Mounting an appeal to the ruling, Depp today applied to introduce “fresh evidence” into the legal battle, that was not heard during the original trial.
He claims Heard’s credibility as the central witness against him was boosted by her pledge to donate her $7 million divorce settlement (£5.5 million) to charity.
Depp’s legal team want to bring in evidence, said to show the money has not made its way to a children’s hospital and a violence against women organisation and she knew that when giving evidence.
Andrew Caldecott QC, for Depp, said there was a “striking lack of criticism” of Heard in the judgment, arguing: “Had the truth about the charity claim emerged at the trial, it would have materially affected the Judge’s consideration of Ms Heard’s evidence as a whole”.
He told today’s hearing the charity pledge was “a wholly remarkable act of philanthropy if true”.
“It’s a remarkable thing to do, and on any view it’s a considerable boost to her credit as a person.
“The secondary message is, we say it’s a potent subliminal message that I want him to pay but don’t want to keep a dime of his money because of the way I’ve been treated.
“In the context of this case, it implies revulsion at the way he has treated her physically.”
After the couple divorced in 2016, Ms Heard said she would split the seven million US dollars between the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
But, Mr Caldecott said, the hospital wrote to Mr Depp’s business adviser in 2019 to say Ms Heard had not made “any payments”.
He argued the donation pledge was a “calculated and manipulative lie, designed to achieve a potent favourable impression from the outset”.
Mr Caldecott said an original claim by Depp that Heard was a “gold-digger” had been abandoned during the libel trial, but he said the fate of the divorce settlement was still important when assessing the truth of Heard’s evidence.
Contesting the introduction of new evidence, The Sun’s lawyers argued the fate of the money was “peripheral” to Depp’s case, suggesting the fresh evidence was not new and would not have had an impact on the outcome of the case.
“Given the wealth of evidence”, they argued, “it is plainly wrong to suggest that the information that Ms Heard had not yet finished paying $7 million to charity would have made the slightest difference to the outcome of this case.”
Depp is applying today at the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal against the libel trial outcome.
He is arguing he did not receive a fair trial and challenges the original judge, Mr Justice Nicol, over conclusions he reached.
The Sun’s lawyers say the Court of Appeal should dismiss the challenge, as the judge had reached a conclusion after immersing himself in the evidence.
The judge originally found 12 of the 14 allegations of violence made against him were proved to the civil standard and the “wife beater” tag given to him in the 2018 Sun article was “substantially true”.
The hearing continues.