Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation case before jury

A dynamic that could decide the fate of a defamatory duel Johnny Depp and amber heard Appearing in closing arguments Friday: Depp overstated what he believed to be the evidence that he was abused, while Hurd overstated what she believed to be a legal standard that must guide the jury in her favor.

After a six-week trial, dozens of witnesses and exhibits were presented to the jury tasked with determining whether the actors had defamed each other in the media through more than three years of public libel. They will rule on the formulaic principles of defamation law.

In their closing remarks, Depp’s lawyers, in keeping with their trial tactics, portrayed Heard as the abuser in the former couple’s relationship, while Depp was portrayed as a pacifist trying to avoid signs of a row.

“There is an abuser in this court, but not Mr. Depp,” said Camille Vasquez, who represented the court. pirate actor. “There is a victim of domestic abuse in this court, but not Ms Heard.”

Heard’s representative, Ben Rottenborn, urged the jury to ignore what he called a red herring in Depp’s allegations. He argued that it didn’t matter whether Hurd abused him.

“If Amber has been abused by Mr Depp once, she has won,” Rottenborn said. “We’re not just talking about physical abuse. We’re talking about emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse.”

11 jurors, 6 men and 3 women and two alternate jurors, considered closing arguments at trial in Fairfax County, Virginia, centered on an op-ed published in December 2018 . Washington post She calls herself a domestic abuse survivor. Although the column did not mention him by name, Depp claimed she defamed him because the claims in the article matched the time the pair were married. After Depp sued for $50 million, Hurd hit back with a $100 million countersuit, saying her ex-husband coordinated a campaign aimed at smearing her.

While the central question at the trial was whether Depp abused Heard, the allegedly defamatory remarks in Heard’s column were: 1. “I am against sexual violence — and confront the wrath of our culture.”; 2. “Then two I became a public figure representing domestic violence years ago, and I felt our culture’s anger at women who speak out.”; 3. “I have a rare vantage point to see in real time how agencies are protecting those accused of abuse. .”

Vasquez played an audio recording of Heard admitting to beating up her ex-husband while giving closing arguments for Depp’s case, and how she encouraged Depp to ‘tell the world’ and ‘see how the jury and the judge think’ of his claims she also abused His account served as third-party witness testimony, undercutting her claim that Depp was allegedly harmed.

“Who’s really accusing the scam here?” Vasquez asked. “Who wants you to believe everyone else is lying – perjury.”

Throughout the trial, one story in particular came under scrutiny: Depp’s finger was severed during a fight in Australia in 2015. In Depp’s version of events, Heard injured his finger when he threw a vodka bottle at him. In Heard’s account, Depp smashed his finger in a drug-and-alcohol-induced coma before he raped her with a bottle.

Vasquez tried to sabotage Heard’s account of the fight, emphasizing that she didn’t take any pictures of her alleged injuries, but instead took the time to document Depp’s writing on the walls of the house, which he said he did when he had a nervous breakdown of. What’s more, Vasquez noted that none of the witnesses who testified for the incident, including Depp’s security and medical professionals, had corroborated Hurd’s claim that she suffered multiple injuries in the attack.

“Miss. A horror story is heard made up: drug-addicted Mr Depp lashed out at her during the three-day ordeal, cutting off his own fingers, dragging her through a glass, leaning her back against a counter and drinking whisky bottle raped her,” Vasquez said. “She claimed she had bruises on her face, wounds on her arms and feet and was bleeding from her vagina as a result of the sexual assault. What did Ms Heard say she did? She said she went upstairs, took sleeping pills and fell asleep “The next morning, she took a picture of her husband’s mirror in paint. She didn’t take a picture of herself, her alleged injuries, or the damage to property she testified in court.”

In rebutting, Rottenborn told jurors that whether Hurd cut Depp’s finger “has nothing to do with your deliberations here.”

“Amber could have chopped it off with an axe, it had nothing to do with whether Mr Depp abused her or not,” Rottenborn said.

Much of Rottenborn’s closing remarks were in clarifying the jury’s instructions on the high standards of Depp’s victory in the defamation suit.

Hurd insists that the op-ed was never about Depp, and she didn’t even write it. This claim was corroborated by ACLU general counsel Terence Doherty, who testified that the group made extensive edits to the op-ed to avoid defamation lawsuits and that Hurd did not push to include details of her marriage to Depp. .

“Just because people might read this and remember that Ms Heard was once married to Johnny Depp and she accused him of abuse, that doesn’t mean she designed and intended to be anything defamatory in writing about herself meaning,” Rottenborn said.

There has also been extensive discussion about whether Hurd meets the republication standard under defamation law.

One of the legal issues the jury will decide is whether Hurd republished the column by retweeting the article. She will only be held accountable if she is found to have retweeted or redistributed content sufficiently to reach a new audience. Merely linking a hyperlink does not equal a reprint.

Rottenborn argued that Heard did not republish the article because “nothing was added to the article” in her tweet. In order to hold her accountable, he said, she must detail the abuse she suffered at the hands of Depp.

The alleged defamatory statement that constitutes Hurd’s counterclaim involves allegations by Adam Waldman, one of Depp’s attorneys, who had the case dismissed after leaking information covered by a protective order to the media – Hurd’s abuse The allegation is a a statement daily mail Waldman was quoted in the counterclaim as saying, “We have reached the beginning of an end to Ms. Heard’s abusive hoax against Johnny Depp.” He said in another article that Heard “framed Mr. Depp by calling the police.” ‘, referring to law enforcement’s visit to the couple’s house after Heard refused to bring domestic abuse charges against Depp.

Elaine Breidhooft, who also represents Hurd, pointed to testimony from friends of Hurd who came forward to challenge Waldman’s account of events.

“They were trying to suggest that she was working with her friends to create evidence to try and frame Mr Depp,” Breidhoff said. “There’s nothing more outrageous than that. She doesn’t want the police to press charges.”

A jury will decide whether Waldman acted on Depp’s behalf when he made the allegedly defamatory remarks. Depp testified that he only saw his comments when Hurd countersued Waldman.

For either side to win, they must prove that the other side made the so-called defamatory statements with genuine malice, or know that they knew the statements were lies or recklessly disregarded the truth.

Lawyers for both parties also spoke about the larger impact of the trial, which was launched at the height of the #MeToo movement. Depp’s side argued that Hurd, the ACLU women’s rights ambassador, betrayed the cause that propelled her career forward.

“Nobody came out of the woodwork and said #MeToo,” said Benjamin Chow, who also represents Depp. “This is a unique case of #MeToo, there isn’t a single #MeToo.”

Meanwhile, Hurd’s side urged jurors to consider the consequences of supporting Depp in the case.

“Think of the message Mr. Depp and his lawyers sent to Amber and by extension to every domestic abuse victim around the world,” Rottenborn said. “If you don’t take a picture, it doesn’t happen. If you take a picture, it’s fake. If you don’t tell your friends, they’re lying. If you do tell your friends, they’re part of the scam If you don’t seek medical attention, you are not injured. If you do seek medical care, you are crazy. If you do everything you can to help your spouse, your loved one, get rid of the sadistic, full Overwhelming drug and alcohol abuse by angry monsters, then you’re a nagging. If you finally decide enough is enough – you’ve had enough fear, you’ve had enough pain, and you have to leave to save yourself – you’re a gold digger That’s the message Md is asking you to send.”

The jury begins its deliberations after closing the statement. If no verdict is given on Friday, they will resume on Tuesday.