Marc Piasecki/WireImage; Phillip Faraone/Getty Johnny Depp (L); Amber Heard
A New York judge has ruled in favor of Johnny Depp's request to determine whether ex-wife Amber Heard followed through with donating part of her divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
The actress, 35, previously pledged to donate her $7 million settlement to both the ACLU and Children's Hospital Los Angeles shortly after the pair's divorce was finalized in 2017. According to the court papers, filed by Depp and his lawyers in New York and obtained by PEOPLE this past May, they have been asking both organizations to share how much Heard has donated.
USA Today reports that a judge in New York has granted Depp, 58, permission to determine whether the Aquaman actress donated to the ACLU. The organization has been asked to release documents to confirm.
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"Mr. Depp is most gratified by the Court's decision," the Sweeney Todd actor's attorney, Benjamin Chew, told the outlet in a statement.
In a July 22 hearing transcript provided to PEOPLE by Heard's attorney Elaine Bredehoft, Bredehoft said her client is still planning to donate one half of her total settlement to the ACLU and the other half to CHLA — and while "it is undetermined what those payment schedules will be," Heard has already made "the first payment toward the pledges" and then some — specifically, "more than a million" each to the ACLU and CHLA.
"We produced the documents from the ACLU on how much she has. She has always said she fully intends to continue to give the full $7 million, but she can't do it yet. She will do it when she can. But she has given a significant amount to both," Bredehoft added of Heard, in part.
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Venturelli/Getty; John Phillips/Getty Amber Heard (L); Johnny Depp
Depp sued the ACLU back in May to force the nonprofit to reveal whether Heard made the donations she pledged after their divorce settlement.
In the court papers, Depp "respectfully request(ed) that this Court enter an order directing the ACLU Witnesses to fully comply with the Subpoenas." Depp sought the documents for his ongoing $50 million defamation case against Heard for her 2018 Op-Ed about domestic violence published in The Washington Post.
The subpoenas were for "discovery concerning any donations to the ACLU Foundation by Ms. Heard or in her name, and/or any public statements related to such donations; communications with Ms. Heard or those acting on her behalf concerning her relationship with Mr. Depp and divorce from Mr. Depp; discovery concerning Ms. Heard's work as an 'ambassador' for the ACLU Foundation and the conception, drafting, and placement of the Op-Ed; and communications with Ms. Heard or those acting on her behalf concerning the Virginia Action and the preparation and submission of the Wizner Declaration."
Depp previously claimed Heard hadn't donated the money while hoping to overturn the ruling in his "wife-beater" libel case against the U.K.'s The Sun earlier this year. Depp's lawyers argued the judge was swayed by Heard's pledges to charity.
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In reply, Heard's legal team stated that she has done "nothing dishonest" with her donations to both charities and that she "pledged to pay over 10 years" — something they added was "understood" by the ACLU.
To support this, the actress's attorneys provided their own evidence, which they said showed Heard has gifted $950,000 to the ACLU and $850,000 to the CHLA through anonymous donors. (In April 2018, the hospital also mentioned the Justice League star on their 2017 donors list honor roll in a category for donations between $1 million and $4,999,999 million.)
In a written judgment handed down by the Court of Appeal in London, Lord Justice Underhill and Lord Justice Dingemans refused Depp's application for a fresh trial on the grounds that a second hearing was unlikely to produce a different outcome.
After the court's ruling was made, a spokesperson for Heard said in a statement to Yahoo Entertainment, "We are pleased — but by no means surprised — by the Court's denial of Mr. Depp's application for appeal. The evidence presented in the UK case was overwhelming and undeniable. To reiterate, the original verdict was that Mr. Depp committed domestic violence against Amber on no fewer than 12 occasions and she was left in fear of her life. The verdict and lengthy, well-reasoned Judgment, including the Confidential Judgment, have been affirmed. Mr. Depp's claim of new and important evidence was nothing more than a press strategy, and has been soundly rejected by the Court."