mr. Depp, her former husband, in 2018 by describing herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” in an opinion essay in The Washington Post. Mr. Depp, who was not named in the essay, was awarded more than $10 million in damages.

Claims that are factually accurate cannot be ruled defamatory. So although the case technically hinged on statements from Ms. Heard’s essay, much of the trial focused on whether her accusations that Mr. Depp had subjected her to repeated physical abuse — including punching, head-butting and sexual assault — were true.

Mr. Depp vehemently denied Ms. Heard’s accusations, and during the trial, he argued that she was the aggressor in their relationship.

In their 68-page appeal, Ms. Heard’s lawyers lodged an array of legal objections, arguing that the trial was held in the wrong state and taking issue with the judge’s decision to exclude certain pieces of evidence, including contemporaneous notes from therapists that they say document allegations of abuse. They asked for the jury’s verdict to be reversed, either with a dismissal of Mr. Depp’s claims or a new trial entirely.

“The trial court improperly prevented the jury from considering several separate instances in which Heard reported Depp’s abuse to a medical professional,” the lawyers wrote.

Mr. Depp’s legal team has also appealed part of the verdict — the jury awarded Ms. Heard $2 million in damages, agreeing that a lawyer for Mr. Depp defamed her in comments to a newspaper — while otherwise declaring victory.

“The jury’s emphatic favorable verdict on all three defamatory statements alleged in his complaint fully vindicated Mr. Depp and restored his reputation,” Mr. Depp’s lawyers wrote in their court filing, which was submitted to the Court of Appeals of Virginia this fall.

A manager for Mr. Depp testified that it became “impossible” to get his client cast in a studio film after Ms. Heard’s essay was published, and Mr. Depp said his career prospects tanked after it was made public that Ms. Heard had obtained a temporary restraining order because she said he had assaulted her. (Ms. Heard’s lawyers argued that there were other reasons for his career troubles, including “unprofessional behavior” described by his former agent, such as showing up late to sets and having trouble with lines.)

During the trial, Mr. Depp’s fans flooded the courthouse to support him. Now, six months later, there are signals that he is again being embraced by some in the entertainment world.

Last month, he had a cameo in a streamed fashion show for Rihanna’s lingerie line, Savage x Fenty, in which he swaggered for the camera in loungewear as dancers flanked him. During MTV’s Video Music Awards, his face was digitally superimposed onto the body of the network’s moon man mascot, and he jokingly offered his services for weddings and bar mitzvahs, quipping, “I needed the work.”

“It’s pretty clear that Johnny Depp is back,” said Evan Nierman, a public relations executive. Even if Ms. Heard prevails on appeal, he said, “the public has already moved on.”

Still, it is unclear whether major Hollywood studios will be willing to back Depp, who for decades was a coveted leading man. In addition to his starring role as Jack Sparrow in five “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, he received Oscar nominations for “Sweeney Todd” and “Finding Neverland.”

Mr. Depp, 59, is now involved in at least two movies: a French historical drama by the filmmaker Maïwenn in which Mr. Depp plays King Louis XV, and a film about the Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, which Mr. Depp is set to direct. Neither appears to have backing from a major American studio, though Al Pacino and Barry Navidi are involved in producing the Modigliani film.

Ms. Heard, known for her work in films including “Aquaman” and “Pineapple Express,” has largely retreated from public life since the trial, when she was the subject of intense online criticism. At one point, she called the ridicule of her testimony “agonizing” and said she had received thousands of death threats. The actress is also in a legal dispute with an insurance company over whether the judgment in the defamation case is covered by her policy.

A week before Ms. Heard, 36, filed her appeal, a group of women’s and domestic violence organizations, as well as professors, activists and lawyers, signed an open letter condemning a “monetized social media environment where a woman’s allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault were mocked for entertainment.” Among the signatories were the feminist activist Gloria Steinem, the actress Constance Wu and the filmmaker Amy Ziering.

Nicole Bedera, a sociologist who studies sexual violence and signed the open letter, called Mr. Depp’s re-entrance into the mainstream entertainment world “hugely disappointing” but ultimately unsurprising.

“In our society, when we think a man has been wrong and has not gotten the opportunities we believe he was entitled to,” she said, “then we’re very quick to correct it by offering more opportunities.”

Ms. Heard’s appeal criticizes the lower court’s decision that the case could be heard in Virginia, based on an argument by Mr. Depp’s lawyers that The Washington Post’s computer servers are there. Ms. Heard’s lawyers wanted the case moved to California, where both actors lived, arguing that it was otherwise difficult for Ms. Heard to call live witnesses.

Ms. Heard’s appeal also challenged Judge Penney Azcarate’s decision to allow the defamation case to proceed at all after a judge in a separate case in Britain had ruled there was evidence that Mr. Depp had repeatedly assaulted Ms. Heard. Mr. Depp lost that libel suit, which he had filed after The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper, called him a “wife beater.”

Evidence presented in the British case that Ms. Heard’s lawyers argue was unfairly kept from Virginia jurors included 2015 records kept by a psychologist about a fight in which Ms. Heard related that Mr. Depp had “started the physicality — pushed her down,” as well as reports to a nurse of physical violence. Judge Azcarate excluded the evidence as hearsay.

“If not reversed, the trial court’s exclusion of contemporaneous reports of domestic abuse to medical professionals will make it more difficult for other abuse victims to prove allegations of abuse, and likely deter them from coming forward,” Ms. Heard’s lawyers wrote. (A lawyer working on her appeal, Jay Ward Brown, has represented The New York Times in the past.)

Mr. Depp’s appeal contends that Ms. Heard’s victory on one of three claims in her countersuit should not stand, arguing that Mr. Depp was not responsible for statements made by his lawyer at the time. In comments to The Daily Mail, the lawyer, Adam Waldman, had accused Ms. Heard of damaging the couple’s penthouse and blaming it on Mr. Depp.

“If clients cannot control the details of their attorneys’ work, it makes little sense that clients should nonetheless be held accountable for their attorneys’ tortious actions,” Mr. Depp’s current lawyers wrote.

A panel of judges will decide on both appeals, after which either side can seek to revive its claims once more in the Virginia Supreme Court.

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Chicago prosecutor drops sex abuse charges against R. Kelly

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R. Kelly arrives for a hearing on sexual abuse charges in Chicago on May 7, 2019.Kamil Krzaczynski / AFP via Getty Images file

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told reporters that her office believes “justice has been served” against Kelly, who has been convicted in federal court.

An Illinois prosecutor dropped 10 charges of sex abuse against the singer R. Kelly on Monday, saying the cost was one of the factors she weighed in her decision.

Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is already serving a 30-year prison sentence on charges of federal racketeering and sex trafficking after he was convicted in New York last year.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx told reporters that her office believes “justice has been served” with the two convictions. She said her office’s “limited resources and court time” were the ultimate factors, noting that it found the accusations to be credible.

“Mr. Kelly is looking at the possibility of never walking out of prison again,” Foxx said.

Kelly is set to appear Tuesday in Cook County Court, where the charges will be formally dropped. The state has accused Kelly of sexually abusing four people, three of whom were minors.

Foxx announced the state’s case in 2019, saying the incidents occurred from May 1998 to January 2010. Kelly had faced three to seven years in prison for each charge if he were convicted.

The women in the case were identified in the indictment only by their initials. Multiple women have come forward with allegations over the years.

Lifetime aired a six-part docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly,” in January 2019 in which multiple women alleged Kelly subjected them to mental, physical and sexual abuse. Foxx urged potential victims to come forward to speak with her office about possible criminal activity after the series.

Foxx said Monday that she consulted with the women in the indictment before she decided to drop the charges, acknowledging that some might be disappointed.

“I know firsthand how difficult it is for you to tell your stories,” Foxx said. “Four years ago, I stood at this podium and shared my story of having been a survivor and my full understanding of what it means to have to go before strangers to discuss what is arguably one of the most horrific experiences one could have. And these women, all of them Black, came forward, believing that they would be heard.”

Kelly also faces state charges in Minnesota, where he has been accused of soliciting a minor for sexual purposes and engaging in prostitution with a minor.

In the New York case, Kelly was convicted on nine counts of racketeering and sex trafficking. Jurors found that he set up a criminal enterprise that enabled him to recruit and transport underage girls for sex.

Months later in Chicago federal court, he was convicted on six counts of sexual exploitationand enticement of a minor. He is scheduled to be sentenced on those charges Feb. 23.

Kelly’s attorneys have said he plans to appeal both federal convictions.

Source: NBC NEWS

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50 GB Of Unreleased Michael Jackson Songs Stolen And Leaked

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Renowned music engineer Brad Sundberg’s laptop was stolen this week during a break at one of his “In The Studio With MJ” events in Brussels, leading to the leaks of several unreleased songs by the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

Sundberg’s laptop contained a significant amount of unreleased material by the iconic singer, predominately from the late 1980s and early 1990s. He would play them for fans who attended the events over the years.

The stolen songs, which were recorded during Michael’s “Bad” and “Dangerous” eras, have now surfaced on various online platforms, causing a frenzy among the fans. This is not the first time that unreleased material by Michael has been leaked, but under the circumstance of the theft, it’s certainly the most shocking and disappointing.

Fans have urged others to refrain from sharing or downloading the leaked songs, as they were not intended for public release and may contain unfinished versions of the tracks, as well as damage any plans for potential future releases.

We at MJWN are deeply saddened by the events. We hope those involved will be brought to justice. We will not be posting any links to the stolen material, nor naming the songs that have been leaked.

Michael’s Estate has yet to release a statement on the matter.

Source: MJWN

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‘Addams Family’ Tv Actress Lisa Loring Dead at 64

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Lisa Loring, the first Wednesday in 1964's 'The Addams Family', dies at 64

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