Although the Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald actor's legal team had previously attempted to argue the Aquaman actress should not be allowed to invoke Virginia's Anti-SLAPP provision — which stands for "strategic lawsuits against public participation" — in her $100 million countersuit against Depp, Judge Penney Azcarte has officially ruled against his position in the matter.
The lawsuit came about after Heard wrote an inflammatory op-ed for The Washington Post in which she called herself a victim of domestic abuse — presumably at her ex's hands
Judge Azcarte's ruling does not mean that Heard is going to be found completely innocent of libel for her 2018 op-ed, only that she is not barred from speaking out about it in a public case, because the dangers of domestic abuse are a public concern, not a purely private one.
As OK! previously reported, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor recently hired powerhouse attorney Kathleen Zellner to assist him in the ongoing lawsuit as the trial date steadily approaches.
The famed lawyer is well known for overturning wrongful convictions, most notably for her work representing Steven Avery in Netflix's docuseries Making a Murderer.
"I have spent the last 30 plus years defending individuals who have been falsely accused of wrongdoing," Zellner explained her decision to represent Depp in a statement. "I welcome adding Johnny Depp to that list and joining his dream team who share this view and have so effectively been advocating for him."