Johnny Depp And Amber Heard: Current Legal Battle
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are facing each other in court from the 12th of April onwards over claims that were mentioned in court that the actor Johnny Depp “sexually assaulted” the actress Amber Heard towards the end of their marriage. They divorced in 2016 and have since been in the public eye for their troubled marriage, which will not be put to light due to cameras being allowed in court. Read on for full details on what has happened so far.
At the beginning of this defamation trial, a claim that had never been made publicly before were referenced in the opening statements. Johnny Depp is reported to be suing Amber Heard “over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in which she claimed she was a survivor of domestic abuse”. The pair got married in 2015 and split in 2016, and they are now together to battle each other at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia.
Johnny Depp’s lawyers, Ben Chew and Camille Vasquez, countered Amber Heard’s narrative by calling her “a profoundly troubled person” who is acting like a victim but is in fact “a perpetrator of domestic violence”. The lawyer Camille Vasquez said, “The only medical report of an injury during their relationship was a severe one sustained by Mr. Depp after an argument shortly after their marriage, while the couple was in Australia … She threw a vodka bottle at him that hit his hand and exploded, severing the end of one of his fingers.”
Johnny Depp’s attorneys further stated, “Ms. Heard had never made that accusation against Mr. Depp — it was never part of her allegations of abuse in 2016. So, what changed? When she realized the seriousness of what she alleged [about being the victim of domestic abuse], she panicked and alleged sexual assault,” Vasquez told the jury. “In Mr. Depp’s fifty-eight years, not a single woman has ever accused him of violence, and nobody in Hollywood or the world had any reason to believe he was an abuser – until Ms. Heard publicly accused him.”
Amber Heard’s attorney Ben Rottenborn said, “It’s not about which party can sling more mud. But you’re going to hear a lot of that in this trial. You’re going to hear that because that’s what Mr. Depp wants to turn this case into. He wants to turn this case into a six-week-long public spectacle of the most intimate aspects of their relationship and their marriage.”
When the trial began, Ben Chew and Camille Vasquez, who are Johnny Depp’s lawyers, were the first to speak and addressed Amber Heard’s sexual assault claims right away, taking aim at her credibility. This has come into question in the past 18 months due to a testimony she gave at a different trial in 2019; Under oath, Amber Heard had stated “that she had donated the entirety of her $7 million divorce settlement to charity — specifically, to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the ACLU. Her attorneys have fought to keep out evidence that she did not actually make those donations as claimed, but” Johnny Depp’s legal team managed to retrieve donor records and show she did not give the donation money as she claimed.
Jessica Herman Weitz, director of artist engagement at the ACLU, told The Hollywood Reporter in 2018, “I don’t think anyone would have looked differently at her if she kept the settlement money that was due to her, but she knew that money could do more for others than it could for her. It was not, ‘I’ll throw you a tweet.’ It was, ‘I’m putting my money where my mouth is.’”
Amber Heard’s lawyers raised the sexual assault allegation during their opening argument and spoke of the incident as “a three-day blackout in which he abused and sexually assaulted Amber. You will hear in the most graphic and horrifying terms about the [sexual] violence that she suffered. You’ll hear that straight from her.”
According to the Rolling Stone, “At the heart of the case is Depp’s claim that his reputation was tarnished and his A-list movie star status negatively impacted when Heard wrote about domestic abuse in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Though Depp, who also is expected to testify, wasn’t named in the piece, there was little ambiguity at the time about who Heard was referencing, considering that their scorched-earth divorce proceedings had played out just two years before. In the piece, Heard created a timeline that dovetailed with allegations she made in 2016, as the marriage was dissolving. ‘Two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,’ she wrote. That prompted Depp to sue his former wife for $50 million in 2019, with the actress countersuing a year later for $100 million. (The Washington Post was not named in the actor’s suit.)”
Due to the allegations and claims, Johnny Depp said he has lost many film roles such as a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ sequel, and being replaced in the ‘Fantastic Beasts’ franchise, having had ties cut by Warner Bros.
The hearing at Fairfax in Virginia is set to last for six weeks, in which both stars are to give evidence and fight for their case.