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Johnny Depp asks to move Amber Heard trial date that conflicts with 'Fantastic Beasts' filming

Johnny Depp is requesting his defamation trial against Amber Heard set for next year be moved so it doesn't interfere with filming the latest "Harry Potter" spinoff movie. 

The actor, 57, filed a civil suit against Heard, his ex-wife, over a Washington Post column proclaiming herself a victim of domestic abuse and leaving the strong impression that Depp was the alleged abuser.

In legal documents filed August 21 and obtained by USA TODAY, Depp's team asked for the court to reschedule the jury trial, currently set to begin in Fairfax County, Virginia, on Jan. 11, to "sometime between March and June 2021." 

Depp's legal team argues that the court date originally did not cause any schedule conflicts, but the novel coronavirus pushed back Warner Bros.' shooting schedule for the third film in the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise, in which Depp plays dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. 

USA TODAY has reached out to Heard's representative for comment. 

The motion was filed two days after Depp's manager received a letter from Warner Bros.' legal team which reminded the actor he was contractually obligated to report to filming in London "on an exclusive basis commencing in early October 2020 and running through and including the middle of February 2021," wrote Glenn A. Eckerle, Warner Bros. Pictures Senior Vice President of Legal Affairs.

"Though Mr. Depp is eager to proceed to trial, he faces an untenable situation over which he has no control," Depp's legal team argues, noting he could face breach of contract if forced to carry on with the trial in January. "Good cause therefore exists to continue the trial date." 

Earlier this summer, Depp and Heard faced off in another trial, this time in the United Kingdom. Depp sued British tabloid The Sun for libel after the outlet accused him of abusing Heard, who attended the trial to testify against her ex-husband. 

Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court in London, Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

In closing arguments at the three-week trial in July, Depp’s lawyer, David Sherborne, said the actor strongly denied “this reputation-destroying, career-ending allegation.”

“He has never hit a woman in his entire life — period, full stop, nada,” Sherborne said.

Judge Andrew Nicol was expected to hand down his ruling several weeks later. 

More:Johnny Depp's UK libel case wraps up: His lawyer says Amber Heard lied during trial

Since reaching a divorce settlement in August 2016, Depp and Heard have battled against each other in civil court with allegations of domestic abuse and defamation.

In March 2019, Depp filed the Virginia civil lawsuit against Heard seeking $50 million and accusing her of defaming him by setting herself up as a "domestic abuse" victim in an opinion column she published in The Washington Post the previous December.

Heard shot back by filing more than 300 pages of documents, expanding on the abuse allegations she lodged against Depp during their divorce in 2016, claiming Depp regularly beat her up before she married him in 2015 and continued during their 18-month marriage.

She attached multiple pages of photos of herself with bruises on her face, scars on her arms and hair allegedly torn from her head, plus pictures of wrecked rooms – broken glass and overturned furniture – that she says Depp inflicted on their home. She included screenshots of dozens of text messages describing these incidents at the time, and excerpts of her divorce deposition describing shocking abuse.

Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard:All the nasty bits of the UK trial — and it's all nasty

Heard's California lawyer, Eric George, in a statement to USA TODAY at the time, said what she had submitted constituted "irrefutable evidence" of the alleged monstrous behavior of Depp, whom she refers to as "the monster" in the documents.

But Depp went a step further in May 2019, saying that "while mixing prescription amphetamines and non-prescription drugs with alcohol," Heard "hit, punched and kicked me. She also repeatedly and frequently threw objects into my body and head, including heavy bottles, soda cans, burning candles, television remote controls and paint thinner cans, which severely injured me."

As evidence, he submitted a photo of his black and puffy eyes and scratches. The actor also detailed an alleged attack by Heard one month after their marriage in Australia during his described efforts to get Heard to sign a post-nuptial agreement. Depp said the conversation resulted in the severing of his fingertip from a shattered glass bottle thrown by his then-wife.

Contributing: Maria Puente