For Depp’s declare, the jury is weighing seven questions, together with whether or not Heard made or printed three separate statements within the op-ed, together with the headline; in the event that they indicate or insinuate something about Depp; and if that’s the case, whether or not they had been false and/or made with precise malice. Beneath Heard’s counterclaim, the jury has to determine six questions, together with whether or not Waldman, whereas performing as an agent to Depp, made the statements, and in the event that they had been false and/or made with precise malice.
The seven-person jury, which can resume deliberations Tuesday morning, will weigh whether or not each are entitled to damages, and if that’s the case, what quantity. They started deliberating at about three p.m.
Depp’s workforce has tried to color Heard as vindictive and abusive, and the attorneys argued that she purposely destroyed his profession by accusing him of abuse. Depp lawyer Camille Vasquez stated the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor sought a divorce in Could 2016, after one yr of marriage, which enraged Heard. “She didn’t simply need a divorce. She needed to break him,” Vasquez stated throughout closing arguments.
Protection attorneys keep that Depp constantly abused Heard however that it doesn’t truly matter on this trial, pointing to free speech protected beneath the First Modification and that the op-ed doesn’t truly describe any of the alleged abusive acts to which Heard has testified. As an alternative, stated Heard lawyer Ben Rottenborn, it centered on her “experiences after Johnny Depp.”
“We’re not operating from the truth that when she mentioned turning into a public sufferer representing home abuse, Amber was talking of her expertise reporting home abuse towards Johnny Depp,” Rottenborn stated. “However that doesn’t make the article, or the statements, about Johnny Depp.”
Earlier than closing arguments started, Choose Penney Azcarate introduced that the names of the jurors might be sealed for a yr, given the high-profile nature of the case. The trial, which started on April 12, has garnered huge consideration and protection, even with raging struggle in Ukraine, the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade and a number of mass shootings.
Depp’s fandom has turned out overwhelmingly for the trial, sleeping on the sidewalks in a single day to get a spectator wristband to get within the courtroom. Tons of gathered behind courthouse by eight:30 a.m. Friday, eagerly ready for Depp to reach on what is likely to be his final day in court docket. “When y’all hear the bikes, it’s time,” one particular person suggested a gaggle. Some wearing pirate costumes, and one couple introduced a pair of collies named Donald and Danny, dressed up in ties as “Depp authorized workforce.”
In a courtroom stuffed to capability, either side made emotional pleas to jurors. Vasquez requested for the jury to provide Depp “his life again … what’s at stake on this trial is a person’s good identify”; whereas Rottenborn known as Depp’s lawsuit “victim-blaming at its most disgusting.”
“Take into consideration the message that Mr. Depp and his attorneys are sending to Amber, and by extension, each sufferer of home abuse all over the place: In the event you didn’t take photos, it didn’t occur. In the event you did take photos, they’re pretend. In the event you didn’t inform your folks, you’re mendacity. In the event you did inform your folks, they’re a part of the hoax,” Rottenborn added.
Vasquez informed the jury that Heard fabricated her claims and her testimony has been nothing greater than “a efficiency, the position of a lifetime.” She repeated a query Depp’s workforce has made all through the trial: Why aren’t there medical information or pictures detailing Heard’s alleged accidents, and why didn’t anybody see Depp abuse her?
“As an actress, she was photographed on a regular basis. The place are the photographs of the horrific accidents Heard describes?” requested Vasquez, who additionally once more questioned why, if Heard was so afraid that Depp would get drunk and excessive and beat her, she as soon as gave him an knife engraved with “until dying” as a present.
“That is MeToo with none MeToo,” Depp legal professional Benjamin Chew later stated.
Rottenborn, pointing to Depp’s heavy ingesting and drug use, questioned how the actor might even pretty account for what occurred. He reminded a jury of a number of allegations of abuse together with these at Hicksville, a Southern California luxurious trailer park the place Depp allegedly carried out a forceful cavity search on Heard earlier than trashing a trailer; on a flight to Moscow, throughout which Heard stated he hit her and threatened to interrupt the flight attendant’s wrist; and in Australia during which she stated he sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle.
Each side additionally addressed Depp’s notorious severed finger, which additionally occurred throughout that 2015 struggle in Australia. Depp claims Heard injured him by throwing a vodka bottle at him; the protection suggests he injured himself. Rottenborn stated it doesn’t matter: “Amber might have chopped it off with an ax, and it has nothing to do with whether or not or not Mr. Depp abused her.”
The closing arguments represented a wierd dichotomy that has existed all through the trial, during which Heard and Depp and their witnesses appear to recount the identical occasions in utterly totally different lights. Jamie R. Abrams, a legislation professor with the College of Louisville, stated the “mirrored defamation claims filed by either side towards one another” makes these closing arguments distinctive.
“Ordinarily, closing statements current the important thing strengths of the shopper’s case and emphasize the weaknesses of the opponent’s case to indicate the opposite aspect hasn’t met its burden,” Abrams stated by way of e-mail. “Right here, each circumstances have related weaknesses, which appears to be distorting among the focus within the closing arguments that you just may ordinarily see in trial work.”
The 2 actors initially met round 2008 or 2009 when Depp forged Heard in “The Rum Diary,” based mostly on the guide by Hunter S. Thompson. Heard’s half was described because the “dream lady.” That they had a flirtation on set however had been each in different relationships on the time (Depp with the mom of his two youngsters, Vanessa Paradis; Heard along with her spouse, Tasya van Ree). After they reconnected in the course of the movie’s press tour greater than two years later, they had been each single.
The 2 started a whirlwind romance as they promoted the movie, and Depp stated he considered her because the “excellent accomplice.” However a few yr in, as many individuals testified, issues began to collapse and the 2 began preventing on a regular basis. They bought married in February 2015, however in Could 2016, Heard filed for divorce and a restraining order.
Heard moved to Los Angeles as a youngster within the early 2000s to hunt performing work, incomes small elements in function movies similar to “Pineapple Categorical,” “Zombieland” and “Friday Evening Lights.”
Her break got here in 2017, when she was forged within the superhero movie “Justice League” as underwater princess Mera. It led to a co-starring position as the identical character, now the titular character’s love curiosity, within the following yr’s “Aquaman,” a film that grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. She’ll once more seem as Mera in subsequent yr’s “Aquaman and the Final Kingdom,” although that she testified her position has been diminished, and stated she believed it was due to the unfavorable publicity surrounding Depp’s lawsuit — notably by the statements made by Waldman, Depp’s legal professional, calling her allegations an “abuse hoax.”
Depp, in the meantime, grew to become a teen idol within the late 1980s after being forged within the Fox TV sequence “21 Leap Avenue,” which adopted the adventures of younger undercover law enforcement officials. He earned a popularity for enjoying eccentric characters, usually in Tim Burton movies, such because the titular “Edward Scissorhands” and Willy Wonka in “Charlie and the Chocolate Manufacturing unit,” however achieved world fame as Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney’s billion-dollar Pirates of the Caribbean franchise in 2003, which earned him his first of three Academy Award nominations for greatest actor.
Throughout the previous decade, nevertheless, he’s suffered a string of panned movies and box-office flops, together with “Mortdecai” and “Alice By the Trying Glass.” The protection argues that his heavy drug and alcohol use brought on his profession decline, however Depp blames Heard’s abuse allegations.
Mitra Ahouraian, a Beverly Hills-based lawyer centered on the leisure enterprise, stated the jurors are “most likely sick of this occurring for therefore lengthy.” She referenced Rottenborn stressing that the jury doesn’t have to imagine that Depp was abusive, solely that he failed in the course of the trial to show he by no means abused her even as soon as. “Listening to that as a jury member might be an enormous reduction. It simply makes it actually lots less complicated than, ‘Okay, who abused extra?’” she stated.
Helena Andrews-Dyer, Sonia Rao and Paul Schwartzman contributed to this report