The Defamation Trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: A Recap of the Closing Arguments

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Attorneys for both Amber Heard and Johnny Depp present closing arguments after six weeks of testimony in which both actors took the stand many times.Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, reminded the jury that Heard filed for a protection order against the star Depp exactly six years ago, making her domestic abuse allegations public for the first time.

“Now, on May 27, 2022, precisely six 6 years later, we beg you to repair Mr. Depp’s life by exposing to the world that Mr. Depp is not the abuser Ms. Heard claims he is and holding Ms. Heard accountable for her falsehoods,” Vasquez stated.

“A man’s good name is on the line in this case.”

What’s more, what’s on the line in this case is a man’s life, which he lost when he was accused of a horrible act.

During her arguments, Vasquez referred to Heard as the abuser, accusing her of lying about injuries and images of claimed assault by Depp.

“The images captured what she wanted them to see: an abused lady,” Vasquez said after accusing Heard of staging a media scrum outside the courthouse the day she requested a restraining order (a claim Heard denies).

“The paparazzi were unaware that the dark mark on her face came inexplicably six days after seeing Mr. Depp.It was a fabrication.She was well aware of it.Mr. Depp was well aware of the situation.

And the several witnesses you heard from were well aware of it.”

In six weeks of testimony, Vasquez told the jury that they hadn’t heard Depp acknowledge to assaulting or beating Heard on any tape.

Heard played “the part of a lifetime” as a domestic abuse survivor, according to Depp’s counsel.

“She told you what she thinks you need to hear in order to convict this man as a rapist and domestic abuser,” Vasquez added.

“She’d like you to believe she was assaulted numerous times during their relationship.

But, as [Depp’s lawyer] Benjamin Chew and I both promised, the evidence simply does not support that.”

Heard and her team instead presented Vasquez with a “mountain of unproven charges” that are “implausible,” according to Vasquez.

When Chew took over closing arguments, he reminded the jury that while the #MeToo movement is essential, “real survivors of abuse, not Ms. Heard,” are the ones who benefit from it.

Benjamin Rottenborn, Heard’s counsel, made his closing statements later in the day.

While the lawsuit is about Heard and Depp, Rottenborn contended that the verdict could have ramifications for other victims of domestic violence.

“Think about the message Mr. Depp and his lawyers are sending to Amber, and by extension to every victim of domestic abuse throughout the world,” he stated.

“It didn’t really happen if you didn’t snap pictures of it.

If you did take photos, they are phony.

You’re lying if you didn’t inform your friends.

If you told your friends, they’re all in on it.”

“You weren’t hurt if you didn’t seek medical attention,” he said.

“You’re insane if you sought medical help.

You’re a nag if you try everything you can to help your husband, the person you love, overcome his crippling drug and alcohol addiction, which turns him into a rage-filled monster.”

He also reminded the jury of an op-ed Heard penned for the Washington Post in December 2018.

Heard characterized herself as a “public figure symbolizing domestic abuse” in the article.

Despite the fact that Depp’s name was never included in the piece, the actor alleged in court documents that Heard made up her narrative in order to gain “good publicity” and “promote her career.”

Heard’s goal in writing the piece, according to Rottenborn, was to push legislation that would protect domestic violence victims and “protect others who did precisely what Heard did: speak out.”

“Keep in mind that the piece would be extremely different if Ms. Heard intended to be spiteful for Mr. Depp,” Rottenborn continued.

Finally, in closing arguments, Heard’s lawyer stated that if the actress was assaulted physically, verbally, or emotionally just once, she would win.

“They’re trying to fool you into thinking Amber needs to be perfect to win…don’t fall for it,” he stated.

“Amber isn’t flawless, and neither are any of us.

She’s never pretended to be, and you’re not being asked to make that decision.”

“The evidence of abuse is really overwhelming,” he added.

“All you have to remember is one time.

Mr. Depp will never be able to prove to you that he has never abused Amber…

A decision in Amber’s favor communicates the message that no matter what you do as an abuse victim, you must always do more.”

Following a lunch break, Depp’s lawyer, Vasquez, resumed his counter closing statements, accusing Heard of shifting her testimony over time.

“She’s come too far to back down,” Vasquez explained.

“She’s lied to too many people too many times.”

She also fought back against Heard’s legal team claiming Heard’s right to publish her 2018 opinion piece under the First Amendment

“Lies that harm and slander people are not protected by the First Amendment,” Vasquez added.

“And there’s a distinction to be made.

Ms. Heard has no right to claim that Mr. Depp abused her physically or sexually when it isn’t true.”

When Rottenborn, Heard’s lawyer, delivered his argument, he implored the jurors to “give Amber Heard her voice back” in their verdict.

“We ask that you hold Mr. Depp accountable for his behavior, ladies and gentlemen,” he stated.

“Speak up for victims of domestic violence who are suffering in silence all across the world.

Fight for the right to free speech.”