After just a six-week trial wherein Johnny Depp and Amber Heard ripped each other apart over the nastiness of their brief marriage, both sides told a court Friday that they want their lives back.
In closing statements in the defamation trial of Depp against his ex-wife Amber, Camille Vasquez told the jury that Heard “destroyed his life by fraudulently claiming the public she was a victim of domestic torture at the hands of Mr. Depp.”
Meanwhile, lawyers claim Depp wrecked Amber by waging a harassment campaign against her after she separated from him in 2016 and publicly accused him of violence.
J. Benjamin Rottenborn, Heard’s lawyer, said, “In Mr. Depp’s world, you don’t leave Mr. Depp.” “If you do, he’ll launch a global shame campaign against you.”
Depp is holding out hope that the court case will help him reclaim his public image, despite the fact that it has become a spectacle of a savage marriage, with telecast cameras in the courtroom capturing every twist for a progressively rapt audience as fans weighed in on social media and queued overnight for prestigious courtroom seats.
Benjamin Chew, Depp’s lawyer, stated, “This matter for Mr. Depp has never been about money.” “It’s about Mr. Depp’s reputation and releasing him from the six-year prison sentence he’s been serving.”
In Virginia‘s Fairfax County Circuit Court, Depp will sue Amber for $50 million over an op-ed she published in The Washington Post in 2018 characterizing herself as “a public person representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers claim the story defamed him despite the fact that his name was never stated.
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After his attorney dismissed her charges as a fraud, Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim against the previous “Pirates of the Caribbean” star. Though the complaint has gotten less notice during the trial, Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, believes it gives the jury a way of compensating Heard for the damage Depp perpetrated on her even after they split up by organizing a defamation campaign.
“We’re pleading with you to bring this man accountable,” she told the jurors. “In his entire life, he has never accepted responsibility for anything.”
The seven-member civil jury began discussions at 3 p.m. on Friday and wrapped it roughly two hours later. They’ll start again on Tuesday.
Depp claims that he never struck Heard and that the charges of violence were made up by her. He has claimed that he was the one who was violently assaulted by Heard on several occasions.
“This courthouse has an offender, but it is not Mr. Depp,” Vasquez added.
Heard claimed during the prosecution about more than a dozen incidents of physical and sexual assault she claims Depp committed on her.
In her concluding remarks, Vasquez mentioned that Heard had to change her sworn testimony on the first occasion she claimed she was assaulted. Depp allegedly slapped her after she mistakenly smiled at one of his tattoos, according to reports. Heard originally stated that it occurred in 2013 — following a fairy-tale year of courting and passion — but then clarified that it occurred in 2012, very early in their connection.
“She’s abruptly removed an entire year of magic in this courthouse,” Vasquez remarked.
Numerous pictures of Heard with scars and bruises on her face have been shown to jury members, but some show only gentle redness while others show more serious injuries.
Vasquez charged Heard with distorting the images, claiming that proof that she exaggerated some of her bruises proves that all of her claims of abuse are false.
“You can believe all or none,” she remarked. “Either she’s been the subject of heinous, heinous abuse, or she’s a woman who will claim anything.”
In his closing remarks, Rottenborn stated that splitting hairs over Heard’s abuse proof misses the reality that she has mountains of evidence on her side and sends a harmful message to domestic-violence victims.
“If you didn’t take pictures, it didn’t happen,” Rottenborn said. “If you did take pictures, they’re fake. If you didn’t tell your friends, they’re lying. If you did tell your friends, they’re part of the hoax.”
And he rejected Vasquez’s suggestion that if the jury thinks Heard might be embellishing on a single act of abuse that they have to disregard everything she says. He said Depp’s libel claim must fail if Heard suffered even a single incident of abuse.
“They’re trying to trick you into thinking Amber has to be perfect to win,” Rottenborn said.
The jurors will have to evaluate not only if there was abuse, but also whether Heard’s op-ed essay can be regarded as legally defamatory when they consider it. The piece itself focuses on domestic abuse policy issues, but Depp’s lawyer claims that two paragraphs in the piece, as well as an internet headline, slandered Depp.
“2 years ago, I had become a public figure symbolizing domestic abuse, and I faced the full power of our culture’s fury,” Heard explains in the first sentence. Given that Heard openly charged Depp with domestic violence in 2016 — two years prior to she penned the piece — Depp’s lawyers say it’s a clear reference to him.
“I had the unique perspective position of observing, in real-time, how institutions shield men accused of misconduct,” she writes in another section.
“Amber Heard: I spoke out against sexual abuse – and suffered our culture’s fury,” runs the title on the website.
“She didn’t say anything about him.” Chew stated, “She didn’t have to.” “Everybody knew who Ms. Heard was speaking about and what she was referring to.”
Heard’s attorneys claim that she can’t be held responsible for the title since she didn’t create it and that the two passages in the story are all about how Heard’s life altered after she made the accusations, not the charges themselves.