Lawyers for Hollywood star Johnny Depp on Tuesday gave a jury an outline of his U.S. defamation case towards his ex-wife Amber Heard, the most recent chapter in a long-running authorized battle between the 2 Hollywood stars.
Opening statements kicked off in a Virginia courtroom in a lawsuit Depp, 58, introduced towards Heard, 35, for $50 million in 2018.
Depp alleges Heard defamed him when she penned a December 2018 opinion piece within the Washington Post about being a survivor of home abuse.
The article by no means talked about Depp by identify, however Depp lawyer Benjamin Chew instructed jurors on Tuesday that it was clear Heard was referencing the Hollywood main man.
Chew instructed jurors Heard revealed the piece on the eve of the release of Aquaman, her largest movie but, to drum up publicity and advance her profession.
“By choosing to lie about her husband for her own personal benefit, Amber Heard forever changed Mr. Depp’s life and his reputation,” Chew stated. “You will hear him tell you the dreadful impact it has had on his life.”
Heard’s piece within the Washington Post “devastated” Depp’s profession, Chew stated.
“Hollywood studios don’t want to deal with the public backlash from hiring someone accused of abuse — even someone with the incredible body of work and record that Mr Depp can be proud of,” Chew stated.
J. Benjamin Rottenborn, a lawyer for Heard, stated in his opening assertion that Depp was attempting to mislead the jury with “crazy conspiracy theories.”
Rottenborn stated Heard was telling the reality about “horrific” abuse she endured, however the case is actually a couple of slender authorized query: whether or not Heard’s opinion piece was free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
“That is the question, and that is what you are being asked to decide,” Rottenborn instructed jurors.
“Mr Depp’s team is going to try to turn this case into a soap opera,” Rottenborn stated. “Why? I’m not really sure, because the evidence isn’t pretty for Mr Depp.”
Another of Heard’s legal professionals, Elaine Bredehoft, stated that in a visit to Australia in 2015, Depp dragged Heard throughout the ground, punched her, kicked her after which “penetrated her with a liquor bottle.”
Depp shook his head “no” within the courtroom when Bredehoft made the assertion to jurors.
A state courtroom choose in Fairfax County, Virginia, is overseeing the trial, which is anticipated to final six weeks. A jury was chosen on Monday.
Less than two years in the past Depp misplaced a libel case towards The Sun, a British tabloid that labeled him a “wife beater.” A London High Court choose dominated he had repeatedly assaulted Heard and put her in concern for her life.
In the U.S. case, Depp and Heard each submitted lengthy lists of potential witnesses they might placed on the stand.
Heard’s listing consists of her ex-boyfriend and Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, with whom she texted about Depp. Also on the listing of potential witnesses is actor James Franco.
The Washington Post isn’t a defendant within the case. Depp’s legal professionals have stated they filed the case in Fairfax County, exterior the District of Columbia, as a result of the newspaper is printed at a facility there. Heard unsuccessfully tried to switch the case to Los Angeles, the place she and Depp lived.
The United States is a tough discussion board for libel plaintiffs, particularly public figures like Depp, who faces a number of hurdles within the Virginia case. Depp should show by clear and convincing proof that Heard knowingly made false claims.
Depp and Heard met whereas making 2011 movie “The Rum Diary” and married 4 years later. Heard accused Depp of home abuse after submitting for divorce in 2016.
Heard is understood for her roles in “Aquaman” and “Justice League.” She has introduced her personal libel declare towards Depp, saying he smeared her by calling her a liar.
Heard’s counterclaim might be determined as a part of the trial. Heard is searching for $100 million in damages from Depp, based on courtroom papers.
In her proof to the London High Court, Heard stated Depp would flip right into a jealous alter ego, “the monster,” after binging on medication and alcohol and had threatened to kill her.
She detailed 14 events of utmost violence when she stated the actor choked, punched, slapped, head-butted, throttled and kicked her. The London choose accepted 12 of those accounts as true.
Following the November 2020 ruling within the London libel trial, Depp was changed with Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen within the third movie within the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, a spin-off from the “Harry Potter” books and movies.