Jury deliberations begin
The defamation claims were turned over to the jury to begin its deliberations Friday afternoon.
If the jury cannot come to a unanimous decision by the end of the day, it will not return until Tuesday due to the holiday weekend.
Seven jurors are tasked with coming to a decision, while two others are designated as alternates.
‘Stand up for victims,’ Heard attorney says in closing
Benjamin Rottenborn, Heard’s attorney, urged the jury to “give Amber Heard her voice back” in their decision.
“We ask, ladies and gentleman, that you hold Mr. Depp accountable for his actions,” Rottenborn said. “Stand up for victims of domestic abuse everywhere who are suffering in silence. Stand up for freedom of speech.”
Depp promised to bring Heard “global humiliation,” Rottenborn said, and once Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman became involved, that promise turned into a forest fire.
The allegations that Heard created an “abuse hoax,” as Waldman said in the Daily Mail in 2020, are vicious and vile, Rottenborn argued.
Heard has lost opportunities since the comments, despite the support of her costars and the fact that she tested well among audiences, he added.
“Give Amber Heard her voice back,” Rottenborn told the jury. “Give Amber Heard her life back.”
Heard’s attorney pushes back on claim that ‘no one showed up for her’
Heard’s attorney, Benjamin Rottenborn, responded to Depp’s attorney’s argument that Heard’s witnesses, except for her sister, didn’t show up for her.
“They say no one showed up for her,” Rottenborn said. “No one showed up for her but then they say that these people aren’t friends anymore. If they’re not friends anymore, why would they be doing — what [Depp’s attorneys] suggest, is lying for her? Then why would they be corroborating everything she says?”
Depp’s attorneys listed their own witnesses, who were on Depp’s payroll, but claimed Heard’s only evidence is fake, Rottenborn said.
“The evidence shows she was abused exactly not only how she but her witnesses supporting her claims say that she was,” Rottenborn said
Depp’s language and ‘dark sense humor’ is not evidence of abuse, his attorney tells jury
Text messages in which is Depp used violent and derogatory language does not prove him to be an abuser, Depp’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, told the jury.
Vasquez referred to the text messages as evidence that Depp has a “dark sense of humor.”
“Mr. Depp owns text messages, he acknowledges that he said those things and said things he shouldn’t have,” Vasquez said. “But using bad language and colorful humor does not mean that you are a violent abuser.”
Heard’s statements caught on audio recording where she admitted to hitting Depp, however, is evidence of abuse, Vasquez said.
“The evidence overwhelmingly shows that Ms. heard is an abuser and that she is a liar,” Vasquez said. “She lied about Mr. Depp and took on the role of a lifetime as a public figure representing abuse. ”
Heard attempted to make herself the representative for abusers, but she “does not deserve” that role, Vasquez said.
“While you deliberate, ask yourselves why Mr. Depp would put himself through this,” Vasquez said. “Exposing every embarrassing detail of his life on national television if he was guilty of anything, anything, that Ms. Heard accuses him of.”
Heard’s damages claim don’t hold up, Depp attorney says
Heard can’t prove she suffered damages after Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman in the Daily Mail in 2020 accused Heard of orchestrating an “abuse hoax,” Camille Vasquez, Depp’s attorney, argued.
Waldman’s statements cannot be connected to the bad press Heard has received, Vasquez said. She went on to say that the damages Heard’s legal team calculated by using other famous actors, such as Jason Momoa or Zendaya, make no sense.
“Ms. Heard has presented no evidence, none, of any film or other projects that she has lost because of the statements,” Vasquez said.
‘The First Amendment doesn’t protect lies,’ Depp attorney tells jury
Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez pushed back against Heard’s legal team invoking Heard’s First Amendment right to publish her 2018 opinion-editorial.
“But the First Amendment doesn’t protect lies that hurt and defame people,” Vasquez said. “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.”
Vasquez went on to characterize the jury’s duty to decide the truth.
“It is a core value of American society that you’re innocent until proven guilty,” Vasquez said. “There is a presumption of innocence in this country. A person’s life cannot and should not be destroyed by a baseless charge and no opportunity to defend yourself.”
Depp’s attorney picks up rebuttal closing as court resumes
Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez took up rebuttal closing arguments once court returned from lunch, accusing Heard’s legal team of mischaracterizing witness statements.
Heard lied, Vasquez said.
“She has come too far; she can’t back down,” Vasquez said. “She’s lied too many times to too many people.”
Vasquez accused Heard of changing her story as time goes on, saying the allegations don’t hold up.
“Mr. Depp owns his mistake. … But in this trial, Ms. Heard has been confronted with her lies and the damage she has caused,” Vasquez said. “And she cannot take any responsibility for what she has done.”
Court adjourns for lunch ahead of rebuttal closing
Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate dismissed the jury for an hourlong lunch break.
When court resumes, each side will be allowed to offer rebuttal closing arguments. Depp’s team has 39 minutes remaining, and Heard’s team has six minutes.
‘Abuse hoax’ allegations are entirely false, Heard’s attorney says
The statements made by Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman in the Daily Mail in 2020 accusing Heard of orchestrating an “abuse hoax” are entirely false, Heard’s attorney said.
Multiple witnesses testified to the aftermath of the May 2016 argument that led Heard to file for a restraining order, discounting claims that Heard orchestrated the scene before calling police, Elaine Bredehoft told the jury in closing arguments.
“We all know that Amber did everything in her power to not to tell them who Johnny was, not to press charges, not have him arrested,” Bredehoft said. “The exact opposite of this.”
Bredehoft recounted an acquaintance who was in a nearby penthouse visiting Heard’s friend testifying that she hid in fear of Depp on the day of the alleged abuse.
Heard’s best friend and best friend’s then-boyfriend also testified that they were trying to clean up the destruction before police arrived, Bredehoft told the jury.
Bredehoft said the allegations that Heard lied about Depp abusing her make no sense.
Heard’s attorney also argued that Heard would have no motive for creating an “abuse hoax,” undermining the allegations from Depp’s legal team calling Heard a “gold digger.”
“Remember the testimony of Laura Wasser, the divorce attorney,” Bredehoft said. “She said that California is a no-fault state and community property state. So Amber doesn’t have to … she could have divorced him for irreconcilable differences, for abandonment, for adultery, for everything. She doesn’t need an excuse and she gets 50 percent.”
Hold Depp accountable for the first time in his life, Heard attorney urges jury
Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft took over closing arguments to address the $100 million counterclaim filed over statements made by Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman.
Waldman made three statements in the Daily Mail in 2020 accusing Heard of orchestrating an abuse “hoax” that are the center of Heard’s countersuit. Depp has never been held accountable before in his life, Bredehoft told the jury.
“He’s blamed everybody in the world: his agent, his manager, his lawyer, Amber, his friends,” Bredehoft said. “But he’s never accepted responsibility for a thing he’s done in his life. But we’re asking you to make him accept responsibility.”
Depp knew that Waldman was making the statements in the Daily Mail and he knew they were false, Bredehoft argued.
Bredehoft told the jury that Depp has a history of maliciously going after people, noting his lawsuit against former business manager Joel Mandel and his decision to drop a former friend.
“Remember Bruce Witkin’s testimony,” Bredehoft said. “This was Johnny Depp’s best friend for 40 years, until he testified truthfully four years ago about the drugs and alcohol and [Depp] stopped talking to him.”
Ruling against Heard would tell victims ‘you have to be perfect,’ attorney tells jury
A ruling against Heard in this defamation case would send the message to all survivors and victims of abuse that “you need to be perfect in order for people to believe you,” her attorney Benjamin Rottenborn told jurors.
“The facts are absolutely overwhelming of abuse. One time, that’s all you have to remember,” Rottenborn said. “Mr. Depp simply cannot prove to you that he never once abused Amber. … A ruling against Amber here sends a message that no matter what you do as an abuse victim, you always have to do more.”
Rottenborn went over the allegations from Depp’s legal team that Heard faked photos of her injuries.
“Their theory is that all of this is a lie. All of this was some grand hoax,” Rottenborn said. “If this were a hoax, ladies and gentlemen, she’d have worse injuries than that. … She took pictures as they existed.”
Depp’s attorney Camille Vazquez had asked why Heard didn’t video tape herself while she was being abused, as if Heard is supposed to find a camera while she’s being hit, Rottenborn argued.
Rottenborn reminded the jury that they heard testimony from Heard’s former makeup artist about covering bruises. He recounted testimony from others about seeing bruising on Heard during her relationship with Depp.
Heard took great care and review in her op-ed to make no mention of Depp, Rottenborn said.
“Keep in mind that if Ms. Heard wanted to be malicious for Mr. Depp, the article would be very different,” Rottenborn said.
‘That’s the cycle of violence,’ Heard attorney tells jury
Depp and Heard’s relationship was a cycle of violence and now Depp is trying to blame the victim, Heard’s attorney told the jury.
Benjamin Rottenborn used Depp’s own argument that his communications apologizing were to “placate” Heard to undermine the claims by Depp’s legal team that Heard was the abuser in their relationship.
Heard testified that audio of her apologizing for hitting Depp came as a reaction of her feet getting injured while she was trying to barricade the door against him in an argument.
“Yeah, she did apologize for that,” Rottenborn said. “Because that’s the cycle of violence. That’s what victims do. Yet, they continue to blame the victim.”
Depp’s ‘drug-fueled benders’ led to memory lapses, Heard’s attorney says
Depp’s abuse was tied to the “drug-fueled benders” he would go on, which the actor attempted to downplay, Heard’s attorney said.
Benjamin Rottenborn went over the allegations of abuse against Depp, which Heard testified occurred while Depp was under the influence. Depp’s own testimony regarding blackouts and text messages undermine his burden of proof, Heard’s attorney argued.
He recounted Heard’s allegations that Depp kicked her in the back during a private flight in 2014, pointing to Depp’s own text messages to a friend that described days of alcohol and drug use.
“He expects you to believe him that he didn’t have anything to drink on that plane except for maybe one thing of champagne. That’s what he expect you to believe,” Rottenborn said. “He’s talked about blackouts. These blackouts where he doesn’t remember what happened, he blamed them only on opiates.”
“But we know they happen throughout, where he doesn’t remember what’s happening,” Rottenborn continued.
Heard closing arguments disrupted by emergency alerts
Benjamin Rottenborn’s closing argument for Heard was briefly disrupted Friday when emergency alerts sounded off on cellphones throughout the courtroom.
“People are getting it I guess on their phones that haven’t been silenced,” Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate said before encouraging Rottenborn to continue.
Depp’s witnesses are on his payroll, Heard’s attorney says
Heard’s attorney Benjamin Rottenborn worked to undermine Depp’s attorney invoking a list of witnesses by saying they were all “witnesses on his payroll.”
“They’re scared to say anything bad about him, and they’ve seen what happens to people who do,” Rottenborn said.
Rottenborn argued to the jury that Depp’s legal team is trying to convince the jurors that if abuse didn’t happen in front of Depp’s security guards, then it didn’t happen.
“That’s ridiculous. That’s not how domestic violence works,” Rottenborn said.
He went over testimony given by Depp’s employees, saying they only worked to collect evidence that benefited Depp.
“The witnesses Mr. Depp has paraded up here, we’re here in person,” Rottenborn said. “They’re here in person because they’re on his payroll, almost all of them. And they’re telling you whatever they think they need to tell you to take Mr. Depp’s side.”
Jurors only need to believe one instance of abuse, Heard’s attorney says
If Heard was abused physically, verbally or emotionally even just once, she wins, Heard’s attorney Benjamin Rottenborn said in his closing argument.
“They’re trying to trick you that Amber has to be perfect in order to win. … Don’t fall for that trick,” Rottenborn told the jury. “Amber’s not perfect; none of us are. She’s never pretended to be, and that’s now what you’re being asked to decide. One time … if he abused her one time … he fails to prove that he never abused her.”
Rottenborn invoked the testimony of the couple’s counselor who testified that Depp and Heard abused each other, telling the jury that if they believe that, then Depp loses.
Heard’s attorney then read to the jury graphic text messages sent by Depp, in which he indicated a desire to drown, burn and defile Heard’s corpse.
“Some of the most vile, disgusting language that you could ever imagine,” Rottenborn said of the message. “That’s what he said at the beginning of their relationship.”
These were the words of “America’s favorite pirate,” Rottenborn said. “This is the real Johnny Depp.”
He then described Depp’s substance and alcohol use, referencing Depp’s own text messages to friends and the doctor who helped him with his sobriety.
Depp believed Heard was a “nag” for questioning the use of drugs and alcohol, Rottenborn said. But Heard testified that the cycle of violent abuse occurred with the use and that their relationship was better when he was sober.
“Imagine someone actually thinking that maybe the impact of alcohol and cocaine is ruining their relationship,” Rottenborn said. “How dare she.”
Rottenborn replayed for the jury a video of Depp slamming cabinets and yelling at Heard, pouring wine and telling her he would show her “crazy.”
“That’s abuse,” Rottenborn said. “And you don’t have to look at that incident in isolation to find it’s abuse. You can look in the context of their whole relationship.”
Heard’s attorney tries to undermine Depp’s defamation claim on op-ed
Benjamin Rottenborn, Heard’s attorney, told the jury that they don’t need to decide whether or not Depp committed abuse to decide on whether Heard’s opinion-editorial was defamatory.
“Think of the article’s purpose. … The purpose of this article was to promote legislative measures designed to protect victims of domestic abuse, designed to protect people who did exactly what Ms. Heard did: to speak out,” Rottenborn said.
Heard’s article was about her own experiences following filing a protective order against Depp in 2016, Rottenborn said. The jury instructions require jurors to take The Washington Post op-ed as a whole.
“She accused him of abuse. That doesn’t mean that she designed and intended defamatory implications. … Think about if Mr. Depp is right and if virtually any statement that anyone could ever make about their own lives that implies any involvement with another person could be defamatory,” Rottenborn said.
In addressing the op-ed’s online headline, which said Heard was a victim of sexual violence, Rottenborn told the jury to look at the article’s mention of sexual violence. Heard stated that she experienced sexual violence in college, long before meeting Depp, Rottenborn said.
“This whole case is about blaming Amber Heard for things she didn’t do,” Rottenborn said. “But that’s what Mr. Depp does. It’s what he’s always done: blame other people and refuse to take accountability.”
‘Think about the message’ Depp’s sending to victims, Heard’s attorney says
Heard’s attorney Benjamin Rottenborn asked the jury to consider what Depp and his team have said to the jury to convince them of his burden of proof.
“Think about the message that Mr. Depp and his attorneys are sending to Amber, and by extension to every victim of domestic abuse everywhere,” Rottenborn said. “If you didn’t take pictures, it didn’t happen. If you did take pictures, they’re fake. If you didn’t tell your friends, you’re lying. If you did tell your friends, they’re part of the hoax.”
“If you didn’t seek medical treatment, you weren’t injured,” Rottenborn continued. “If you did seek medical treatment, you’re crazy. If you do everything that you can to help your spouse, the person that you love, rid himself of the crushing drug and alcohol abuse that spins him into an abusive, rage-filled monster, you’re a nag.”
In “Depp’s world,” if you leave him, “he will start a campaign of global humiliation against you” and “do everything he can to destroy your life,” Rottenborn said.
“And that’s what they are trying to get you, the jury, to be an accomplice to,” Rottenborn told the jurors.
Heard’s attorneys to begin closing arguments
The court returned from a 15-minute recess Friday so Heard’s legal team could begin its closing arguments.
Depp’s case is about fighting for the truth, his attorney says
Benjamin Chew, Depp’s attorney, brought up the questions the jury will have to decide upon in their verdict as to whether Heard defamed Depp in her 2018 opinion-editorial.
The jury will have to decide for each of three statements in the op-ed: whether they were published by Heard, whether they were about Depp, whether people other than Depp saw it, whether they were false, whether they were defamatory, whether the defamation was designed and initiated by Heard, and whether Heard made the statements with actual malice.
“Ladies and gentleman, the evidence clearly shows that the answers to those seven questions are all yes,” Chew said.
In assessing damages, Chew told the jury that this case is not about money or punishing Heard. The case was about freeing Depp of the “imprisonment which he has lived with the last six years,” he said.
“In the wake of the Me Too movement, producers know better than to cast a movie star who has been accused of domestic and sexual violence,” Chew said.
Regardless of the outcome of the case, Depp’s reputation will be “forever tarnished” by Heard’s allegations.
“It’s about showing Mr. Depp’s children, Lily Rose and Jack, that the truth is worth fighting for,” Chew said. “It’s about restoring Mr. Depp’s name and standing in the community to the fullest extent you can.”
‘The lies have grown and metastasized,’ Depp’s attorney says
Depp’s attorney Benjamin Chew invoked the #MeToo movement in his closing argument, stating that Heard was not a real victim.
Chew told the jury that Depp has never claimed to be a perfect person but that his substance use did not mean he deserved to have his legacy “destroyed by a vicious lie.”
“The lies have grown and metastasized over time,” Chew said. “And they need to be stopped.”
The attorney invoked #MeToo, a movement that grew in 2017 as many women came forward with allegations of sexual abuse by powerful men. But in this case, Chew said, there were no other women who have come forward accusing Depp.
Chew accused Heard of taking advantage of the movement when she wrote her 2018 opinion-editorial in The Washington Post.
“Me Too is an important movement, a movement Mr. Depp supports and believes in,” Chew said. “It’s true survivors of abuse, not Ms. Heard. True victims need protections, and true perpetrators need to face the repercussions.”
But Heard is not a true victim of abuse, Chew said.
Depp’s attorney speaks to actor’s experience with childhood abuse
Benjamin Chew, Depp’s attorney, invoked the actor’s history with abuse as a child in his closing arguments.
Depp and his sister both testified in the trial about abuse from their mother growing up, telling the court that they would often hide together when their mother got violent.
Depp watched his father also take the abuse or hide from it as well, Chew said.
“Those are habits he returned to later when he found himself in a relationship with another person who returned his love with abuse,” Chew said.
Chew went on to say that no other woman Depp had a relationship with had ever accused him of abuse before Heard, and none since.
‘Either believe all of it, or none of it,’ Depp’s lawyer says
Depp’s attorney said in closing arguments that one must believe all of Heard’s accusations or none of them.
“What we have is a mountain of unproved allegations that are wild, over the top and implausible,” Camille Vasquez said. “And you can’t pick and choose which of these wild allegations to believe and which ones to disregard. You either believe all of it, or none of it.”
Vasquez noted to the jury that it was disturbing to think that Heard would lie but that the “overwhelming evidence” showed it was not her story of abuse.
“Either she’s a victim of truly horrific abuse, or she is a woman who is willing to say absolutely anything,” Vasquez said.
‘The role of a lifetime,’ Depp’s attorney says of Heard testimony
Camille Vasquez, Depp’s attorney, said Heard took on the “role of a lifetime” as a domestic abuse survivor, calling it a performance.
Vasquez told the jury that Heard sobbed without tears in her testimony, spinning “exaggerated, fantastical” accounts of abuse.
“She told you what she thinks you need to hear to convict this man as a domestic abuser and rapist,” Vasquez said. “She wants you to believe she was abused countless times over the course of their relationship. But as Mr. Chew and I promised you, the evidence just doesn’t bear that out.”
Vasquez showed photos of Heard to the jury, alleging the injuries seen in the photographs don’t match Heard’s stories of abuse. Heard had no medical records following the alleged abuse, despite having access to personal medical staff hired by Depp, Vasquez said.
Depp’s attorney invokes Heard’s testimony, audio
Camille Vasquez, Depp’s attorney, replayed audio recordings of the couple’s fights to accuse Heard of abusing Depp.
Vasquez cited testimony from multiple people who worked for Depp who told the court that Heard verbally accosted Depp and that they saw bruising and injury on him.
Depp’s lawyer also played audio recordings, such as one that appeared to include Heard saying she hit Depp in reaction to her foot. Another audio clip appeared to include Heard admitting to hitting Depp, but not punching him.
“This is the real Ms. Heard, the one in the audio recordings,” Vasquez said. “Not the one who you saw in this courtroom. What you didn’t hear on a single recording in this case is Mr. Depp ever admitting to hitting, punching or kicking Ms. Heard.”
“It doesn’t exist. It didn’t happen,” Vasquez said.
Depp’s attorney says he ‘suffered persistent verbal and physical abuse’
Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez again accused Heard of being Depp’s abuser and setting up the media scene outside the courthouse the day she asked for a restraining order.
“The photos captured what she wanted them to see: an image of a battered woman,” Vasquez said. “What the paparazzi didn’t know is the dark mark on her face mysteriously appeared six days after seeing Mr. Depp. It was a lie. She knew it. Mr. Depp knew it. And the multiple witnesses you heard from knew it.”
Vasquez called Heard the abuser, angering whenever Depp would attempt to leave to de-escalate their arguments.
“You also heard overwhelming evidence from Mr. Depp and the people that were around him and Ms. Heard during the relationship that Mr. Depp suffered persistent verbal and physical abuse at the hands of Ms. Heard,” Vasquez said.
Depp’s legal team begins closing arguments
Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez began closing arguments by noting that Friday is the six-year mark of Heard’s restraining order filing.
“Today, on May 27, 2022, exactly six years later we ask you to give Mr. Depp his life back by telling the world that Mr. Depp is not the abuser Ms. Heard said he is and hold Ms. Heard accountable for her lies,” Vasquez told the jury.
She thanked the jury for their time and reminded them that they have “been entrusted with a serious task.”
“What is at stake in this trial is a man’s good name,” Vasquez said. “Even more, what is at stake at this trial is a man’s life, the life that he lost when he was accused of a heinous crime.”
Closing arguments begin
Court is back in session Friday morning. Depp’s and Heard’s legal teams will give their closing arguments.
The final day before jury deliberations comes six years to the day since Heard filed for a protective order against Depp, revealing her domestic abuse allegations to the public for the first time.
OPINION: Kate Moss’ pro-Depp testimony was an unforced error by Amber Heard
While testifying about a fight in 2015, Amber Heard admitted she struck her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. She said she did it because Depp took a swing at Heard’s sister while Heard’s sister was standing at the top of a staircase. The testimony was part of a trial in which Depp is suing Heard for defamation, claiming she falsely referred to him as an abuser. If Heard can establish that Depp did, in fact, abuse her, it’s a defense to defamation. (Both parties deny abusing the other, and Heard has countersued Depp.)
Heard testified that in the moment, “I don’t hesitate. I don’t wait. I just, in my head, instantly think of Kate Moss and stairs.”
A seemingly minor statement, but not to Depp’s legal team. One of Depp’s attorneys gave a fist pump. In the hushed, cerebral atmosphere of a courtroom during a trial, he might as well have spiked a football and done an end zone dance. In a high school football game, he would have been penalized for excessive celebration.
That’s because simply mentioning Moss allowed Depp’s team to call Depp’s former girlfriend to the stand and rebut Heard — which she did Wednesday via videoconference. Moss testified that it was an innocent slip that sent her down the stairs at a resort in Jamaica during her relationship with Depp in the 1990s.
Not only that, but she testified that Depp “came running back to help me and carried me to my room and got me medical attention.” Moss flat-out denied that Depp pushed her. “He never pushed me, kicked me or threw me down any stairs.”