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Jurors began their deliberations Friday in the civil libel trial between actors Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, following six weeks of courtroom drama that peeled again the curtain on the celebrities’ troubled marriage.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Courtroom over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Put up describing herself as “a public determine representing home abuse.” 

Choose Penney Azcarate gave the jury its directions Friday morning, forward of the beginning of closing arguments from Depp and Heard’s attorneys. When the jury deliberates, it should focus not solely on whether or not there was abuse but additionally whether or not Heard’s op-ed piece might be thought-about legally defamatory. 

The article itself focuses totally on coverage questions of home violence, however Depp’s lawyer pointed to 2 passages within the article, in addition to a web-based headline that they are saying defamed Depp, although the article by no means talked about his identify.

“She did not point out his identify. She did not need to,” mentioned Depp lawyer Benjamin Chew. “Everybody knew precisely who and what Ms. Heard was speaking about.”

Depp v Heard defamation case continues in Fairfax, Virginia
Amber Heard testifies in the course of the Depp vs Heard defamation trial on the Fairfax County Circuit Courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S. Might 26, 2022. 

POOL / REUTERS


Within the first passage, Heard writes that “two years in the past, I turned a public determine representing home abuse, and I felt the total drive of our tradition’s wrath.” Depp’s legal professionals name it a transparent reference to Depp, on condition that Heard publicly accused Depp of home violence in 2016 – two years earlier than she wrote the article.

In a second passage she states “I had the uncommon vantage level of seeing, in actual time, how establishments shield males accused of abuse.”

The web headline reads “Amber Heard: I spoke up in opposition to sexual violence – and confronted our tradition’s wrath.”

Heard “ruined his life by falsely telling the world she was a survivor of home abuse by the hands of Mr. Depp,” lawyer Camille Vasquez advised the jury in closing arguments.

Heard’s legal professionals argue Heard cannot be held answerable for the headline as a result of she did not write it, and that the 2 passages within the article aren’t in regards to the abuse allegations themselves however how Heard’s life modified after she made them.

Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim in opposition to Depp after his lawyer known as her allegations a hoax. Although the counterclaim has obtained much less consideration on the trial, Heard lawyer Elaine Bredehoft mentioned it gives an avenue for the jury to compensate Heard for the abuse Depp has inflicted on her by orchestrating a smear marketing campaign in opposition to her.

“We’re asking you to lastly maintain this man accountable,” she advised the jury. “He has by no means accepted duty for something in his life.”

Depp Heard Lawsuit
Actor Johnny Depp testifies throughout a listening to on the Fairfax County Circuit Courtroom in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday April 19, 2022. 

Jim Watson / AP


Depp says he by no means struck Heard and that she concocted the abuse allegations to achieve a bonus in divorce proceedings. He has mentioned he was typically bodily attacked by Heard.

Jurors have seen a number of pictures of Heard with marks and bruises on her face, however some pictures present solely gentle redness, and others seem to indicate extra extreme bruising.

Vasquez accused Heard of doctoring the pictures and mentioned proof that Heard has embellished a few of her accidents is proof that each one her claims of abuse are unfounded.

“You both consider all of it, or none of it,” she mentioned. “Both she is a sufferer of ugly, horrible abuse, or she is a girl who’s keen to say completely something.”

In Heard’s closing, legal professional J. Benjamin Rottenborn mentioned the nitpicking over Heard’s proof of abuse ignores the very fact there’s overwhelming proof on her behalf and sends a harmful message to domestic-violence victims.

“In the event you did not take photos, it did not occur,” Rottenborn mentioned. “In the event you did take photos, they’re pretend. In the event you did not inform your folks, they’re mendacity. In the event you did inform your folks, they’re a part of the hoax.”

And he rejected Vasquez’s suggestion that if the jury thinks Heard could be embellishing on a single act of abuse that they need to disregard every part she says. He mentioned Depp’s libel declare should fail if Heard suffered even a single incident of abuse.

“They’re making an attempt to trick you into pondering Amber must be excellent to win,” Rottenborn mentioned.

Rottenborn advised jurors that even when they have an inclination to consider Depp’s declare that he by no means abused Heard, he nonetheless cannot win his case as a result of Heard has a First Modification proper to weigh in on issues of public debate.

Depp is hoping the six-week trial will assist restore his status, although it has became a spectacle of a vicious marriage, with broadcast cameras within the courtroom capturing each twist to an more and more rapt viewers as followers weighed in on social media and lined up in a single day for coveted courtroom seats.

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