Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial summary: 29 May
Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial: 29 May
WATCH: Courtroom footage from the final day of the Depp v Heard trial
Friday was the final day of courtroom action in the defamation case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, with both sides delivering their closing arguments at the Circuit Court in Fairfax Country, Virginia.
Thursday concluded weeks of testimony from both parties and a whole host of witnesses. With closing arguments now finished, the jury has begun its deliberations.
CONTENT WARNING: The embedded live feed comes direct from inside the courtroom, where strong language and references to content including sex, violence and drug abuse are possible. Discretion is advised.
The jurors in the civil case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are currently on a three-day recess for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but are expected to resume their deliberations on Tuesday.
The trial has gripped public attention and could prove a significant precedent for domestic abuse victims. It could be a few more days until the jury return a final verdict, but what could it mean for Depp if his defamation lawsuit is rejected?
How did Elon Musk and Amber Heard first meet?
During the course of the trial, Depp has suggested that Heard began a romantic relationship with Musk before the actors had officially split. However Heard describes the events differently, stating that she became friends with the Tesla CEO after Depp had stood her up at the 2016 Met Gala.
The red carpet event took place in New York City on 2 May, 2016, and Heard and Musk had been invited together as guests of Ralph Lauren. She has claimed that she was unable to check on Depp’s whereabouts because he had thrown her phone out of the window.
“I was standing in line right in front of a gentleman. It was Elon,” Heard told the court. “I didn’t recognise him at first. We started talking and he had reminded me that we had met once before.”
“He seemed like a real gentleman. He was really nice,” she added. “He sat at a nearby table and we got to speaking that night and then eventually became friends.”
Heard and Musk are thought to have dated on and off between 2016 and 2018 and he was named on her witness list for the trial.
In the opening statements for the court case, Heard’s lawyers said that Depp had been “obsessed” with Musk at the time. Carino, who had previously served as agent for both Heard and Depp, testified that Heard was dating Musk at the same time as she was attempting to reconcile with Depp.
With the ending of the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard libel trial last week, minds have turned to what the outcome of the court will be, specifically who will get what once the jury has made its decision.
The jury will meet again on Tuesday to continue deliberations. At stake is the reputation of both actors, though seemingly already in the gutter, as well as $50 million for Depp and $100 million for Heard.
Johnny Depp initially sued Amber Heard for defamation regarding an op-ed published in the Washington Post in 2018. Depp’s legal team are claiming a $50 million compensation payment for the damages caused by the article.
If the jury find that Heard did defame Depp than she could be ordered to pay the full $50 million, or the jury could recommend that Depp is awarded more or less than that amount.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are suing each other for defamation, each claiming they were abused before and during their roughly two-year marriage.
The jury is expected to resume deliberations on Tuesday after each side delivers their closing arguments.
Below are key moments from the trial:
- Depp testified that he never hit Heard or any other woman. He said she was the one who became abusive and "bullied" him with "demeaning name calling."
"If I stayed to argue, eventually, I was sure it was going to escalate into violence, and oftentimes it did."
- The pair offered differing accounts of an early 2015 argument in Australia, where Depp was filming a fifth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie. Depp said Heard threw a vodka bottle that severed the top of his right middle finger. The actor said he went into shock and used blood from his injury to write messages to Heard on the wall.
Heard denied injuring Depp and said she was the one harmed that night. Speaking through sobs, she told the jury that Depp sexually assaulted her by inserting a liquor bottle in her vagina. "I was scared," she said. "I had just married him."
- A few months later, Heard said, Depp broke her nose and ripped out chunks of her hair during another violent encounter.
- Heard's attorneys introduced photos that they said showed injuries after various arguments, including scars on her arm that were visible as she posed on a red carpet, and redness and swelling around an eye. A Depp lawyer showed images from public appearances around the time of their fights. The photos appeared to show no injuries, and Depp's attorneys suggested Heard edited photos to make the redness more pronounced. Heard said she never edited the photos.
- Depp testified that feces were found in the couple's bed in 2016. One of his security guards said Heard told him it was "a horrible practical joke gone wrong." Heard denied any involvement and suggested one of the couple's dogs was responsible.
- Heard's lawyers introduced text messages in which Depp called Heard a "filthy whore" and said he wanted her dead.
Photo by Steve Helber / POOL / AFP
The very public court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has put both actors’ personal lives in the spotlight. In the course of the weeks’ worth of testimonies, a number of famous faces have been referenced in the former couple’s relationship.
Correspondence between Depp and Heard has been presented to the jury, as well as reams of messages sent from both parties to friends regarding their situation.
Depp v Heard: recap
Depp, 58, sued Heard in Virginia for $50 million and argued that she defamed him when she called herself "a public figure representing domestic abuse."
Heard, 36, has countersued for $100 million, saying Depp smeared her when his lawyer called her accusations a "hoax."
Heard wrapped up her testimony on Thursday saying she has been "harassed, humiliated, threatened" on social media since accusing the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star of physical and sexual abuse.
"People want to kill me and they tell me so every day," Heard said. "People want to put my baby in the microwave." Heard adopted a baby girl in July 2021. She said the ongoing harassment was part of Depp's crusade to publicly humiliate her.
Depp admitted to writing in a 2016 text that Heard was "begging for total global humiliation" and "she's gonna get it." He said it was written in anger when he learned she was alleging that he physically abused her.
"He wanted to ruin my career," Heard told the jury. "The threats he made to humiliate me, globally, are being lived out in real time, in front of you ... and the whole world." Depp has denied hitting Heard or any woman and said she was the one who turned violent in their relationship. The pair met in 2011 while filming "The Rum Diary" and wed in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized about two years later.
"No human being is perfect," Depp said on Wednesday. "But I have never in my life committed sexual battery, physical abuse."
In a trial full of drama, perhaps none is as visceral as the one concerning Johnny Depp’s finger. Both parties have differing stories on the matter though both of them testified in court that theirs was true. This libel case for tens of millions of dollars is pretty ugly.
Camille Vasquez, an attorney with Brown Rudnick, a major international law firm, has been leading the cross-examination.
According to the firm, her expertise is in “parallel reputation management and crisis communications issues arising from these engagements.” She was hired to form part of Depp’s team based on her experience in “plaintiff-side defamation suits” and contract litigation.
She received her undergraduate degree from the Univeristy of Southern California and her J.D. from Southwestern Law School in 2010.
She was selected to form part of Depp’s team based on her experience representing individuals through defamation suits that arose from ”highly-publicized accusations of criminal conduct.”
What has happened in the trial this week?
Attorneys for Johnny Depp have attempted to discredit Amber Heard’s abuse claims in the former couple’s defamation trial, introducing a knife she gave as a gift to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star and affectionate notes she wrote to him.
At the start of Tuesday’s proceedings, lawyer Camille Vasquez asked jurors to examine the knife Heard bought for Depp in 2012. Heard had testified that Depp had already become violent toward her by that time.
“This is the knife you gave to the man who would get drunk and violent toward you?” the lawyer asked. “This is the knife I gave him as a present, yes,” she said, adding that she did not think he would stab her with it.
Could either Depp or Heard get a prison sentence?
Regardless of the outcome, there is no chance that either Johnny Depp or Amber Heard receive a prison sentence, or even a criminal charge, as a result of the court’s decision. That is because the ongoing case is a civil trial, not a criminal case, and neither party is being tried on any criminal charges.
A civil court case sees one entity (the plaintiff) accuse another (the defendant) of some wrongdoing or harmful act, without bringing a criminal charge against them. When someone is sued for their actions, a civil case is brought.
Crucially, the burden of proof is significantly different for a civil case. Rather than having to prove wrongdoing beyond any reasonable doubt, the plaintiff simply has to show that the balance of probability in the case sides with them.
A successful plaintiff will typically receive some form of compensation from the defendant.
What was said in the closing arguments?
"[Amber Heard] ruined his life by falsely telling the world she was a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp."
"In Mr. Depp's world, you don't leave Mr. Depp. If you do, he will start a campaign of global humiliation against you."
"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."
Kate Moss, the world renowned supermodel from the United Kingdom who had previously been in a relationship with Johnny Depp, testified on Day 22 of the Pirates of the Caribbean actor’s defamation case against Amber Heard.
Moss was asked by Depp’s lawyer about a rumoured incident, one that Heard had referenced, whereby Depp had pushed her down a flight of stairs. Speaking via video link from Gloucester, England, Moss testified that she fell down the stairs because it was raining and Depp never pushed her. She then elaborated her brief answer by saying that after hurting her back he came to her aid.
Welcome to AS USA
Good morning and welcome to our daily live coverage of the defamation trial between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp on Sunday 29 Maym 2022. We'll bring you all the latest as the trial has concluded and the jury is deliberating, making this the final break in the case.