Falls Church, Virginia, USA
Lawyers for Johnny Depp called on a jury Friday “to give Mr. Depp his life back” by declaring that his ex-wife, Amber Heard, committed defamation.
Heard “ruined her life by falsely telling the world that she was a Survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp”, lawyer Camille Vasquez told the jury in closing arguments, referencing Heard’s accusations that she had been physically and sexually assaulted by Depp on numerous occasions.
Depp hopes the six-week trial will help restore his reputation, though it has become a spectacle of a troubled marriage, with streaming cameras in the courtroom capturing every turn to an increasingly rapt audience as fans weigh in. on social media and line up. overnight for coveted court seats.
“This case for Mr. Depp has never been about money,” said the Depp’s lawyer, Benjamin Chew.
He then added: “This is about Mr. Depp’s reputation and getting him released from the prison he has lived in for the last six years.”
Heard’s attorney, J. Benjamin Rottenborn, said the lawsuit is not about Depp’s reputation, but is part of an ongoing smear campaign Depp launched after Heard filed for divorce.
“In Mr. Depp’s world, you don’t leave Mr. Depp,” he said. “If you do, it will start a global humiliation campaign against you.”
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million dollars in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post, describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Her lawyers say that was defamed by the article even though he never mentioned her name.
Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim against Depp after his attorney called his accusations a hoax.
Although the counterclaim received less attention at trial, Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, said it provides an avenue for the jury to compensate Heard for the abuse Depp has inflicted on her by orchestrating a smear campaign against him.
“We ask that you finally hold this man accountable,” he told the jury. “He has never accepted responsibility for anything in his life,” he said.
Depp claims he never hit Heard and that she fabricated the abuse allegations to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings. She has said that Heard would often physically attack him.
“There is an abuser in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp,” Vasquez said.
Heard testified about more than a dozen episodes of physical and sexual assault that he said Depp inflicted on him.
Vásquez, in closing, pointed out that Heard had to revise her testimony about the first time she said she was beaten. Heard said Depp hit her after she inadvertently laughed at one of his tattoos. Heard initially said it happened in 2013, after a fairytale year of courtship and romance, but then corrected herself and said it happened in 2012, very early in her relationship.
“Now, in this courtroom, it has suddenly erased a whole year of magic,” Vasquez said.
Jurors have seen several photos of Heard with marks and bruises on the face, but some photos show only mild redness and others show more severe bruising.