Virginia Judge Penney Azcarate ruled on Tuesday, May 24, that the issue should instead be decided by the jury, per Variety, as she declared: "It's not my role to measure the veracity or the weight of the evidence."
According to Heard's $100 million counterclaim, Depp's attorney Adam Waldman defamed the actress and damaged her career when he claimed she and her friends perpetrated an "abuse hoax." (Heard claimed in a 2018 op-ed she was a victim of domestic abuse, and while she didn't directly name Depp in the piece, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor sued his ex-wife in 2019 for defamation.)
Heard's team rested their case on Tuesday morning, prompting Depp's team, who has gained notoriety over the past six weeks of the headline-making trial, to make the motion to dismiss the claim, an attempt that has been shot down.
Depp's other attorney Ben Chew pointed out Waldman was simply offering his opinion on the matter, and that he therefore could not have committed defamation. "He did not believe, and will to his dying day, that Ms. Heard's claims of abuse were patently false," Chew reportedly maintained, adding that there is no evidence their client knew of what Waldman said until Heard's counterclaim was filed.
However, Heard's lawyer Ben Rottenborn argued Waldman was acting as Depp's attorney, and that the actor was responsible for his lawyer's conduct. Rottenborn also declared there is substantial evidence to prove Depp has in fact abused his client, so it should be up to the jury to decide if damages should be awarded on the counterclaim.
"There was no hoax perpetrated. Mr. Depp is an abuser who abused Ms. Heard," Rottenborn reportedly lamented. "She did not conspire with her friends to create a hoax. She did not create a hoax herself."
Meanwhile, Heard's team made a similar attempt to dismiss Depp's $50 million defamation suit after his team rested their case on May 3. Azcarate denied the defendant's motion, meaning it will be up to the jury to decide on the A-lister's civil suit.
Depp's team is set to present witnesses on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 25, to dispute Heard's counterclaim. As OK! recently reported, the actor's ex Kate Moss is set to take the stand after Heard dropped her name while on the stand. Heard's name drop of the model was seemingly a huge win for the plaintiff's team, allowing for Moss to testify and likely dispute a rumor that her ex pushed her down a flight of stairs.
Closing statements are scheduled for Friday, May 27.