Amber Heard lawyer says she should win case even if she cut Johnny Depp’s finger off with an axe

Heard’s lawyer raised eyebrows in his closing argument as he sought to downplay the importance of a fight in which Depp’s finger was severed

Megan Sheets
Friday 27 May 2022 20:20 BST
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(AP)
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Amber Heard’s lawyer raised eyebrows in his closing argument as he sought to downplay the importance of a fight in which Johnny Depp’s finger was severed.

Hours of testimony in the defamation trial opposing the Hollywood stars centred around a violent incident in Australia in 2015, during which the tip of Mr Depp’s finger was cut off.

Mr Depp claimed the injury occurred when an “irate” Ms Heard hurled a vodka bottle at him and it shattered. Ms Heard, however, said she was not awake at the time and speculated that he may have cut the finger when smashing a phone against a wall. Ms Heard also alleges Mr Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle the same night.

In his closing argument on Friday, Ms Heard’s attorney Ben Rottenborn told jurors that it doesn’t matter whose account of the fight is true.

“There’s been testimony about what happened to cut the finger off, but frankly it’s irrelevant to your deliberations here,” he said.

“Amber could have chopped it off with an axe and it has nothing to do with whether or not Mr. Depp abused her.”

“She didn’t but it doesn’t matter,” he added.

Mr Rottenborn’s closing argument as a whole hinged on the message that ruling in favour of Mr Depp would make jurors an “accomplice” to his abuse and campaign to subject Ms Heard to “global humiliation”.

In closing for the other side, attorney Camille Vasquez urged jurors to “give Mr Depp his life back” after it was ruined by Ms Heard’s “vicious lie”.

Mr Depp is suing his ex-wife for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she penned for The Washington Post where she described herself as a “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor is not named in the article, which is titled “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.

However Mr Depp claims that it falsely implies that he is a domestic abuser – something that he strongly denies – and that it has left him struggling to land roles in Hollywood. He is suing for $50m.

Ms Heard is countersuing for $100m, accusing Mr Depp of orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.

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