Johnny Depp, Amber Heard trial goes to jury


“We ask you to give Mr Depp his life back by telling the world Mr Depp is not the abuser Ms Heard says he is,” Vasquez said.

Actor Amber Heard testifies in court.Credit:AP

Heard lawyer Benjamin Rottenborn, in his closing argument, reminded jurors of explicit text messages from Depp to friends or associates.

In one, Depp called Heard a “filthy whore” and said he wanted her dead and “would f–k her burnt corpse.”

“This is a window into the heart and mind of America’s favourite pirate,” Rottenborn said. “This is the real Johnny Depp.”

At the centre of the legal case is the December 2018 opinion piece by Heard in the Washington Post, in which she made the statement about domestic abuse. The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyer told jurors it was clear that Heard was referring to him.

Heard’s attorneys argued that she had told the truth and that her comments were covered as free speech under the US Constitution’s First Amendment.

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“Your key question to answer is ’does the First Amendment give Ms. Heard the right to write the words she wrote?” Rottenborn told the jury. “You cannot simultaneously uphold the First Amendment and find in favor of Johnny Depp.”

Depp and Heard met in 2011 while filming The Rum Diary and wed in February 2015. Their divorce was finalised about two years later.

Over six weeks of proceedings, jurors have listened to recordings of the former couple’s fights and seen graphic photos of Depp’s bloody finger.

Actor Johnny Depp demonstrates how he claims to have shielded himself from an alleged attack by his then-wife Amber Heard.

Actor Johnny Depp demonstrates how he claims to have shielded himself from an alleged attack by his then-wife Amber Heard.Credit:AP

Depp said Heard threw a vodka bottle that cut off the top of his finger during an argument in 2015. Heard denied injuring Depp’s finger and said Depp sexually assaulted her that night with a liquor bottle.

The testimony was livestreamed widely on social media, drawing large audiences to hear details about the couple’s troubled relationship.

Once among Hollywood’s biggest stars, Depp said Heard’s allegations cost him “everything.” A new Pirates movie was put on hold, and Depp was replaced in the Fantastic Beasts film franchise, a Harry Potter spinoff.

Depp lost a libel case less than two years ago against the Sun, a British tabloid that labelled him a “wife beater.” A London High Court judge ruled that he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.

Depp’s lawyers filed the US case in Fairfax County, Virginia, because the Washington Post is printed there. The newspaper is not a defendant.

Reuters

National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line: 1800 737 732. Crisis support can be found at Lifeline: (13 11 14 and lifeline.org.au)

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