Amber Heard’s abuse claims a ‘profound cruelty’ to real survivors, court hears

Lawyers for the actor said a ‘mountain’ of evidence that Mr Depp assaulted his former partner was ‘simply not there’.

Mike Bedigan
Friday 27 May 2022 16:10
Amber Heard’s abuse claims ‘act of profound cruelty’ to real survivors, court hears (Steve Helber/AP)
Amber Heard’s abuse claims ‘act of profound cruelty’ to real survivors, court hears (Steve Helber/AP)

Amber Heard’s claims that Johnny Depp was violent towards her are “an act of profound cruelty to true survivors of domestic abuse”, a court has heard.

Lawyers for the actor said a “mountain” of evidence that Mr Depp assaulted his former partner was “simply not there” as they made their closing remarks in the high-profile US defamation lawsuit.

The actor is suing his former partner over a 2018 article she wrote in the Washington Post, which was titled: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

The article does not mention Mr Depp by name, yet his lawyers say it falsely implies he physically and sexually abused Ms Heard while they were together.

His lawyer Camille Vasquez began her opening remarks on Friday by reminding jurors that Ms Heard had filed a restraining order against her former partner on May 27 2016.

“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,” she said.

The actor is suing his former partner over a 2018 article she wrote in the Washington Post (Steve Helber/AP)

“On May 27 2022, exactly six years later, we ask you to give Mr Depp his life back.

“What is at stake in this trial is a man’s life.”

She continued: “There is an abuser in this courtroom but it is not Mr Depp.

“There is a victim of domestic abuse in this courtroom, but it is not Ms Heard.”

Ms Vasquez told jurors that there was no evidence that Mr Depp had abused Ms Heard, only “a mountain of unproven allegations”.

“The mountain of evidence that Mr Depp abused Ms Heard is simply not there,” she said.

“What we have is a mountain of unproven allegations that are wild, over the top and implausible, and you can’t pick and choose which of these wild allegations to believe and which ones to disregard.

His lawyer Camille Vasquez began her opening remarks on Friday (Steve Helber/AP)

“You either believe all of it, or none of it.

“Either she is a victim of truly horrific abuse or she is a woman who is willing to say absolutely anything.

She added: “It is disturbing to think Ms Heard would make up the horrific tales of abuse that she testified to in this courtroom.

“What Ms Heard testified to in this courtroom is a story of far too many women, but the overwhelming evidence and weight of that evidence is that it is not her story.

“It is not Ms Heard’s story.

“It was an act of profound cruelty not just to Mr Depp, but to true survivors of domestic abuse for Ms Heard to hold herself out as a public figure representing domestic abuse.

“It was false, it was defamatory and it caused irreparable harm.”

Recalling her and her colleague Benjamin Chew’s opening statements, Ms Vasquez continued: “We told you that this would be the performance of her lifetime, as a heroic survivor of abuse.

“She came into this courtroom ready to give the performance of her lifetime, and she gave it.”

But she added the court had heard evidence from Ms Heard’s acting coach, who said Ms Heard had difficulty pretending to cry while acting.

“You saw it, Ms Heard sobbing without tears while spinning elaborate, exaggerated, fantastical accounts of abuse,” she said.

During the course of the trial, held at the Fairfax County District Court in Virginia, legions of fans have gathered outside the courthouse (Craig Hudson/AP)

Mr Chew concluded the closing remarks by telling jurors that Mr Depp’s reputation would be “forever tarnished” by the allegations of abuse and that the truth was “worth fighting for”.

“This case is about…restoring (Mr Depp’s) lost reputation,” Mr Chew said.

“It’s about showing his children, Lily Rose and Jack that the truth is worth fighting for.

“It is.”

Mr Chew returned to his seat and was seen to embrace Mr Depp.

The actor is claiming 50 million dollars (£40 million) in damages in the lawsuit and says that the allegations caused him to lose several high-profile film roles, including the Fantastic Beasts and Pirates Of The Caribbean franchises.

Ms Heard is counter-suing Mr Depp over comments previously made by his lawyer Adam Waldman, who allegedly referred to her abuse claims as a “hoax”.

The case is being brought in Virginia rather than in California, where the actors live, because The Washington Post’s online editions are published through servers located in Fairfax County.

During the course of the trial, held at the Fairfax County District Court in Virginia, legions of fans have gathered outside in an attempt to enter the courtroom and observe proceedings.

Scores were pictured outside on Friday ahead of the closing arguments.

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