Why it looks like Johnny Depp has already won

On Friday, after six weeks of exposures, arguments and witnesses, the lawyers representing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard presented their closing arguments, closed their case and left it to the jury to deliberate. In this brief moment of anticipation, those who followed at home wonder who will win? That’s the big question, but it’s redundant. In many ways, the case was decided before the trial began.

At the heart of the defamation case that Depp filed in 2019 is an op-ed that The Washington Post released in December 2018, in which Depp is not named. As Heard’s lawyer Ben Rottenborn reminded the jury in its closing argument, the point of contention is mainly two sentences: first, “then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic violence, and I felt the full force of our culture’s anger for women speaking out.” Then, “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.” Heard is likely referring to the when his bruised face covered People magazine, and was pictured outside a courthouse after securing a temporary restraining order against Depp. (Depp has denied all allegations of abuse, and she filed a counter-defamation lawsuit for double the amount he is suing her for.)

From those two sentences, plus the title of the online version, sprang hours and hours of testimony and evidence, which both sides went through once again in their closing arguments. As with opening statements all those weeks ago, Camilla Vasquez and Benjamin Chew delivered their last piece in two parts. Vazquez first presented the jury with the evidence they presented, including a psychologist diagnosing Heard with borderline personality disorder and something called histrionic personality disorder, as well as several shortcomings: Depp’s lack of admitting on tape specifically for beating Heard, lack of medical records for Heard’s claims and lack of witnesses for Depp’s alleged brutality. She played a series of tapes in which Heard would admit to physical abuse and one of Heard appearing on a talk show during which she confirms that she donated Depp’s $7 million divorce settlement to the American Civil Liberties Union and at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Vasquez reminded the jury that those institutions never received the full amount (Heard said they understood it was a commitment and she could pay over time, and she was open with them that the payments had ceased due to “financial difficulties” of the lawsuit.) .

Vasquez claimed Heard was looking for his client. “She didn’t just want a divorce. She wanted to ruin it,” she said.

Chew took over and took the jury back to Depp’s early life, reminding them how the actor came from humble beginnings and an abusive home where his mother was the abuser. Chew referred to #MeToo — the movement where women supposedly felt safe to speak out against domestic and sexual abuse instead of fearing retaliation through, say, costly and laborious lawsuits — to say there was no of “me too”, i.e. no other women who were in a relationship with Depp in the past have come forward to claim that Depp has hurt them as well. He pointed Kate Moss who testified briefly by video on Wednesday to deny the rumor heard that Depp pushed her down the stairs in the 90s. He added that Depp generally supports the move, while some commentators have taken Depp’s suit as a referendum on #MeToo, and see Depp’s friend Marilyn Manson file a defamation suit against his ex-fiancée and accuser Evan Rachel Wood the result of Depp’s influence.

Chew also invoked Depp’s children, Jack Depp and Lily-Rose Depp, saying he is trying to clear his name for them. When he rested, Depp looked happy and hugged Chew.

After a short break, Rottenborn, one of Heard’s attorneys, began his closing argument. He asked the jury to “consider the message that Mr. Depp and his lawyers are sending to Amber, and by extension, to all victims of domestic violence everywhere: if you didn’t take pictures, it didn’t happen. product. If you took pictures, they are fake. If you didn’t tell your friends, you’re lying. If you told your friends, they’re part of the hoax.

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