FAIRFAX, Va. — After six weeks of grueling and often harrowing testimony, the jury began hearing the closing arguments in Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial Friday morning.
“There is an abuser in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp,” his lawyer Camille Vasquez said.
Depp, 58, sued Heard for $50 million over her 2018 Washington Post essay in which she wrote about facing “our culture’s wrath” as “public figure representing domestic abuse.” He said even though the piece did not name him, it sullied his reputation and cost him eight-figures in potential earnings.
Heard fired back with a $100 million countersuit, arguing that 2020 statements that she fabricated her domestic abuse claims given to the press by Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman destroyed her career and made her life hell.
Judge Penney Azcarate gave each side two hours to summarize the seemingly never-ending testimony that took the jury on a tour of the doomed couple’s relationship and traversed continents, movie sets and Depp’s slew of homes.
Vasquez insisted that Heard ruined Depp’s life “by falsely telling the world she was a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp.”
“The mountain of evidence that Mr. Depp abused Ms. Heard is simply not there. What we have is a mountain of unproven allegations that are wild, over-the-top and implausible,” Vasquez told the jury.
“And you can’t pick and choose which of these wild allegations to believe and which ones to disregard,” she added.
“You either believe all of it or not. Either Mr. Depp sexually assaulted Ms. Heard with a bottle in Australia, or Ms. Heard got up on that stand in front of all of you and made up that horrific tale of abuse.”
Heard’s team has yet to give their closing statements.
After Vasquez has wrapped up her portion of closing arguments, she turned it over to her colleague Ben Chew, who began by recapping Depp’s difficult childhood in Kentucky and his rise to global fame while struggling with substance abuse.
“Mr. Depp is no saint, and he’s never claimed to be one,” Chew told the court. “He has made mistakes in his life as we’ve all had.”
“He has struggled with drugs and alcohol…but he is not a violent abuser. He’s not an abuser as Ms. Heard claims, and he does not deserve to have his life and legacy destroyed by [a] vicious lie.”
The jury will begin deliberating on Friday afternoon.