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Press group: Hollywood libel lawsuit could set bad precedent

The Associated Press

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) Free press advocates in Virginia are concerned that a libel lawsuit between two Hollywood stars could set a bad precedent.

The Virginia Press Association asked Friday to intervene in a $50 million lawsuit filed by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard. Depp says he was defamed by an article Heard wrote in The Washington Post. She never identified Depp by name but referred to herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse."

The press association argued Friday in Fairfax County Circuit Court that the case could set a bad precedent for cases involving "defamation by implication."

A judge, though, barred the press association from filing any briefs outlining its position. He said his job was to apply the law as it exists without considering the association's policy concerns.

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