Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard: Defamation trial gets ugly, fast – National

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Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard arrived individually on the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia on Tuesday morning for Day 1 of their much-anticipated US$50-million defamation trial.

Though the actors and former spouses each wore fits, the power across the courthouse was something however subdued, because the absolutely televised court docket proceedings rapidly grew to become a media spectacle.

U.S. actor Johnny Depp leaves the Fairfax County Circuit Court after the primary day within the lawsuit between him and his former spouse, U.S. actress Amber Heard, in Fairfax, Va., on April 12, 2022.


U.S. actress Amber Heard leaves the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., on April 12, 2022.


The court docket listening to is the newest in a really public authorized battle of the divorced couple, with each Heard, 35, and Depp, 58, claiming to be victims of home violence. The preliminary court docket case started when Depp filed a $50-million defamation lawsuit over a Washington Post op-ed penned by Heard in late 2018 about home abuse.

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Heard didn’t point out Depp by title within the article, although in court docket paperwork he alleges his fame and profession had been nonetheless “devastated” consequently.

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Court proceedings started with opening statements from each actors’ legal professionals, with Depp’s lawyer Benjamin Chew talking first.

Chew informed Judge Penney S. Azcarate and the seven-member jury (plus 4 alternates) that Heard’s claims of graphic home violence have painted the Pirates of the Caribbean actor as a “villain.”

Click to play video: 'Johnny Depp, Amber Heard defamation trial: Heard claims Depp sexually assaulted her'

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard defamation trial: Heard claims Depp sexually assaulted her

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard defamation trial: Heard claims Depp sexually assaulted her

“For nearly 30 years, Mr. Depp built a reputation as one of the most talented actors in Hollywood, a respected artist whose name was associated with success at the box office,” Chew informed the court docket. “Today, his name is associated with a lie, a false statement uttered by his former wife.”

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“Words matter. They paint a picture in our mind,” he informed the court docket. “Words can evoke strong emotions and cause irreparable harm.”

Chew argued although Heard by no means named Depp within the Washington Post op-ed, she didn’t must, because the article was revealed two years after she had already accused Depp of abuse. Depp’s lawyer additionally claimed nobody “in five decades” had beforehand accused the actor of violence or “being abusive of any kind with a woman.”

Chew informed the court docket that any proof Heard was a sufferer of home violence perpetrated by Depp shall be proved “a lie.”

Camille Vasquez, additionally a lawyer for Depp, claimed “Ms. Heard took on the role of a lifetime, she couldn’t back down.”

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“She has been living and breathing this lie for years now,” Vasquez stated. “She is preparing to give the performance of a lifetime in this trial.”

After a quick break, Heard’s lawyer J. Ben Rottenborn delivered the defence’s opening statements.

Rottenborn learn all the Washington Post op-ed – headlined “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change” – to the jury.

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“Amber’s words in this article that wasn’t about Depp, wasn’t about her marriage, wasn’t about her relationship — was about life after that,” he stated. “It’s about the freedom of speech. It’s not about the soap opera that Depp will turn this case into. It’s not about who you like better. It’s not even about whether you agree with the words that she wrote. It’s about her right to speak them.”

“Amber did accuse Johnny of abuse,” Rottenborn stated. “That statement is true. You don’t need to relive every intimate detail of their marriage.”

“You don’t need to decide what happened on any individual day of their marriage to determine that the First Amendment protects that statement because it is true,” he stated. “He wants you to forget that. Don’t take the bait.”

Rottenborn informed the court docket it was Depp’s “own bad behaviour” that induced his fame to undergo.

Another lawyer for Heard, Elaine Bredehoft, additionally informed the court docket a couple of journey to Australia she claimed was a “three-day hostage situation.” Bredehoft claimed Depp took eight to 10 ecstasy tablets in Australia earlier than he sexually assaulted Heard and “penetrates her with a liquor bottle.”

After a break for lunch, the primary witness took the stand – Depp’s sister, Christi Dembrowski.

She spoke about Depp’s childhood and claimed abuse from their mother and father. She additionally informed the court docket she carried out duties as a “personal manager” for Depp, and stated she nonetheless works together with her brother.

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As the trial continues, jurors will hear from a number of potential witnesses, together with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, actor James Franco and Marvel WandaVision star Paul Bettany.

Franco and Musk had been introduced into the case when Depp accused each of getting an affair with Heard. Both Franco and Musk are on Heard’s witness checklist. Bettany, who had a number of personal and disturbing textual content messages with Depp learn in court docket in 2020, will testify as a part of Depp’s crew.

Both Depp and Heard are additionally planning to take the stand in particular person on the trial.

Court proceedings are anticipated to final about six weeks with a jury verdict figuring out if Heard defamed Depp on the trial’s finish.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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