For the past seven weeks, the world has been watching the court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. The closing speeches took place this Friday. Those arguments were delivered.
The day of the trial in Fairfax began on Friday with closing arguments. Judge Penney Azcarate announced that the names of the jurors in the trial will be kept secret for a year given the high profile of the case. She also urged the jury to show no bias, use common sense and consider all eyewitness testimonies. “You must not base your judgment on sympathy in any way,” she added.
Johnny Depp has sued his ex-wife Amber Heard for defamation, demanding $50 million in damages for publicly suggesting that Johnny Depp physically abused her. Amber Heard is also demanding 100 million in damages from him. There were many bizarre moments and terrible details of a failed marriage in the process. Today the lawyers summarize the most important details for the jury.
Johnny Depp’s Lawyers Begin
“We ask that you give Mr. Depp his life back by telling the world that Mr. Depp is not the perpetrator of what Ms. Heard claims. We also ask that Ms. Heard be held accountable for her lies,” it begins Johnny Depp’s legal team delivered the closing arguments for the actor. With visual support from photos and videos that have already been shown, the lawyer recalls many different moments to the jury. The jury saw a 2016 cover of People magazine that showed Heard with a bruised face. Heard intentionally leaked these photos to the press, although they were taken privately.
The lawyer repeatedly points out that many of the photos presented by Amber Heard have been edited. She compares live images of Amber Heard’s face to the injuries she attributes to Johnny Depp. A difference is clearly recognizable, one photo has a greater proportion of red, the injuries look worse and clearer than in the unedited image. Private photos of the actress and some of the events are also shown and attention is drawn to what physical abuse is said to have taken place on the same day.
“She told you what she thinks you need to hear in order to convict this man as an abuser and rapist,” Depp’s defense attorney Camille Vasquez said on Friday to the seven members of the jury. “She wants you to believe that she was abused countless times during their relationship.”
But there is no evidence of that, Vasquez continues. “What we have is a mountain of unproven allegations that are wild, exaggerated and implausible.” Vasquez urges the jury to side with Depp. “This is a man’s good name at stake. More than that, this man’s life is at stake, the life he lost when he was accused of a terrible crime.” Depp is not the perpetrator, but the victim in this case.
Attorney Ben Chew, on Johnny Depp’s team, reminds jurors that no woman before Amber Heard and after her has ever accused Johnny Depp of physical abuse. Chew also recalls Depp’s abusive childhood and how he was used to being exposed to an abusive woman, his mother, from an early age and preferred to hide even then.
However, Chew also admits that Depp admitted to using drugs and alcohol and that he was known for being chronically late on set. But he argues that has nothing to do with why he lost roles. Depp was not “expelled from Hollywood”, but lost roles such as “Jack Sparrow” in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series because of Heard’s allegations.
“She lies all the time,” adds Chew, saying the actress made her allegations of abuse public at a time when she was playing her biggest role in Aquaman. The plea ends with the statement that Hollywood would not hire a movie star accused of sexual abuse. He is asking the jury for monetary compensation for Johnny Depp for the “pain and humiliation caused by the defamation of Ms. Heard.” However, it was important to Chew to emphasize that the primary issue is not the money, but that Depp wants to restore his name and legacy to himself and his children. “Only you, ladies and gentlemen, can do that for him.”
The court called a recess after this first plea.
Now it’s Amber Heard’s team turn to deliver the closing arguments
Ben Rottenborn, one of Amber Heard’s legal team, starts off with tough stuff. Speaking to the jury, he said: “Consider the message Mr. Depp and his lawyers are sending to Amber and by extension to all victims of domestic violence around the world: If you didn’t take pictures, it didn’t happen. If If you took photos, they are fake. If you haven’t told your friends, you are lying. If you have told your friends, they are part of the scam.”
Rottenborn pointed out to the jury that she naturally wanted to draw attention to domestic violence in the interview at the time, but did not describe any details of the incidents, as she had to do in this trial. Likewise, the headline of the article “Opinion | Amber Heard: I spoke out against sexual violence – and faced the wrath of our culture. This has to change” was not chosen by her. He tells the jury they don’t have to decide whether Depp committed abuse to rule in Heard’s favor. “The purpose of the article was to encourage legislative action aimed at protecting people from abuse,” he stresses.
The attorney then addresses Depp’s legal team’s argument that the actress’ allegations of abuse are suspicious because she never sought medical treatment or spoke publicly about it before the trial. “They want to punish Ms. Heard for not speaking up sooner. This is ridiculous and it’s insulting and it’s victim blaming at its most disgusting.”
Rottenborn goes on to stress that the jury need not believe Depp was abusive, only that he failed to prove at trial that he never once abused her. “It’s not about who is the better spouse,” he says. “It’s not about whether you think Ms. Heard may have abused Mr. Depp.” If the jury thinks both were abusive, Amber wins, he adds.
“It’s about so much more than Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard”
Rottenborn also features photos of an apparently passed out dork and various messages from the actor to his friends writing that he needs to stop drinking. He also reminded the jury of alleged incidents on a flight to Moscow and one in Australia. There is “overwhelming evidence of abuse,” Rottenborn said.
Rottenborn: “This trial is about so much more than Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard. It’s about freedom of speech. Stand up for it, protect it and reject Mr. Depp’s allegations against Amber.” In conclusion, Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft calls Depp’s lawsuit “psychological abuse”. “We ask you to finally hold this man accountable,” says Bredehoft.
Actress’ defense urges Depp to accept responsibility for his wrongdoing. “He blamed everyone in the world: his agent, his manager, his lawyer, Amber, his friends,” said Heard’s defense attorney Bredehoft, addressing the seven members of the jury. “He has never taken responsibility for anything in his life. But we urge you to force him to take responsibility.”
This article will be continuously updated.