Jurors begin deliberations on Friday A generationn Civil defamation trial between actors Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, lift the curtain on the stars’ troubled marriage after six weeks of courtroom drama.
In December 2018, Depp sued Hurd for $50 million in Fairfax County, Virginia Circuit Court over an op-ed in the Washington Post that called herself a “representative of domestic abuse.” public figure”.
Judge Penny Azcarat gave the jury instructions Friday morning before lawyers for Depp and Heard began their closing arguments. The jury’s deliberations will not only focus on whether there is abuse, but also on whether Hurd’s op-ed can be considered legally defamatory.
The article itself focused primarily on domestic violence policy issues, but Depp’s lawyers pointed to two paragraphs in the article, as well as a web headline they said defamed Depp, even though the article never mentioned him by name.
“She didn’t mention his name. She didn’t have to,” said Depp’s attorney, Benjamin Chew. “Everyone knew exactly who and what Ms Heard was talking about.”
In the first paragraph, Hurd wrote: “Two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our cultural anger.” Depp’s lawyers called it a clear reference to Depp. And, because Hurd publicly accused Depp of domestic violence in 2016 — two years before she wrote this article.
In the second paragraph, she said “I have a rare vantage point to see in real time how agencies are protecting men accused of abuse.”
The online headline was “Amber Heard: I stand against sexual violence – and confront the wrath of our culture.”
Hurd “ruined his life by falsely telling the world that she was a survivor of Mr. Depp’s domestic violence,” attorney Camille Vasquez told the jury in closing arguments.
Hurd’s attorneys argue that Hurd cannot be held responsible for the headline because she did not write it and that the two paragraphs in the article are not about the abuse allegations themselves, but how Hurd’s life has changed since she made them.
Heard filed a $100 million countersuit against Depp after Depp’s lawyers called her allegations a hoax. Although the counterclaim received less attention at the trial, Hurd’s attorney, Elaine Breidhooft, said it provided a way for the jury to compensate Hurd by orchestrating a defamation campaign against her. Hart for sports.
“We ask that you ultimately hold this person accountable,” she told the jury. “He never took responsibility for anything in his life.”
Depp, who said he never hit Heard, made up the abuse allegations to gain an advantage in the divorce proceedings. He said he was regularly physically attacked by Heard.
Jurors saw multiple photos of Hurd showing marks and bruises on her face, but some showed only mild redness, while others appeared to show more severe bruising.
Vasquez accused Hurd of doctoring the photos and said evidence that Hurd groomed some of her wounds proved that all her abuse allegations were baseless.
“You either believe it all or you don’t,” she said. “She was either the victim of ugly, horrific abuse, or a woman who would say anything.”
In Hurd’s closing remarks, attorney J. Benjamin Rottenborn said that nitpicking about Hurd’s evidence of abuse ignores the fact that the overwhelming evidence represents her and sends a dangerous message to victims of domestic violence.
“If you don’t take pictures, it doesn’t happen,” Rottenborn said. “If you take pictures, they’re fake. If you don’t tell your friends, they’re lying. If you tell your friends, they’re part of a scam.”
He rejected Vasquez’s suggestion that if the jury thought Heard might be glorifying a single act of abuse, they must ignore everything she said. He said that even if Heard suffered an incident of abuse, Depp’s defamation suit would certainly fail.
“They’re trying to trick you into thinking that Amber has to be perfect to win,” Rottenborn said.
Rottenborn told jurors that even if they were inclined to believe Depp’s claim that he never abused Heard, he still couldn’t win his case because Heard has a First Amendment right to speak on issues of public debate.
Depp hopes the six-week trial will help restore his reputation, even as it has turned into the spectacle of a vicious marriage, with broadcast cameras in the courtroom capturing more and more as fans take to social media to voice their opinions and line up. Every turn of the more engrossed audience for the coveted court seat overnight.