June 19, 2024


The Legal System

Virginia’s anti-SLAPP law part of Depp’s legal strategy


Johnny Depp’s legal team may have considered Virginia’s relatively loose anti-SLAPP law when they decided to sue Amber Heard in Virginia rather than California, where both entertainers live and work. 

The point of the anti-SLAPP statute is to block rich and powerful people or companies from using lawsuits to silence their critics. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation, and it is supposed to protect free speech. 


Over 30 states and the District of Columbia have anti-SLAPP laws. Steven Krieger, an attorney who practices in Virginia, tells FOX 5 “anti-SLAPP statues were created to give the little guy the opportunity to get the case dismissed relatively quickly and get their attorneys’ fees.” 

“But there are some conditions and the conditions for every state are different,” Krieger explains. “California’s anti-SLAPP statute is more robust than Virginia’s. 

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Heard’s legal team tried to get the case moved to California and argued that it should be dismissed under both California’s and Virginia’s anti-SLAPP statutes. 

They were not successful, but the issue could come up if the case gets appealed. 

The jury will resume deliberations Tuesday morning around 9 a.m. at the Fairfax County Courthouse. FOX 5 will be there, so you can stay ahead of the verdict announcement. 


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