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Divorce settlement challenge at heart of Depp bid to overturn ruling

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Johnny Depp’s bid to overturn a High Court ruling that he assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard rests on what she did or did not do with her divorce settlement.

Following a three-week trial in July last year, Mr Justice Nicol dismissed the Hollywood star’s libel claim against the publisher of The Sun finding that an April 2018 column calling Mr Depp a “wife beater” was “substantially true”.

The actor is now asking the Court of Appeal to grant permission for him to challenge the ruling, with the aim of having its findings overturned and a retrial ordered.

Mr Depp is trying to overturn last year’s ruling on the basis Ms Heard lied about giving the entirety of her seven million US dollar (£5.5 million) payout to charity.

Lawyers for the actor allege that the Aquaman actress has been basking in the glow of philanthropy when in fact only a fraction of the millions she promised to two charities has ever reached them.

Johnny Depp court case / PA Wire

Mr Justice Nicol said at the time he rejected allegations Ms Heard was out to profit from her ex financially, saying: “Her donation of the  seven million US dollars to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger.”

The actor’s legal team say his ex-wife had effectively “tipped the scales” against him through exaggerated claims of her own generosity.

At a hearing at the High Court on Thursday, lawyers for Mr Depp submitted evidence allegedly proving that only a fraction of the settlement has been paid to the two charities it was promised to.

They alleged just 100,000 dollars (£72,000) was paid to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles – paid directly by her ex-husband’s accountants – and only 450,000 dollars (£322,000) had reached the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

In a statement made in August 2016, Ms Heard vowed that 3.5 million dollars (£2.5 million) would be given to each charity.

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