After six weeks of testimony from Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s legal teams, both sides delivered closing arguments today, and jury deliberations began. The seven-person jury must now reach a verdict on whether Depp’s ex-wife’s domestic violence claims, which stem from a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post, were defamatory toward Depp. Heard has countersued Depp for $100 million, claiming damages from Depp’s suit and statements from his lawyers.
Following more than 100 hours of testimony, Judge Penney Azcarate instructed the jury on how to handle their deliberations moving forward. For Depp’s defamation suit, a conclusion must be made about whether Heard’s op-ed was false, defamatory, showed actual malice, and was in reference to Depp. For Heard’s countersuit, a conclusion must be made about whether Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman statements—which described Heard’s claims as “a hoax”—were defamatory to Heard.
Depp’s team’s closing statements
Depp’s lawyers Camille Vasquez and Ben Chew both took turns on the stand, providing highlights of various witness testimony clips, asserting to the jurors that Heard allegedly fabricated her arguments and should be considered “the real abuser.”
“He has lost nothing less than everything because of Ms. Heard’s lies,” Chew said. Depp’s team also referenced previous testimonies alleging that Heard showed symptoms of borderline personality disorder, and noting that she didn’t yet donate her full $7 million divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union as promised. She also potentially provided TMZ with a tip ahead of filing a restraining order against Depp at a Los Angeles court six years ago, the lawyers said.
“This is not a Me Too situation,” Vasquez said. “There are no me too’s, just not me’s”—a reference to Heard releasing the op-ed in 2018, within the height of the #MeToo movement.
Heard’s team’s closing statements
Heard’s lawyers Benjamin Rottenborn and Elaine Bredehoft countered Depp’s team’s arguments, claiming that Depp is the real “monster” and that the evidence overwhelmingly leaned in Heard’s favor. Their closing arguments included various photos, videos, and audio clips that referenced Depp’s alleged drug and alcohol abuse and alleged violent behavior and language. They also defended Heard’s right to the First Amendment of freedom of speech.
“It’s not about whether you think Ms. Heard may have been abusive to Mr. Depp,” said Rottenborn. “Remember, if you think they were both abusive to each other, then Amber wins.”
What happens next?
With both sides having rested their case, the jury is now adjourned for deliberations. If the jury memebrs do not reach a verdict by Friday evening, they will return for deliberations on May 31, after the holiday weekend. Judge Azcarte has granted Heard’s request to seal the jury’s identities for up to a year.
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