Depp-Heard trial verdict not yet reached; jury disqualified until Tuesday
After Judge Penney Azcarate had dismissed jurors on Friday, no verdict was delivered in the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation case. The jury received the case Friday afternoon and will be returning Tuesday morning to begin deliberations.
After six weeks of testimony, closing arguments were concluded earlier in the day.
Depp, 58 issued Heard (36) for $50 million over an opinion she wrote in The Washington Post in 2018 in which she called herself a public figure representing domestic violence. (Depp denies all allegations of abuse. After Adam Waldman, Depp’s lawyer called her allegations a hoax by Heard, Heard sued Depp for $100 Million.
A jury of seven must reach a unanimous verdict. They will decide Depp’s claim as well as Heard’s counterclaim simultaneously.
Amber Heard fans claim they tried to support her.
A small group of Heard’s supporters sat together on a bench as the Depp fans left the Fairfax courthouse. Although they felt outnumbered throughout the trial they were able to show support for Heard by joining the crowd at the back of the courthouse, where they arrive, Christina Taft from Los Angeles stated that they felt as though they were completely helpless.
Taft stated, “We’re trying to give her support, cheer for her, and so she can feel safe,” adding that Heard received a small gift from one of her supporters through her car window.
Depp left the courthouse but his fans stayed to thank him.
Johnny Depp fans also include his lawyers. Even after the judge dismissed Depp’s jury at 5:15 p.m. a large crowd waited in front of the courthouse cheering on Ben Chew and several other Depp lawyers. As he made his way through the crowd, they yelled “Thanks, Ben!” and “Have fun, Ben!”
The judge dismisses the jury during the 3-day weekend
After two hours of deliberation, Judge Penney Azcarate disqualified the jury from the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation case for the three-day holiday weekend. The jury will resume deliberations on Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Azcarate directed jurors to not read or research any case details during the holiday break.
Then, she wished the jurors a peaceful weekend.
Spectators are welcome to watch the judge’s courtroom while they wait for the verdict next week.
If they don’t reach a verdict on Friday night, the jury will resume deliberations Tuesday. Officials from Fairfax County Courthouse announced that any spectators who have been camping overnight to obtain one of the 100 seats inside the courtroom are welcome back.
“Judge Azcarate will keep the 5J courtroom open because she has a full Docket of cases that are not related to Depp. v. Heard,” reads the updated statement posted on the court’s site. “Depp v. Heard observers can sit in the 5J Courtroom while other cases are being listened to.”
Attention Northern Virginia residents: If you have a case in front of Judge Azcarate next Wednesday, there might be quite a crowd of Johnny Depp fans watching.
Amber Heard is confronted with vitriol at the courthouse
Amber Heard, in her final moments of testimony this week, broke down and said that she had received numerous death threats since the beginning of the trial. She also spoke out about the Johnny Depp fans who are present in the courtroom every day. Heard left the courthouse on Friday afternoon, and hundreds of people walked along the sidewalk, cheering, booing, and jeering.
Fans continue to fervor Depp on social media
Depp supporters sent thousands of tweets in support of him as the jury deliberated. Within an hour of closing arguments ending, #AmberHeardIsALiar and #JohnnyDeppIsInnocent trended on the social media website with more than 50,000 tweets under each hashtag.
While support for Depp has been steady through the trial it sometimes veered into the frenetic territory. Many of those fans have directed vitriolic remarks toward Heard, who has seemingly attracted fewer supporters online; earlier this month, The Post noted that while #justiceforjohnnydepp received nearly 7 billion views on TikTok, the comparable #justiceforamberheard had about 25 million.
The University of Oregon’s journalism program director, Seth Lewis, stated to The Post that this situation was an “apotheosis of participative culture,” which is when fans take on an active role in fandom over public officials who feel “more like avatars” than real people.
Outside the courthouse, fans gather: “Johnny is here”
Many hundred people waited in line to catch a glimpse of Johnny Depp as he left, while the case was being presented to the jury. Assorted people were dressed as Depp-style pirates, and at least two women were dressed as mermaids.
Back it up! “Watch your fins!” A cop shouted at Depp just as Depp was about to leave in a black SUV. His waves from the back seat prompted a mixture of cheers, whoops, and screams.
After Depp’s death, a woman exclaimed, “Oh my god! That was amazing!”
Jack Lovera (19 years old) arrived in the morning eager to support Depp.
Lovera shouted, “Egg that man!” Lovera pointed in the direction of a man holding a sign reading, “I stand for Amber”
Lovera declared, “Johnny’s innocent”, and brushed aside Heard’s claims with a quick sweep of his hands. “Johnny here is the victim. Amber Heard is pretending it.
Standing a few feet away from Evan Torres, he said that he had driven from Atlanta to be outside in Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” costume, complete with a sword and musket, and what he called a “prosthetic goatee.”
Torres, a 24-year-old actor, stated that he has no doubts regarding Depp’s character. Heard was a reference to Torres, who said that he couldn’t trust Depp as far as he could throw him. I may be wrong, but I hope I’m not.”
He said, “I had to support Johnny.” He is my greatest inspiration as an actor. He is a very real person.
Dan Kim, 26, a Loudoun County resident, was the one who held the sign in support of Heard. He stated that he believes Depp “committed domestic abuse” and that he felt the need to bring attention to an issue “that isn’t being discussed enough.”
He said, “I want all voices heard.” Amber Heard is my support 100 percent. She is a survivor.”
A few moments later, another “Johnny!” chant erupted from the crowd. Johnny!”
Outside the courthouse, Johnny Depp fans and Amber Heard supporters clash
Many Johnny Depp fans gathered at the courthouse to see the actor leave shortly after the jury began deliberations. However, one Amber Heard supporter shouted into a megaphone: Amber is amazing!
A woman sitting next to her was unhappy about the megaphone’s volume and tried to push the megaphone away as well as take down a poster with Heard-themed graphics. After the Heard supporter tried to push back, the crowd started to shout but a deputy from the sheriff stopped it from going any further.
Soon, a man dressed up as a pirate began shouting into a megaphone. The crowd loved it.
Jury starts deliberations
The jury is now free to consider the closing arguments after six weeks of exhausting, sometimes grueling, and sometimes downright frustrating testimony. After Judge Penney Azcarate had thanked everyone, much of the courtroom — both plaintiff and defense — applauded.
Heard’s lawyer rebuts and asks the jury to grant Heard her life back
Benjamin Rottenborn stressed that verbal abuse and mental abuse are, in fact, domestic abuse during his six-minute rebuttal. Depp’s legal team claimed that domestic abuse does not include physical abuse. He stated that this was false testimony and contradicts expert testimony.
Rottenborn stated that “if you believe that Mr. Depp was abusive towards Amber one-time ever in any form abuse — verbal emotional psychological or sexual — then it’s very easy.” Rottenborn claimed that Depp’s legal team had changed their strategy to exclude all forms of abuse “because they know he did it.”
Rottenborn stated that Depp’s countersuit against Heard, which involved allegedly defamatory remarks about Depp made to the media, by Adam Waldman (one of her ex-husbands’ lawyers), was a matter for concern. Rottenborn stated that Waldman’s malice was Mr. Depp’s malice. The defamation was part of Depp’s global campaign to humiliate his ex-wife.
“We ask that you hold Mr. Depp responsible for his actions. Standing up for domestic abuse victims everywhere, who are often left in silence, is what you should do. He said, “Stand up for freedom of speech.” “Give Amber Heard her voice back. Give Amber Heard her life back.”
Depp’s lawyer claims Heard is not a true survivor of sexual abuse
After Heard argued that Depp’s behavior was unusual and had “nothing with violence”, Camille Vasquez, Depp’s lawyer, reaffirmed the earlier argument that Heard isn’t a true survivor.
Vasquez stated that either she was raped with a bottle or she is the type of person who would take the stand in court and lie to you about having been raped.
Heard was visibly moved by the graphic comment.
Depp’s lawyer claims Amber Heard is a victim of lies
Camille Vasquez, Johnny Depp’s lawyer, opened the team’s response by repeating their legal strategy and calling Amber Heard a liar. Vasquez started by saying that Heard was trapped in a web of lies that began six years ago when she filed a temporary restraining or against Depp. Then, Heard claimed that she would donate all of her settlement to charity. Vasquez claims that Heard also lied when she claimed to be a public figure representing domestic violence.
“She has come too far. Vasquez stated that she can’t stop.” “She has lied to too many people.”
Vasquez said that the actress’s testimony was a “performance” and that Heard had previously revealed details of her abuse to the press, but she did so because she needed to keep up with her lies.
Vasquez stated that her story is “a continuously moving target, it never stays unchanged,” and told the jury that the time had come for them to “decide the truth”.
What lies at the core of Heard’s case
Heard claims that Depp engaged in a pattern of sexual and physical abuse. This was made worse by his drinking habits and use of drugs like MDMA and cocaine. During the trial, several witnesses were called by the defense to testify that Depp was in different states of inebriation. Many witnesses said that Depp did not strike Heard but they saw him become jealous and angry several times.
Heard claims that she was also unable to pursue her career due to Depp’s comments to the media. She claimed that these comments were false.
What lies at the core of Depp’s case?”
Depp’s lawyers claim that Heard was abusive to them, and not the other way around. They brought in a variety of witnesses who were familiar with the couple to testify that they had never seen Heard suffer any injuries. They recorded various recordings where Heard insults Depp and taunts him.
According to the actor, Heard’s allegations led people in the entertainment business to believe that he was a fraud. Heard claimed that he lost his career and “everything” because of this.
Who is Adam Waldman, you ask?
D.C.-based lawyer Adam Waldman represents Johnny Depp. However, this case is not related to him. Amber Heard’s countersuit was based on several statements to the media that characterized her claims as a hoax. According to one statement, Amber Heard made to the Daily Mail, “Amber Heard” and other media friends used fake sexual violence allegations to make their claims. He also released audio recordings to the outlet. Waldman was able to testify via video deposition in defense of his case. However, he refused to answer almost every question, citing attorney-client privilege.
Before the lunch break, closing arguments are concluded
Elaine Bredehoft, Heard’s attorney, concluded closing arguments before the lunch break. The trial will resume at 2:10 p.m. There will be approximately 45 minutes of rebuttals before the jury deliberations.
Heard the lawyer address the counterclaim
Elaine Bredehoft (Amber Heard’s lawyer) addressed Heard’s counterclaim for $100 million. It was prompted by three statements by Adam Waldman (one of Johnny Depp’s lawyers), that dismissed Heard’s claims of abuse as false. Waldman claimed that Heard and her friends were committing an “abuse hoax.”
Bredehoft described Depp’s suit in this light as “psychological abuse” and pointed out that Depp had lost a case in 2020 in England in which he sued Dan Wootton, the executive editor of the Sun in Britain, for publishing a story about Depp being a “wife-beater.”
Bredehoft stated, “We are asking you to finally hold that man responsible.” He has never taken responsibility for anything in his past. We ask you to hold him legally liable and to compensate Amber for the hoax he created.
Depp claimed that he did not know Waldman’s statements about the Daily Mail. However, Bredehoft pointed to Waldman’s testimony that he and Depp had met two months before their publication.
She added that Waldman’s statements count as Depp’s because he represents the actor.
The plaintiff’s lawyers repeatedly objected to Bredehoft’s statements, as was the case throughout the trial.
Heard lawyers say the case is more than just the couple
Attorney Ben Rottenborn concluded his closing arguments by expressing one last thought about the six-week trial’s impact after recounting Amber Heard’s abuse claims and Johnny Depp’s alleged substance abuse.
He said, “This trial is so much more than Johnny Depp against Amber Heard.” It’s about freedom of speech. It’s about the freedom of speech. Protect it, stand up for it, and reject Mr. Depp’s accusations against Amber.