Johnny Depp v Amber Heard closing arguments disrupted as storm warning blares through courtroom

Heard attorney Ben Rottenborn was in the middle of his closing at the court in Fairfax, Virginia, when phones began to go off

Megan Sheets
Friday 27 May 2022 18:52 BST
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Depp v Heard closing arguments disrupted as storm warning blares through courtroom

Closing arguments in the defamation trial opposing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were disrupted on Friday as a storm warning blared through the courtroom.

Ms Heard’s attorney Ben Rottenborn was in the middle of his closing at the court in Fairfax, Virginia, when phones began to go off, causing him to pause.

Judge Penney Azcarate gently instructed anyone in the courtroom to silence their phones before Mr Rottenborn continued.

Livestreams from the courtroom then became choppy, perhaps due to the weather.

Severe thunderstorm warnings are currently in effect across northern Virginia, central Maryland and Washington DC.

Mr Rottenborn’s closing argument centred around 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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