Depp’s team delivers the last savage Heard blow

The gloves went off in the bitter defamation lawsuit between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, when both sides got their last chance to influence the jury.

American actor Johnny Depp’s defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard is now in the hands of jurors who have begun deliberating after hearing explosive closing arguments in court.

Attorneys for both Depp, 58, and Heard, 36, made their final appeals to the jury on Friday, local time, after dozens of hours of testimony and six weeks of torrid mutual allegations of domestic abuse between the famous couple in Fairfax County Court, Virginia. .

Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez received a final brutal blow by claiming the… Aquarius actress had no friends.

“You may have noticed that no one showed up for Ms. Heard in this courtroom except her sister,” Ms. Vasquez said.

“Every other witness who traveled to Virginia before her was a paid expert.

“This is a woman who burns bridges. Her good friends don’t show up for her.”

Ms Vasquez then gave another cheeky swipe at Heard, in response to her lawyers’ claims that all of Depp’s witnesses testifying in the case were “on his payroll” and too scared to argue with him.

“Kate Moss is definitely not on Mr Depp’s payroll,” said Ms Vasquez, referring to the British supermodel. explosive testimony this week dispelling a rumor Depp pushed her down a staircase

Depp’s team portrayed him as the victim of Heard’s false allegations of physical, sexual and psychological abuse, which have destroyed his career and reputation.

They claim Heard is a “very troubled person” who sought revenge when Depp caused her deepest “separation anxiety” and “splitting” during arguments.

In stark contrast, Heard’s attorney Benjamin Rottenborn called Depp “a monster” who not only abused his ex-wife but also continued an ongoing smear campaign after Heard filed for divorce. “In Mr. Depp’s world, you don’t leave Mr. Depp,” he said. “If you do, he will launch a campaign of global humiliation against you.”

Vasquez first delivered her closing arguments, telling the jury that Heard had “made up a horror story” based on “wild, exaggerated and implausible” allegations of physical and sexual abuse against Depp.

“You believe it all or nothing,” Ms Vasquez told the jury Friday morning.

“Either Ms. Heard has been sexually assaulted (by Depp) with a bottle in Australia…or she is a woman who wants to say absolutely anything.

“What Ms. Heard has testified in this courtroom is a story of far too many women, but what the evidence shows is that it is not Ms. Heard’s story.”

Vasquez described Heard’s allegations as “false” and “defamatory”, adding that they caused “irreparable damage” to Depp and “ruined his life”.

She taunted Heard for her “performing” in court, claiming the starlet used her acting experience to “play the part of her life as a heroic survivor of brutal abuse.”

Ms. Vasquez told jurors that during the six-week trial, they saw Heard “sobs without tears while spinning elaborate, exaggerated, fantastical” allegations of domestic violence.

“It was a performance,” she added.

“She has told you what she thinks you need to hear in order to convict this man for domestic violence and rape.”

The attorney argued that the evidence presented by Heard’s legal team “does not confirm” that the actress has been abused “countless times”, including the fact that there are no medical records documenting her alleged injuries.

“There is nothing,” said Ms. Vasquez.

Why Depp could lose the case

Heard’s attorney, Ben Rottenborn, began his closing argument by reminding the jury that the burden of proof was on Depp and that he had to show that every case of abuse Heard accused him of is false. He pointed out that if Depp is to win the civil case, it must also be proven that Heard’s allegations were made with malice.

“If Amber has been abused even once by Mr. Depp, then she wins,” Rottenborn said.

“We’re not just talking about physical abuse, we’re talking about emotional abuse, physical, financial abuse, sexual abuse.”

While Depp appears to have an overwhelming amount of public support, his team must set the bar high to meet the demands of proving defamation and winning the case.

“It’s not about who’s the better husband,” said Mr. Rottenborn.

“It’s not about whether you think Mrs Heard offended Mr Depp.

“If you think they both insulted each other… Amber wins.”

‘In the heart and mind of America’s favorite pirate’

Mr Rottenborn pointed to text messages previously shown in court where Depp had written that he wanted to “f**k dan (Heard’s) corpse” and another in which he claimed she was “begging for global humiliation”.

“Ladies and gentlemen, these words are a window into the heart and mind of America’s favorite pirate,” Mr. Rottenborn said of Depp’s vulgar text messages about her.

“This is the real Johnny Depp.”

Heard appeared to be fighting back tears and could be seen taking a deep breath as her attorney guided the jury through the many cases where she was allegedly abused.

“A ruling against Amber here sends the message that whatever you do as a victim of abuse, you should always do more,” Mr Rottenborn said.

“Whatever you document, you always have to document more. Whoever you tell it to, you should always tell more people. No matter how honest you are about your own imperfections and your own flaws in a relationship, you have to be perfect for people to believe you. Don’t send that message.”

‘The real Amber Heard is scary’

Another of Depp’s attorneys, Benjamin Chew, completed his team’s closing arguments.

“You’ve now met the real Amber Heard: it’s scary,” he began.

“Before Amber Heard, no woman ever claimed that Mr. Depp raised a hand to her, in his 58 years… (nor) has a woman come since.

“This is ‘MeToo’ without a ‘MeToo’.”

Chew went on to name some of Depp’s former girlfriends, including British supermodel Kate Moss, American actor Winona Ryder and the mother of his children, Vanessa Paradis, with whom he had a 14-year relationship.

He said none of these women had ever publicly accused Depp of violence against them and further emphasized Ms Moss’ testimony in which she defended Depp.

Mr Chew insisted his client “stoically” carried the serious charges against him for six years and filed the lawsuit to tell the truth and clear his name, even though he knew the trial would be embarrassing.

Judge Penney Azcarate handed the case over to the seven-member jury on Friday afternoon.

“You should in no way base your judgment on sympathy, biased guesswork or speculation,” Judge Azcarate said as he gave deliberations to the jurors on Friday morning.

“Your judgment must be based solely on the evidence and instructions of the court. Your judgment must be based on the facts as you find them and on the law you find in all these instructions.”

The panel will be free on weekends and Mondays, a public holiday in the US, and will resume deliberations on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a source close to Heard accused the Depp team of “trying to trick the jury’s attention into looking at sensational, lecherous things — anything but what this case is about: freedom of speech”.

“We hope the jury is not distracted by noise and nonsense,” the source said, according to a statement Heard’s representatives provided to on Friday.

Depp sued Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018, describing herself as a “public figure who represents domestic violence”.

Depp, 36, denied during his four days on the witness stand that he ever physically assaulted Heard, claiming that she was the one who was often violent.

Heard, who starred in Aquaman, didn’t mention Depp in the article, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million ($A72 million) in damages.

Texas-born Heard filed a counterclaim for $100 million ($A144 million), accusing him of orchestrating a “defamation campaign” against her and describing his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment.”

The counter-claim alleges that Depp’s then-lawyer Adam Waldman defamed Heard when he called her allegations of abuse a hoax.

Depp filed the defamation complaint in the United States after losing a separate libel case in London in November 2020 that he brought against The Sun newspaper for calling him a “wife beater.”

Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, and Heard met in 2009 on the set of The rum diary and married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized two years later.

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