The trial between Hollywood star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard is nearing its finale. The final speeches were delivered on Friday, and now the jury is to deliberate on the verdict. The actor’s defense attorneys called for his reputation to be restored by a verdict, and Heard’s attorneys asked jurors to recognize her right to freedom of speech.
After six weeks of a high-profile process followed by millions of people around the world, it is time for the closing talks. The defense attorneys of actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard delivered them on Friday in a Virginia court.
The star’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, began by asking the jury to “hold Mrs. Heard accountable for her lies.” She also said that the actor “experienced sustained verbal, physical and emotional abuse by Heard.” She claimed that Heard’s allegations of abuse by Depp were “wild, exaggerated, and unbelievable” and ruined his reputation in Hollywood and among fans.
“We are asking you to restore Mr. Depp to his life by telling the world that Mr. Depp is not the perpetrator of the violence that Mrs. Heard speaks of,” Vasquez said, addressing the jury. She assessed that “the stake in this process is a person’s good name” and even his “life”.
Attorney Heard quotes Depp’s news
Benjamin Rottenborn – Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard’s lawyer – was similar to text messages Depp sent to friends or associates. In one of them, the star called Heard a “dirty whore”, saying he “wants her dead” and “f *** her burnt corpse”. “It’s a window to the heart and mind of America’s favorite pirate,” said the actress’s lawyer. “This is the real Johnny Depp,” he added.
He also asked for recognition of the right to freedom of speech as guaranteed in the constitution. – The key question to be answered is: does the First Amendment give Ms Heard the right to write the words she wrote? Rottenborn asked. “You can’t stand up to the First Amendment and rule in favor of Johnny Depp at the same time,” he said.
The seven-person easy is to settle the matter on Friday late in the evening (on Friday night in Poland). If that fails, however, the jurors will reconvene on Tuesday.
Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2011, when Depp was still involved with Vanessa Paradis. He did not marry Heard until 2015. As both parties agree (and many witnesses in the trial), initially their relationship could be described as idyllic, but everything started to go wrong very quickly. The divorce took place in 2016.
Two years later, the Washington Post published a column in which Amber Heard describes herself as a victim of domestic violence, referring to her time with Depp. He was not mentioned by name, but British tabloid “The Sun” soon called him a female boxer. Depp sued the newspaper for defamation – and lost, because it was shown that he had indeed committed 12 acts of violence against his partner.
He was then thrown out of the cast of “Fantastic Beasts”. Bad reputation meant that he also had to part with the role of Jack Sparrow, in which he already played in five films from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, and in the following years he could not count on any involvement.
Therefore, he decided to bring a libel lawsuit against his ex-wife, demanding $ 50 million in damages from her. In response, Heard wants $ 100 million for insinuating that she is lying and violating her reputation. Her lawyers, who blame Depp for his addictions for failures, also refer to the US constitutional right to freedom of speech and emphasize that the actress in the column mentioned wrote about herself, not about him. The trial – with the permission of the judge televised – is taking place in Fairfax, Virginia, where the printing houses and servers of the Washington Post (which is not a party to the case) are located.
Cut finger, rape, bottle penetration… Who is to blame for violence?
From the testimonies of the witnesses and the people themselves, as well as the statements of their lawyers, it appears that both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have a lot behind their ears when it comes to violence in their evidently unhealthy relationship. Depp was reportedly drugged to brutally rape Heard during the couple’s stay in Australia in 2015, to abuse them, and to penetrate them with a bottle. The security guard who accompanied them did not confirm this, but testified that it was the actor who had been attacked. Depp claims that Heard threw a bottle at him, causing him to lose his fingertip. And that he did not report it earlier, so as not to cause problems for the ex-wife. Heard, in turn, says that Depp mutilated himself, incl. He cut with a knife and put out the cigarettes on his body, and with his bleeding finger, he wrote offensive words on the wall. And yes, she also beat him, but only in self-defense, never initiating attacks.
Some witnesses disagree with the latter, e.g. the manager of the actor’s estate in the Bahamas or the policemen who were summoned several times to the Depp home, as well as the star himself. Defense witnesses admitted that they often saw him with jealousy and anger.
The judge and the seven-man jury looked at photographs showing the injuries to the faces of both Heard and Depp; with the contents of a letter in which Heard Deppa apologizes for hurting him; with recordings in which he, in turn, challenges and insults his partner; as well as the text messages the star exchanged with actor Paul Bettany in 2013, throwing up ideas of burning Heard, drowning her (in that order), and raping the corpse.
Actress Ellen Barkin, associated with Depp in the 1990s, admitted that he was drunk most of the time, and on one occasion threw a bottle of wine across the room. Top model Kate Moss auditioned last weekwith whom the star dated between 1994 and 1998, however, denied that she was pushed down the stairs by him, as previously recalled by Heard.
Is Amber Heard lying?
Amber Heard’s credibility was repeatedly called into question during the trial. A neighbor of the couple testified, for example, that when the actress came to him after the alleged row to show him bruises on his face – he did not see anything disturbing. The accused’s lawyers claimed she was hiding the injuries under makeup. They even presented as proof the cosmetics that she was supposed to use for this purpose. But their manufacturer says they were only released some time after the couple’s divorce. Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez also noted the lack of evidence of violence in the form of forensic examinations, as well as Heard’s use of double standards in the field of stimulants.
The divorce ruling ordered Heard to donate several million dollars of the assets then allocated to her to charity. The foundation, which was supposed to support in this way, received only a part of the promised amount. Heard claims she was transferring the money in installments, and she stopped doing so when Depp sued her for damages. It turned out, however, that not all tranches came from her account. He is responsible for one of them Elon Muskwith whom she dated after breaking up with Depp.
After spending 12 days with Heard, a therapist called as a witness, concluded that the actress was emotionally unstable, and acting alternately like a princess, an aggressor and a victim is the aftermath of borderline personality disorder. She is also characterized by a histrionic personality, manifested, inter alia, in manipulation to gain other people’s attention. Curry backed up her opinion with the results of Amber Heard’s earlier mental health studies.
But do they explain perhaps the strangest element of the “process of the decade”, which was the recall of the situation in which the actress was to leave Johnny Depp’s waste in bed after a brawl? Heard claimed one of her dogs was to blame. However, the testimony of the couple’s bodyguard, whom Heard told about the “surprise” left behind, as well as the size of the latter – too large to be accounted for by a petite teacup yorkie dog – testify against this version of events.
Amber Heard versus Johnny Depp – reactions of Internet users and fans
Heard has become the laughingstock of the Internet. Both the above incident and the subsequent lies that came to light turned public opinion against the actress. Her appearances in court were accused of insincerity and parodied on social media, and the decision to cut her out of “Aquaman 2” was met with loud approval.
On the other hand, Depp, who was initially treated poorly as an alleged perpetrator of violence, has become a crowd favorite. When he appeared in court, fans chanted his name and applauded him as he left the courtroom. One day, one of them even brought two alpacas to “make the day pleasant” for the actor. At the sight of Heard, the crowd outside the courthouse booed. The hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp (Justice for Johnny Depp) on TikTok has seen 16 billion hits, while #JusticeForAmberHeard has just 51 million views, of which in many cases the demand for justice was based on the expectation that Heard would be punished.
Depp vs Heard – who will win?
However, the public support that Johnny Depp can count on is not enough for the actor to win the lawsuit. After all, it was about proving that the actor did not commit violence against his ex-wife. Amber Heard may be considered unbelievable, but the testimonies of the witnesses give the presumption that the violence did indeed take place. Especially since it is not only physical aggression.
It may happen, however, that neither Depp nor Heard will receive compensation if neither party convinces the jurors. The latter are not bound by any time limit for issuing a verdict, therefore it is not known exactly when the verdict can be expected. It can be assumed, however, that the jury meeting will take a while and the discussion will be fierce.
Washington Post, TVN24, Reuters, BBC
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Steve Helber / POOL