After more than 100 hours of testimony over six weeks, closing arguments began on Friday in the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.
Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote in which she called herself “a public figure representing domestic abuse,” claiming it caused him to lose work. Heard has countersued for $100 million for defamation.
Attorney Camille Vasquez began presenting closing arguments for Depp.
“On May 27, 2016 Ms. Heard walked into a courthouse in Los Angeles, California, to get a no notice, ex-parte restraining order against Mr. Depp and in doing so, ruined his life by falsely telling the world that she was a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp,” Vasquez said. “Today, May 27, 2022 exactly six years later, we ask you to give Mr. Depp his life back by telling the world that Mr. Depp is not the abuser Ms. Heard said he is and hold Ms. Heard accountable for her lies .”
Heard’s attorneys, Elaine Bredehoft and Ben Rottenborn, also delivered their closing arguments to jurors.
“A ruling against Amber here sends the message that no matter what you do as an abuse victim, you always have to do more,” Rottenborn said. “No matter what you document, you always have to document more. No matter who you tell, you always have to tell more people. No matter how honest you are about your own imperfections and your own shortcomings in a relationship, you need to be perfect in order for people to believe you. Don’t send that message.”
Rottenborn added that there were “overwhelming” facts showing Depp abused Heard.
Jurors are listening to 45 minutes of rebuttal closing arguments before beginning deliberations.
Judge Penney Azcarate began the day by giving jurors instructions for their deliberations.
“You must not base your verdict in any way on sympathy, bias guesswork, or speculation,” Azcarate said. “Your verdict must be based solely upon the evidence and instructions of the court. Your verdict must be based on the facts as you find them and on the law that you find in all of these instructions.”