CUNY deletes article on university alumna who served on Johnny Depp’s legal team


CUNY deletes article on university alumna who served on Johnny Depp's legal team

Actor Johnny Depp returns to Fairfax County Courthouse after a break during his trial against Amber Heard on April 13. Depp filed a defamation lawsuit against Heard, his former wife, after she wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post that accused Depp of domestic abuse. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 5 (UPI) — The City University of New York on Friday deleted an article from its newsletter to students celebrating an alumna of the school system who served on Johnny Depp‘s legal team.

Yarelyn Mena, a 29-year-old graduate of CUNY’s Hunter College, was featured in an article published Wednesday and emailed to students as part of the school system’s newsletter. In the article, reviewed by UPI, Mena gave her advice to students applying to law schools.

The article noted that Mena as a third-year associate attorney at the firm Brown Rudnick was the youngest lawyer on the team that defended the Pirates of the Caribbean actor in his high-profile defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard earlier this year.

“I worked with the team on the opening and the closing and was the master of the facts of all the evidence,” Mena said in the CUNY article. “If someone needed pictures or text messages, I would look them up and assist everyone as we went along.”

The article has since been replaced on the CUNY website with a message noting that the university system received complaints from students with “strong negative emotions” about the article. CUNY officials also apologized for publishing the article.

“We appreciate everyone who shared their concerns about an article in our newsletter featuring a recent CUNY graduate who worked on Johnny Depp’s legal team,” the message reads.

“We have removed it from our CUNYverse blog. The article was not meant to convey support for Mr. Depp, implicitly or otherwise, or to call into question any allegations that were made by Amber Heard. Domestic violence is a serious issue in our society and we regret any pain this article may have caused.”

Depp, 58, filed the $50 million lawsuit against Heard, 35, after she published a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post claiming that she was a victim of domestic violence though didn’t name him.

Heard countersued Depp for $100 million on counterclaim that she had been defamed by another attorney for Depp who had referred to her allegations of domestic violence as a “hoax.”

Depp was ultimately awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, though the latter were reduced to the state’s statutory cap of $350,000. The court awarded $2 million in compensatory damages to Heard for her counterclaim.

The removal of the article was blasted by KC Johnson, a professor of history at CUNY’s Brooklyn College, in a statement to Twitter.

“One line of the institution’s groveling apology could even be read as casting doubt on the jury’s verdict in the civil case,” Johnson said. “CUNY’s message to talented young grads who go into the law seems to be — we’ll celebrate you only if we institutionally approve of your client.”

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