Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Lists Numerous ‘Wild Allegations’ In Closing Statement
Closing arguments were made on Friday (27 May) during Johnny Depp’s $50m defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Each side will have two hours to summarise their case as the six-week trial nears its end. Depp’s legal team were first up to give their closing arguments, with the actor’s lawyer Camille Vasquez calling Heard a ‘deeply troubled person’.
Vasquez claimed the Aquaman star is ‘desperate for attention and approval’ while criticising her ‘wild allegations’ against Depp, accusing Heard of ‘doctoring’ injury images and ‘lying’.
Vasquez told jurors: “Miss Heard struck a blow against Mr. Depp that was more damaging than any physical blow she had ever landed, when she walked into court six years ago today on May 27, 2016.”
She added: “[Depp] resolved to leave Miss Heard, he was done. And when Miss Heard learned that Mr Depp was done, that she was really losing him, she went on the attack.
“She filed for divorce before Mr Depp could. Then, as you Heard from Mr Depp’s divorce lawyer, Miss Heard sent a letter, demanding financial support. And when her demands weren’t met, Miss Heard struck a blow against Mr Depp when she walked into court [in 2016] to get a domestic violence restraining order against Mr Depp.”
Vasquez went on: “She did so in front of paparazzi with a mark on her face. The evidence presented at this trial demonstrates that Miss Heard didn’t just want a divorce, she wanted to ruin him.”
She said it's up to jurors to ‘hold Miss Heard accountable for her lies’, adding: “What is at stake in this trial is a man's good name. Even more than that, what's at stake in this trial is a man's life.”
Vasquez went on: “There is an abuser in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp. There is a victim of domestic violence in this courtroom, but it is not Miss Heard.”
Vasquez also inferred that Heard knowingly presented doctored images of abuse, saying: “These photos were taken at the exact same time, and have the exact same file name. But they are visually different.”
She told the court: "What we have is a mountain of allegations that are wild, over the top and implausible. You can't pick and choose which of these wild allegations to believe and which ones to disregard.
"You either believe all of it or none of it. Either Mr. Depp assaulted Miss Heard with a bottle in Australia, or Miss Heard got up on that stand, in front of all of you, and made up that horrific tale of abuse."
Vasquez went on: "Either she's a victim of truly horrific abuse, or she's a woman who is willing to say absolutely anything. It is disturbing to think that Miss Heard would make up the horrific tales of abuse that she testified to in this courtroom."
Judge Penney Azcarate said in court that in order for the jury to reach a favourable verdict for Heard, they must determine the statements made by Adam Waldman were done so with actual malice.
Heard has now countersued for $100 million, claiming Depp has defamed her and characterised her abuse allegations as a hoax.
Heard’s lawsuit centres around her claim that Depp defamed her via statements made to the press by Waldman, his attorney.
It was in those statements that Waldman called Heard’s allegations a ‘hoax’ and an ‘ambush’ orchestrated by Heard and her friends.
Depp is suing his ex-wife over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote, in which he claims she defamed him by suggesting he was abusive towards her, despite the actress never mentioning him by name.
Referring to the op-ed, Judge Azcarate said jurors must read the entire article and can't seize on any ‘one word, phrase or image’.
In order to side with Depp on these points, jurors must find that Heard acted with knowledge that the statement was false.
Once Heard’s team gives their closing argument, jury deliberations will begin and are expected to stretch into next week.
The six-week trial began on 11 April and has seen multiple witnesses take to the stand at Circuit Court in Fairfax County.
Depp testified he has never hit Heard nor 'any woman in [his] life' during the trial, while Heard admitted to striking the Pirates of the Caribbean star on multiple occasions, but insisted it was only to 'defend [her]self'.
When the jury goes into deliberation, jurors must decide: “Did Amber Heard defame Johnny Depp in a 2018 op-ed article for The Washington Post?”
The trial has seen multiple witnesses take to the stand at Circuit Court in Fairfax County, Virginia.
The likes of psychologists – who have commented on Heard's mental state – and Depp's bodyguards – who testified about the actor's drug use – have all taken to the stand.
Depp's ex-girlfriend Kate Moss even appeared via video link to testify on an incident that occurred when the pair were on holiday in Jamaica.
Moss told the court she was never pushed down a set of stairs during her holiday with her then-boyfriend, but instead slipped.
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