Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial summary: 31 May 2022
Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial: 31 May
WATCH: live cam from court as we await jury verdict on Depp-Heard trial
The camera below brings you live coverage and reports of the goings on at the courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, as we await the verdict from the jury.
The seven-person civil jury (five men, two women) returned to deliberate today after the long weekend recess.
You can scroll down this feed for more information and background on the case.
Pirate ship arrives outside the courthouse
An enormous "Pirates of the Caribbean"-themed ship arrived outside the courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia earlier today as jurors continue to deliberate. Johnny Depp, the star of the Pirates franchise, is waiting to hear his fate but has enjoyed some support from fans outside.
The court case between former partners Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began with a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, in which Heard said she was “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although his name was not actually included, Depp's legal team is claiming that Heard defamed him in the article.
The case has been heard in a civil court, rather than as a criminal case, so the jury will not be asked to decide guilt and innocence. Rather it could decide that financial compensation running tens of millions of dollars is required.
Latest news on the Depp v Heard trial
After seven weeks of testimony the courtroom action in the case between Johny Depp and Amber Heard came to a close last week, and the jury is now deliberating before returning their verdict.
Even at this stage there is still so much uncertainty: Who will the jury rule in favor of? What happens if Depp wins? What happens if Heard wins? And what of the prospect of an appeal or countersuit after the verdict is returned?
We take a look...
Depp's legal team attempts to strike "inappropriate argument"
Today the legal team representing Johnny Depp filed a motion to strike part of Amber Heard’s closing argument from the record, meaning that it would not be considered by the jurors currently deliberating. The passage in question saw Heard ask jurors to consider the “message” that ruling for Depp would send to other domestic violence victims.
Depp’s lawyers described it as an “inappropriate argument” in a filing in Fairfax County District Court on Tuesday and asked a judge to instruct the jury to disregard it and to revise the Special Verdict Form.
Watch Depp join Jeff Beck at London's RAH
Johnny Depp has appeared onstage twice over the past two nights with Jeff Beck as the English guitarist continues his European tour.
Depp made headlines on Sunday when he joined Beck on stage in Sheffield as the duo performed a series of covers (John Lennon, Marvin Gaye and Jimi Hendrix.)
Last night (May 30) Depp returned to the stage during Beck’s show at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Beck is due to play a second set at the venue tonight (May 31) although it’s unclear whether Depp will join him again.
“We kept it quiet for obvious reasons,” Beck can be seen saying in footage captured by a fan in attendance, before introducing Depp onstage in London.
AS USA's William Allen takes a look at the timeline of Depp and Heard's relationship: from an on-set first meeting in 2009, to facing each other in Fairfax County Court in 2022.
Judge Azcarate speaks in the courtroom as jury deliberations continue.
(Photo: Jim Watson/Pool via REUTERS)
Jury asks Judge Azcarate question about WaPo op-ed headline
We’ve just had some action in Fairfax County Court. The jurors have asked Judge Penny Azcarate a question about Amber Heard's Washington Post op-ed.
Their question relates to Finding Instruction C, which covers the headline of the article and whether this statement was false. A reminder that the headline was: "I spoke up against sexual violence - and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change".
Essentially, the jurors wanted to know whether the entire op-ed must be considered false if the headline is deemed to be false.
Judge Azcarate told them that this is not the case. The instruction focuses only on the headline.
Depp v Heard jury deliberations: "We could be here all week"
Law & Crime Network’s Angenette Levy believes the Depp v Heard jury “could be here all week” as its deliberations continue at Fairfax County Court in Virginia.
“I think you have to keep in mind this is a six-week trial […],” Levy said on Tuesday. “So there’s a lot for them to consider and there’s a lot in the jury instructions for them to consider.”
She continued: “For the most part, jurors take their duty very seriously. They like to go through everything and they want to be fair.
“Maybe we could be here all week - we just don’t know.”
As the world awaits the jury's verdict in the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard defamation case, AS USA's Jennifer Bubel takes a look back at some of the pivotal moments of the trial.
Depp v Heard: recommended podcasts
If you’re looking for Depp v Heard podcast recommendations, let us point you in the direction of a couple of shows that have been covering the trial throughout.
Law & Crime Sidebar
The Law & Crime Sidebar podcast has provided daily and weekly recaps on the case, plus bonus episodes such as “What’s up with Johnny Depp and alpacas” and “Top three Amber Heard wins”. You’ll find expert analysis on the case.
Reporting: Depp v Heard
British journalist Nick Wallis has been at Fairfax County Court since day one, bringing daily summaries and analysis of the trial. This includes his ‘park bench interviews’ with a range of people: experts, journalists and spectators.
The defamation trial between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, where both mutually blamed the other for causing the loss of work in Hollywood, has wrapped up. The witness testimony over the course of the proceedings painted a less than pretty picture of either actor which could result in hurdles for future employment in Hollywood productions.
Despite a pressure campaign by Depp fans to have Heard cut from the film, she will still play Mera in the upcoming sequel to Aquaman, set for release in March 2023. During testimony at the defamation trial, Walter Hamada, President of DC-based film production, confirmed that the actress was still in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.
Depp 'charged' for ACLU prep time
In a side issue, as Greg Ellis reports, the ACLU is billing Johnny Depp for $86,253.26 to reimburse them for time taken preparing and submitting documents they were legally obliged to submit.
Initially they had refused to voluntarily hand over these documents pertaining to the defamation case against Amber Heard.
We told you yesterday about Johnny Depp pitching up on stage to perform at Sheffield City Hall on Sunday in England, while the jury was on recess during their deliberations. Well, he's appeared on stage again alongside Jeff Beck, this time at the Royal Albert Hall in west London.
Check out more on this by clicking on the image/title above.
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. You can relive this in the video below.
Thursday concluded weeks of testimony from both parties and a whole host of witnesses. The jury returns today, Tuesday 31 May to continue deliberations and we could have a verdict at any time.
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.
You're likely reading this because you are one of the many millions of people around the US and the world either keeping an occasional eye on proceedings or, quite possibly, glued to the sordid details on a daily basis waiting for the next revelation.
Well, it has certainly been a case full of some very 'interesting' stories, and here is a selection of the weirdest moments from the Depp v Heard trial.
'No one is going to recover' from Depp-Heard trial
Listen here to the views of some attorneys on the Depp-Heard case. 'Neither party has really shown their damages to the level that you need to win a court case,' one says.
But it's the jury's opinion that counts...
As we await the return of the jurors in the civil case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, following their three-day recess for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, thoughts are on their conclusions.
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?
Elon Musk tweets about Depp and Heard
If you've been reading below, you'll know that Elon Musk has been a part of this conversation and over the weekend he took to Twitter (you know, that platform he quite likes) to wish his ex-partner and her former husband a positive future.
"I hope they both move on. At their best, they are each incredible," he tweeted on Saturday.
This was in response to a tweet that said: "My takeaways from Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial: 1. Fame is one hell of a drug (for some) 2. Psychiatrists & lawyers come in drastically varying levels of skill 3. Lying to millions of people is something humans are capable of 4. Love can be messy 5. Mega pint of wine."
As the jury was given a recess for the Memorial Day weekend, we may have expected Johnny Depp to have hidden away in some quiet retreat until their verdict was ready. Well, not exactly...
Although Depp is best known for his acting, having starred in films such as The Rum Diary, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Tourist, as well as in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, he is also a dab hand at the guitar, playing for the group Hollywood Vampires, which he set up in 2012 with Alice Cooper (the band name coming from his 1970s drinking club) and Joe Perry.
And over the weekend, as the jury deliberated, the man who made Jack Sparrow a household name was on stage as a surprise guest in Sheffield City Hall, England. It was part of Jeff Beck’s European Tour and the crowd were amazed to see Depp sing his cover of the John Lennon song, Isolation. As you can in the article, there was a lot of love for the man on trial...
[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.
On Friday, we watched the lawyers for both parties make their closing arguments, appealing to the jury to find in their client favour.
The judge then sent away the members of the jurors to deliberate, but that would quickly be interrupted with a three-day recess for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, with them returning to continue tomorrow, Tuesday 31 May. It is unclear exactly how long this process will take, possible just a few hours, or it could be that we don’t have a verdict until later in the week.
For those watching on, the question of potential consequences for either actor is front and centre.
Depp-Heard trial: the least civil, civil case
As Alex Triantafilou points out here, there is a massively important distinction in the type of trial that has been played out for is between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.
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.
As we've seen, correspondence between Depp and Heard was presented to the jury, as well as reams of messages sent from both parties to friends regarding their situation.
Last Wednesday Depp’s messages to his friend, talent agent Christian Carino, were read out in court, with reference to billionaire Elon Musk, who started a relationship with Heard after she had split with Depp.
He referred to the Tesla CEO as ‘Mollusk’ on several occasions, writing “Let’s see if Mollusk has a pair.”
“Come see me face-to-face,” Depp wrote. “I’ll show him things he’s never seen before … Like, the other side of his d**k when I slice it off.”
Find out more about this strange pet name.
One of the most talked about moments from the final week was the testimony of Kate Moss, the world renowned supermodel from the United Kingdom. She had previously been in a relationship with Johnny Depp, and took to the stand 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.
Depp v Heard trial: a quick 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."
She has grabbed quite a bit of media publicity over the weeks but do you know Johnny Depp's lawyer, Camille Vasquez? If not, allow us to provide a little more info. She's 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.”
As we await news coming in on the verdict, let's reflect on what happened in the final days of the trial.
Attorneys for Johnny Depp 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 last 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.
Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial: welcome
Good morning and welcome to our daily live coverage of the defamation trial between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp on Tuesday 31 May 2022.
All the testimonies have been listened to, all the evidence presented, and the lawyers for both parties have made their closing arguments to the jury which has gone off to deliberate on its verdict.
Today, following the Memorial Day weekend recess, the jury members return, and we await news.
We will keep you posted throughout the day of any developments or related news.