AceShowbiz - Johnny Depp's lawyers accused Amber Heard of lying while insisting his case was not motivated by money in the final arguments of the warring couple's trial. The "Aquaman" actress' side responded the case had been part of a smear campaign by the "Pirates of the Caribbean" actor.
Both actors' teams were heard by jurors for a final time on Friday afternoon, May 27, giving rebuttal arguments after a lunch break at Fairfax Courthouse, Virginia. The morning session saw both sides present fiery closing arguments, during which Heard wept and Depp got a dressing down from her lawyers for apparently smirking during a showing of a now infamous video that shows him yelling at Heard while grasping wine and slamming cupboard doors.
Depp's lawyer Camille Vasquez started rebuttal arguments after lunch on Friday and accused Heard's team of mischaracterising witness testimony. Vasquez said about Heard, "She has come too far, she can't back down. She's lied too many times to too many people."
The lawyer alleged Heard's "lies" started six years ago today, May 27, when she filed for a Temporary Restraining Order and publicly accused Depp of domestic violence. She added, "Her story is a constantly moved target. It never stays the same. Mr. Depp owns his mistakes. You saw him doing that on the stand."
"The evidence overwhelmingly shows that Ms. Heard is an abuser and that she is a liar," Vasquez pointed out. "She lied about Mr. Depp and took on the role of a lifetime as a public figure representing abuse."
Vasquez also resisted Heard's argument it was her First Amendment right to publish her 2018 opinion editorial that sparked the trial. She said, "But the First Amendment doesn't protect lies that hurt and defame people. And there's a difference. Ms. Heard has no right to tell the world that Mr. Depp physically or sexually assaulted her when that isn't true."
"It is a core value of American society that you're innocent until proven guilty," Vasquez said. "There is a presumption of innocent in this country. A person's life cannot and should not be destroyed by a baseless charge and no opportunity to defend yourself."
Vasquez also urged jurors, "While you deliberate, ask yourself why Mr. Depp would put himself through this? Exposing every detail of his life on national television." She returned to her seat and hugged her star client, said to be worth $210 million, after finishing the rebuttal.
Depp's other lawyer Benjamin Chew then declared, "This case for Mr. Depp has never been about money. It is about Mr. Depp's reputation and freeing him from the prison in which he has lived for the last six years."
Depp's side were allotted 38 minutes of rebuttal argument time. Heard's side was permitted a much briefer six minutes as she is counter-suing. The actress' lawyer, Benjamin Rottenborn, used the short time frame to say the lawsuit is not about Depp's reputation. He insisted it was instead part of an ongoing smear campaign Depp launched after Heard filed for divorce.
The statement ended closing arguments and the jury were sent out to begin deliberations. Judge Penney Azcarate instructed the jury on the next steps and a verdict could be reached as early as Friday evening, May 27. If a jury cannot agree on a verdict, they will return at 9 A.M. on Tuesday. No deliberations will take place over the weekend or Monday, which is a holiday.
Depp was said to be hoping the trial will help restore his reputation he claimed has been left in tatters by Heard's allegations and stopped him getting acting work. But the court has been a spectacle highlighting grubby sides to his private life including alleged drug use, abusive texts about having sex with Heard's burned corpse and an incident in which Heard defecated in their bed.
Heard's lawyers claimed she has been crippled with legal bills, with Depp suing for $50 million and the actress countersuing for $100 million. Depp was claiming he was defamed in a 2018 op-ed piece Heard wrote for The Washington Post where she described herself as a "a public figure representing domestic abuse." Even though Depp was not named in the article, he insisted it falsely paints him as a domestic abuser, which he has violently denied.