The members of the jury have started this Friday to deliberate on lawsuits for defamation of actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heardafter six weeks of contradictory testimonies about the troubled and short-lived marriage of the former Hollywood partner.
Depp, the star of “Pirates of the Caribbean58-year-old sued ex-wife Heard in Virginia for 50 million dollars and argued that she defamed him when he called herself “a public figure depicting domestic abuse” in an op-ed he wrote.
Heard, 36, countersued for $100 millionsaying that Depp smeared her when her lawyer called her accusations “jokes”.
But Depp has always denied hitting Heard or to any woman, thereby claiming that she has said that she was the one who became violent in their relationship.
“Bring Depp Back to Life”
“Mr Depp experienced persistent verbal, physical, and emotional abuse by Mrs. Heard,” Depp’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, said in closing arguments on Friday.
He said Heard’s accusations of abuse by Deppincluding a sexual assault with a liquor bottle, were “wild, exaggerated and implausible“and had ruined his reputation in Hollywood and among the fans.
“We ask you to give mr depp his life back telling the world that Mr. Depp is not the abuser that Mrs. Heard says he is,” Vasquez said.
Heard’s attorney, Benjamin Rottenborn, in his closing argument, reminded jurors of Depp’s explicit text messages to friends or associates. In one, Depp called Heard a “filthy whore” and said he wanted her dead and would “fuck her burnt corpse.” “This is a window into the heart and mind of America’s favorite pirate,” said Rottenborn. “This is the real Johnny Depp“.
At the center of the legal case there’s Heard’s December 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post, in which he made the statement about domestic abuse. The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyer told jurors it was clear Heard was referring to him.
Heard’s attorneys argued that she had told the truth and that his comments were protected as free speech under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
“Your key question to answer is ‘does the First Amendment gives Mrs Heard the right to write the words she wrote?” Rottenborn told the jury. “You can’t defend the First Amendment and simultaneously rule in favor of Johnny Depp.”
The verdict? Next week
If the jury makes no decisions on Depp and Heard’s claims and possible damages this Friday, the seven-person jury is scheduled to return on Tuesdayafter the holiday of Memorial Day in the United States.
Depp and Heard met in 2011 during the filming of “The Rum Diary” and they were married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized about two years later.
Throughout six weeks of process, the members of the jury they have listened to recordings of the former couple’s fights and have seen graphic photos of Depp’s bloody finger.
depp said that Heard threw a bottle of vodka that cut off the top of her finger. during an argument in 2015. Heard denied hurting Depp’s finger and said Depp sexually assaulted her that night with a bottle of liquor.
The testimony was broadcast live widely on social mediadrawing large audiences to hear details about the couple’s troubled relationship.
Heard’s accusations cost him “everything”
Once among the biggest stars in Hollywood, Depp said that Heard’s accusations cost him “everything”. A new “Pirates” movie was put on hold, and Depp was replaced in the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise, a “Harry Potter” spinoff.
Depp lost a libel case less than two years ago against the Sun, a British tabloid that branded him a “woman beater.” A London High Court judge ruled that he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.
The lawyers of Depp filed the case in the United States in Fairfax County, Virginia, because the Washington Post is printed there. The newspaper is not a defendant.