Nuanced closing arguments as Depp-Heard case goes to jury

Amber Heard isn’t really asking for the $100 million she sued Johnny Depp for. Her lawyer said Friday they simply asked for the amount to send the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star a message after he asked for half that amount when he sued her for defamation.

That information came Friday in a Virginia courtroom as the ex-spouses’ legal teams recorded their closing arguments in their dueling defamation cases.

“Johnny Depp sued for $50 million, and we sent back a message saying, ‘Okay, so we’re going to sue for $100 million because look what you did to him. We’re not asking you to give $100 million,” attorney Elaine Bredehoft told the jury, talking about compensatory damages. “We ask that you simply look at the damages in this case and be fair and reasonable in whatever you determine.”

The case, which began on April 11 in Fairfax, Va., went to trial on Friday afternoon. While Depp’s side portrayed the case as reclaiming his life and reputation, Heard’s side argued that it was a First Amendment case about the right to tell one’s own story.

Hearing attorney Benjamin Rottenborn kicked off the defendant’s closing arguments by warning jurors of the message they would send to victims of domestic violence if they found in favor of Depp.

“If you didn’t take pictures, it didn’t happen. If you took pictures, they are fake. If you haven’t told your friends, you’re lying. If you told your friends, they are part of the hoax. If you didn’t seek medical attention, you weren’t hurt. If you’ve sought medical treatment, you’re crazy,” Rottenborn said.

“If you’re doing everything you can to help your spouse, the person you love, get rid of the drug and alcohol abuse that’s turning them into an abusive, rage-filled monster, you’re a jerk. And if you finally decide that enough is enough, that you’ve had enough of the fear, enough of the pain and that you have to leave to save yourself, you’re a gold digger.

Rottenborn called the case “victim blaming in its most disgusting form”. He also replayed the notorious video of Depp wandering around a kitchen, slamming cupboard doors, pouring himself a tall glass of wine and getting angry when he realized Heard was recording his actions.

” Who do this ? Who do this ? Rottenborn asked the jurors. “Imagine watching your husband, the person you love, behave violently in this way. Like a wild animal. It is abuse. It’s abuse.”

The statements came after Depp’s lawyers claimed he was the real victim of the relationship.

“There is an assailant in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp,” attorney Camille Vasquez said. “And there’s a victim of domestic violence in this courtroom, but it’s not Ms. Heard.”

Later, Vasquez outlined the team’s allegations against Heard more clearly. “Ms. I heard lying,” she said. “And she lied again. And she kept lying.

Hear allegedly lied, Vasquez said, when she applied for the temporary restraining order in 2016, when she said she had donated her entire $7 million divorce settlement to charity charity and when she wrote the 2018 Washington Post op-ed around which Depp’s case revolves. (The case is being argued in Virginia because the state houses the media’s servers.)

“She went too far. She can’t back down. She lied too many times to too many people,” Vasquez said. “So when Mr. Depp finally decided to fight back, to clear his name by filing this lawsuit, Ms. Heard responded by making up more and more stories of more and more extreme abuse. She’s came with a new accusation that Mr. Depp raped her with a bottle in Australia, and she continues to make new claims even now.

After listing the 16 witnesses who had appeared in court for Depp, either in person or via live video, including ex-girlfriend Kate Moss, the Depp team later said that at the Except for Heard’s sister, Whitney Henriquez, “no one showed up for Ms. Heard in this courtroom” other than the witnesses who were paid to testify. Heard’s team presented their case in largely via pre-recorded video depositions.

Depp’s lawyer, Ben Chew, during his turn before the jury, classified the case as “the unique and singular #MeToo case where there is not a single ‘me too'”, like no other woman who has come forward to accuse Depp of the same. abuse.

Chew also noted that after the success of the #MeToo movement in 2017, producers knew not to hire anyone who had been accused of abuse, implying that Heard’s 2018 op-ed placed Depp in a category he didn’t belong to — the one that would have cost him tens of millions of dollars in acting work.

Rottenborn came back in his rebuttal to remind the jury how Heard’s career would have suffered after comments from Depp’s former lawyer Adam Waldman. “Studios like her. Co-stars like her. She tests well. But she can’t get opportunities because of the negativity associated with Mr. Depp and Mr. Waldman,” he said.

Judge Penney Azcarate – who began Friday by reading to the jury his instructions on how to decide the case – had strongly suggested the day before that the jury should not argue after dinner time each day and asked them to decide at what time they would return to deliberations. after Monday vacation.

In Virginia, a seven-person civil jury must reach a unanimous verdict. The jury in this case will decide the libel claims for both actors simultaneously. It’s unclear when the verdict will be delivered, although it could presumably happen next week.

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