Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard libel lawsuit: closing arguments

The gloves are off in a bitter libel case between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard as both sides get their last chance to sway the jury.

Explosive closing arguments are underway in a bitter defamation lawsuit brought by American actor Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Both legal parties are filing their final jury appeals today after dozens of hours of testimony and six weeks of vehement domestic abuse accusations between the celebrity couple in a Fairfax County, Virginia court.

Depp’s attorney, Camilla Vasquez, was the first to make her closing argument on Friday, telling jurors that Hurd “has spinned a terrible story” based on “wild, over the top and implausible” allegations of physical and sexual abuse against Depp.

“You either believe all or one,” Ms. Vasquez told jurors Friday morning.

“Either Ms Heard was sexually assaulted (by Depp) with a bottle in Australia… or she is a woman who is ready to say absolutely everything.

“What Ms. Heard testified to in this courtroom is the story of too many women, but the weight of the evidence shows that this is not the story of Ms. Heard.”

Ms. Vasquez called Hurd’s allegations “false” and “slanderous”, adding that they had done Depp “irreparable harm.”

“THE REAL AMBER HEARD IS SCARY”

Another of Depp’s lawyers, Benjamin Chu, also spoke to the jury.

“Now you know the real Amber Heard: it’s scary,” he began.

“Before Amber Heard, no woman had ever claimed that Mr. Depp had raised a hand against her at 58… (and since then) no woman has come.

“It’s #MeToo without #MeToo.”

Mr. Chu went on to list several of Depp’s former girlfriends, including British supermodel Kate Moss, American actor Winona Ryder and his children’s mother, Vanessa Paradis, with whom he lived for 14 years. He said that none of these women ever publicly accused Depp of violence against them, and emphasized that Ms. Moss actually testified in court in support of Depp, dispelling the rumor that he pushed her down the stairs.

Hurd’s team must present their closing arguments before Judge Penny Azkarat hands the case over to a seven-member jury on Friday afternoon. The group will be closed over the weekend and on Monday, a public holiday in the US, and will resume discussion on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a source close to Heard accused Depp’s team of “trying to divert the jury’s attention to sensational, obscene things – anything but what this case is all about: free speech.”

“We hope the jury is not distracted by noise and nonsense,” the source said, according to a statement provided to news.com.au by Hurd’s representatives on Friday.

Depp filed a lawsuit against Heard over an article she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she called herself “a public figure representing domestic violence.”

Depp, 36, denied for four days as a witness that he had ever physically abused Heard, and claimed that it was she who often resorted to violence.

Hurd, who starred in Aquaman, did not name Depp in the article, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic aggressor and is seeking $50 million (AU$72 million) in as damages.

Texas native Heard countersued for $100 million (A$144 million), accusing him of running a “smear campaign” against her and calling his lawsuit an extension of “insults and harassment”.

The counterclaim alleges that Depp’s then-lawyer Adam Waldman slandered Heard by calling her allegations of abuse a hoax.

Depp filed a defamation complaint in the United States after he lost a separate libel case in London in November 2020 that he brought against The Sun newspaper for calling him a “wife beater”.

Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, and Heard met in 2009 on the set of The Rum Diary and married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized two years later.

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