WARNING: This story contains details of intimate partner violence.
Johnny Depp’s lawyers asked a jury Friday “to give Mr. Depp his life back” by finding his ex-wife, Amber Heard, guilty of libel.
Heard “ruined his life by falsely telling the world she was a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp,” lawyer Camille Vasquez told the jury in closing arguments.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million US in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” While the article doesn’t mention Depp’s name, his lawyers say he was defamed by it because of Heard’s earlier public allegations against him.
Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim against Depp after his lawyer called her allegations of a hoax.
Heard’s lawyer to present closing arguments Friday
Depp says he never struck Heard and that she made up the abuse allegations to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings. He has said he was often physically attacked by Heard.
“There is an abuser in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp,” Vasquez said.
Heard testified about more than a dozen episodes of physical and sexual assault that she said Depp inflicted on her. On Thursday, Heard told jurors that a harassment campaign waged against her by Depp has left her humiliated and scared for her life due to multiple death threats, and said she just wants “Johnny to leave me alone.”
Each side will have two hours to summarize their case in a trial that has stretched on for six weeks. With broadcast cameras in the courtroom, a celebrity trial that garnered intense interest from the outset has only gained momentum as fans have weighed in on social media and lined up overnight for courtroom seats.
Heard’s lawyers will present their closing arguments later Friday.
Support is available for anyone who has been abused or assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. The Canadian Women’s Foundation’s Signal For Help is a silent, one-handed gesture to use in a video call to indicate that you are at risk of violence at home. If you’re in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.