FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Jury selection started Monday for a long-anticipated libel lawsuit actor Johnny Depp filed against his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, whom he says falsely portrayed him as a domestic abuser.
Many have taken an interest in the case and some are asking one very specific question:
Why is the trial being held in Fairfax County, Virginia?
The answer is quite simple and comes down to one thing: computer servers.
Depp is suing Heard over an op-ed piece she wrote in The Washington Post in 2018. The article published was named Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change. The op-ed is still published on The Washington Post website and Heard refers to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
The article doesn't name Depp but the actor claims it clearly refers to allegations Heard made in other forms that she suffered abuse at his hands, accusations he denies.
Depp was allowed to sue in Virginia because the Post's online editions are published through servers located in Fairfax County. The Associated Press reports that Heard's lawyers attempted to move the trial to California but Depp's lawyer said one of the reasons they brought the case to Virginia is the commonwealth's anti-SLAPP law is not as broad as the one in the Golden State.
This isn't the first time Depp has sued over published content. The actor filed against a newspaper in England in 2018 but the judge there found Depp had assaulted Heard on a dozen occasions and put her in fear for her life on multiple occasions.