Amber Heard’s legal team today released a surprise statement detailing key changes to the plan for the final days of Johnny Depp’s trial.
As Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against Amber Heard draws to a close, all eyes are on whether Depp will put forward his position again.
And Hurd’s team has now confirmed that they will not be calling the actor back to the podium, in a scathing statement released by several media outlets today, calling the actor’s testimony “inappropriate.”
“Calling Depp back to the podium would be as relevant to us as a bike is to a fish,” the statement said.
“Everything that Depp testified up to this point was not relevant to the essence of the matter, and there is no reason to believe that everything will be different now.”
Depp spent four days as a witness at the start of the trial when he was questioned about his relationship with Heard.
Hurd’s team toyed with the idea of questioning the star again, but legal experts warned that returning him to the podium could backfire on Hurd.
“There is a risk that he will have more time to be likable on the podium when it’s actually time for Amber Heard to present her case,” civil litigation attorney Katherine Lizardo said. New York Post.
Depp’s lawyers changed their mind about nominating him as a witness when the case resumed in court today. His legal team told NBC News that his testimony “is irrelevant to the substance of the case.” But he may still be called to testify later this week.
Seattle-based defamation lawyer Bruce Johnson agreed that Depp’s apparent attractiveness could be a problem for Heard.
“It’s a huge risk if he’s a good witness and performs well again,” Mr Johnson told The Post.
Halim Dkhanidina, a criminal defense attorney and former California judge, said Depp’s “very unique personality” likely made him go to the jury for the first time.
“He didn’t really strike me as someone who was pretending or fabricating,” he said. “Jurors will want to know if they can rely on testimony based not on how smart the witness seems, but on how sincere they are.”
Depp, 58, is suing his 36-year-old ex-wife for $50 million (AU$70 million), accusing her of defaming him when she described herself as a “domestic abuse public figure” in a 2018 Washington Post article.
Mr. Dunedina noted that Depp could try to get an “advantage” if he gets a chance to testify before the jury again.
“If he landed with the jury and if the jury likes him, then more time in front of the jury is good for him,” he said. “Maybe something like that [Heard] does as needed, but [Depp] can benefit from it.”
The jury, however, will not be given an explanation as to why Depp is back in the dock, which could “confuse” them, Ms Lizardo added.
“Most of the time when you do cross-examination, it sounds hostile,” she said. “The jury might be thinking, ‘OK, he’s back in business. Are they pestering him again?”
Dignity attorney Mr. Johnson also said the Hurd team needed to weigh whether Depp’s new call would distract the jurors’ attention, as some jurors were reportedly seen dozing as the trial entered its fifth week.
“You’re putting on a show for the jury and you don’t want to drag it out too long,” Mr. Johnson said. “In any lengthy litigation, this is a consideration.”
Some pundits, however, have said that Heard’s legal team could try to get the better of Depp if they bring him back to court.
“I suspect they will want to cut [Depp] up to size,” Virginia defamation attorney Jeremiah Denton told The Post.
“He did quite well in his first appearance on the podium, so I think they think they should definitely attack his credibility – it could be his memory, his veracity. [or] covering something that wasn’t covered,” Mr. Denton said.