For weeks, millions of people heard and saw appalling evidence in the Depp-Heard trial. But who wins will come down to simpler things.
The defamation trial involving Johnny Depp and Amber Heard presents jaw-dropping — and sometimes sensational — details.
In addition to the allegations of physical abuse, jurors and viewers alike heard allegations of lawyers leaking, broken bottles, mirrors covered in blood, broken cell phones and keeping promises. We’ve even heard stories about feces being left on the bed.
But as the jury retreated to consider their verdict, the entire case — at its core — rested essentially on just 12 words: “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic violence…”
That sentence—actually just that half sentence—was published in a major newspaper under the name Amber Heard.
I heard Depp was being sued for $50 million (A$67 million) Washington post column.
She didn’t name Depp, but his team said it didn’t matter because the inference was clear – she claimed Depp was the abuser. He claimed Hurd’s allegations were false and cost him lucrative movie roles.
After six weeks of testimony in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Washington, D.C., the jury has now retired to consider their verdict.
Monday is a public holiday for Memorial Day in the United States, so the seven won’t see each other again until Tuesday, U.S. time.
They are likely to rule in Australia early on Wednesday. But the sheer amount of evidence already submitted means it could be a few more days.
Newspaper articles at the heart of the case
At the heart of the case is an article published by Hurd Washington post December 18, 2018.
It was titled: “I stand against sexual violence — and confront the anger of our culture. This must change.”
This article was co-authored with the ACLU, of which Hurd serves as an ambassador.
In the article, she said she “was abused at a very young age; she learned early on that “men have power”; and by the time she was in college, she had been harassed and sexually assaulted.
None of this will bring Heard to court.
But then came that sentence.
“Then two years ago, when I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, I felt the full rage of our culture against women who spoke out.”
Depp’s legal team said it didn’t matter that his name was not included in the article. That’s because, they said, anyone following the couple’s tumultuous relationship would have seen the reference two years ago and linked it to the May 2016 appearance of Hurd in a California court and obtaining a restraining order against Depp. .
During that court appearance, she appeared to have bruises on her cheeks. She also appeared on the cover of a major U.S. magazine, Sports Seemingly Injured.
Depp has denied ever assaulting his ex-wife, so his legal team said the article was a clear case of Heard defaming him.
UK cases before this trial
A judge ruled that Depp’s feelings for his wife during their tumultuous three-year relationship were summed up in a text in which the actor revealed he had “no mercy” towards her.
He also concluded that Depp had beaten Ms Heard 12 times out of an alleged 14 – starting in 2013, when he slapped her when she made comments about his tattoos.
But the legal system in England and the legal system in Virginia are different. And, in the UK, he’s suing a publication, not a person.
In the UK, the responsibility lies in sun Prove Depp attacked Heard. In the U.S., Depp has a responsibility to refute Heard’s claims about domestic violence.
Depp’s legal team has been trying to do just that for weeks. They questioned the authenticity of the bruised image, claiming she reported it to gossip site TMZ as part of a campaign to discredit Depp and that she – not him – was the real abuser in their broken relationship.
By contrast, Hurd’s team tried to establish a pattern of abuse from Depp.
Moss’ testimony doesn’t help Hurd
However, when proving this pattern is a bit unstable Depp’s ex-girlfriend and supermodel Kate Moss make dramatic walk into the stands last week.
The star’s testimony lasted four minutes, during which she denied Heard’s rumours in court that Depp threw her down the stairs while the ex-couple was on holiday in Jamaica.
Instead, Moss said, she slipped and Depp actually took care of her and received her medical attention.
“He never pushed me, kicked me or threw me down the stairs,” Moss said.
‘If Amber was abused by Depp once, she’d win’
But in Friday’s closing arguments, Hurd’s attorney, Benjamin Rottenborn, reminded the jury, The burden of proof is on Depp, who needs to prove that every abuse Heard accuses him of is false.
He noted that in order for Depp to win the civil suit, it would also have to prove that the allegations were brought in bad faith by Hurd.
“If Amber has been abused by Mr Depp once, she has won,” Mr Rottenborn said.
“We’re not just talking about physical abuse, we’re talking about emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse.
“It’s not about who is the better spouse,” he added.
“It has nothing to do with whether you think Ms Heard may have abused Mr Depp.
“If you think they’re all insulting each other…then Amber wins.”
Depp team says Hurd put on a ‘show’
Depp’s Camille Vasquez says Heard’s claims are ‘false’ and ‘defamatory’ as she put on a ‘show’ in court to play ‘her life as a hero of cruelty and abuse’ The role of survivors”.
“She tells you what she thinks you need to hear to convict this man as a domestic abuser and rapist,” Ms Vasquez said.
Depp’s team said the evidence of abuse presented by Hurd’s team was irrelevant or could have been manipulated. The star’s lawyer asked why no medical records existed if the abuses were spate of events.
Ms Vasquez also said that before Hurd, “no woman” had claimed Depp was violent.
Another lawyer for Depp chose the jugular.
“You know the real Amber Heard now: it’s scary,” Benjamin Chew told the jury.
Hurd countersued for $100 million (A$134 million) and claimed she suffered “rampant physical violence and abuse” at the hands of Depp, but was defamed when it was claimed she made the allegations.
Heard did not claim that Depp himself directly slandered her in public. But, she argues, his former lawyer was basically following his instructions when he told a newspaper that the abuse she claimed was a “hoax”.
The allegations, gory photos, images of smashed apartments and text filled with expletives made headlines in the case.
But Depp’s victory likely comes down to something simpler: 12 short words in a sentence.
– with Megan Palin.