Johnny Depp has rested his case against ex-wife Amber Heard in his defamation trial.
Depp, friends, and employees testified he controlled his liquor and Heard was abusive toward him.
Heard previously testedified that Depp threatened to kill her and deflected blame.
For the past three weeks, a Virginia jury has heard from Johnny Depp — as well as a parade of the actor’s family, friends, and employees — about his ex-wife Amber Heard’s excessive drinking, argumentativeness, and pinchant for treating him like a human punching bag.
Now it’s time for Heard to tell her side of the story.
The former couple is currently locked in a high-profile defamation trial, centered on a 2018 Washington Post op-ed where Heard insinuated she had been the victim of domestic violence at Depp’s hands.
Depp claims the article ruined his reputation and career and wants Heard to pay for it — to the tune of $50 million. In reality, Depp says, Heard abused himmocking his weight and career and physically assaulting him throughout their relationship.
If you’ve been following the trial so far, you’ve heard a lot about how Depp was “a total Southern gentleman” while Heard admitted to escalating arguments to violence, threw a glass vodka bottle at him and severed his finger, faked a bruise on her face and PTSD symptoms, yelled at subordinates, was jealous of his friends, threw his phone out the window, and possibly pooped on their bed. It’s gone so badly for Heard that she replaced her public relations team in the middle of the trial.
That’s just the nature of a court trial. The plaintiff gets to present their first witnesses. The defendant gets to make their case after that. On Tuesday morning, Depp rested his case, so now it’s Heard’s turn.
In Heard’s countersuit, she alleged Depp physically assaulted her in drug and alcohol-fueled rages on multiple occasions before and during their marriage. The relationship ended in divorce in 2016 after she showed up with a bruised face to a Los Angeles court and petitioned for a restraining order against Depp.
And we have every reason to believe that when Heard presents her case, there will be fireworks.
Johnny Depp has painted himself as a gentleman and Amber Heard as a vicious liar
The centerpiece of the trial so far has been the four days that Depp took the stand in the Fairfax County, Virginia courtroom. He told in his own words the story of his turbulent relationship with Heard.
He said her domestic violence claims tainted his reputation in Hollywood where he was once one of the biggest movie stars in the world, and caused him to lose out on jobs. Dozens of fans have shown up to support him in court, and many more online, upset that he isn’t reprising his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise, and starring in blockbusters like “Alice in Wonderland” ” and the “Fantastic Beasts” series anymore.
Depp spoke at length about his childhood, and how having an abusive mother molded him into a pacifist. Whenever he was confronted with his erratic mother, and later Heard, he would try to extricate himself from the situation rather than rise to their provocations, he said.
Many of the other witnesses called to the stand corroborated parts of Depp’s story. Depp’s older sister said it wasn’t in his nature to be abusive, because of what they had both experienced as children from their mother.
Depp and the other witnesses consistently tried to downplay his drug and alcohol use as well, something which Heard’s team has signaled will become a major part of her defence.
While Depp admitted to become dependent on opioids because of a leg injury, he claims never to have drank alcohol or used recreational drugs to excess.
Depp has also preempted arguments from Heard’s team in other ways. In his telling, Heard’s lawyers have misrepresented his joking, exaggerated text messages about drug use and burning and drowning Heard’s body in a way that make him look like a monster. He also said he lied about the circumstances of his finger getting cut off to medical professionals in order not to get Heard “in trouble.” When Heard’s lawyer cross-examined him, Depp was testy and downplayed or tried to raise doubts about audio and video recordings Heard took of the couple fighting.
Insider previously spoke to legal experts who said they felt Depp performed well on the stand.
“I think he did a good job of coming off vulnerable and authentic and truthful,” entertainment lawyer Mitra Ahouraian said.
Depp’s legal team has also gone on the offense, calling to the stand a forensic psychologist who evaluated Heard and testified she was prone to violence and making up stories, lining up with Depp’s side of the story. An executive at the ACLU, too, testified that Heard failed to donate the money she promised from her divorce settlement with Heard, instead of receiving some money from Elon Musk.
Amber Heard previously testified Depp ‘threatned to kill’ her
In opening statements, Heard’s lawyer said this case was about one thing only — whether Heard was exercising her First Amendment right to free speech by writing her 2018 op-ed.
While Depp’s legal team dug into the minutia of his relationship with Heard to try and cast doubt over her domestic violence claims, Heard’s lawyers will no doubt try and steer the jury’s mind back to the op-ed and whether the claims in they were essentially true . Heard has an advantage in this case because the burden is on Depp to prove that her claims were false.
But there are other reasons why Depp may have brought this case. His career has waned because, he says, Heard unfairly ensnared him into the #MeToo movement. Winning this case, or at least airing out his side in full public in its entirety, may be the only way to clear his name.
The trouble is, he already tried that. In 2020, he went to trial against the owners of The Sun, a British tabloid, which called him a “wife beater,” citing Heard’s allegations. He lost that case, held in the UK, where libel laws are more favorable to plaintiffs than they are in the US. The judge wrote that Heard’s claims about Depp were “substantially true.”
Heard took the stand in the UK case. And if you look back at her testimony there, it spells bad news for Depp.
She testified in 2020 that Depp “explicitly threatened to kill” her, choked her, and falsely accused her of infidelity. He threw bottles at her as if they were “grenades,” she said, on the night his finger got cut off in Australia. Depp later blamed his actions on a third-party, “the monster,” in a way that deflected blame, according to Heard. Depp, in his testimony, gave a tortured explanation of how he used the phrase “monster,” describing it as the term he used for his struggle to get sober.
Heard admitted to punching Depp once, but she said it was in self-defense. And the poop on the bed? She blamed it on her dogs.
A source close to Heard’s legal team told Insider that her first witness will be Dawn Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist, who is expected to testify about domestic abuse.
After Hughes, Heard is expected to take the stand herself.
If he’s used this case to rehabilitate his career, Depp hasn’t succeeded just yet. While hordes of online fans have expressed their support, major studios aren’t exactly running to sign him up for more blockbusters.
And when Heard testifies, Depp may learn that his efforts were for nothing.
Law & Crime Network host Jesse Weber says Depp still has an uphill battle towards victory in the case.
It’s becoming more difficult to show that there was abuse.
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