Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s lawyers delivered their closing arguments on the final day of the defamation trial on Friday.
Over the past six weeks, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor and Aquaman actress have been in court in Fairfax, Virginia for the televised and highly publicised trial.
He sued her for defamation for referring to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed, and she countersued him for defamation after his then-lawyer called her abuse allegations a hoax.
On Friday, six years to the day Heard was granted a restraining order against Depp, the trial came to an end with their lawyers’ closing arguments.
“On May 27, 2016, Ms. Heard walked into a courthouse in Los Angeles, California, to get a no notice, ex-parte restraining order against Mr. Depp and 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,” his lawyer Camille Vasquez said, reports CNN. “Today, May 27, 2022, exactly six years later, we ask you to give Mr. Depp his life back by telling the world that Mr. Depp is not the abuser Ms. Heard said he is and hold Ms. Heard accountable for her lies.”
His other lawyer Benjamin Chew insisted Depp’s claim wasn’t about money or punishing his ex-wife but to free him “from the prison he’s been in for the past six years”.
Heard’s attorney Benjamin Rottenborn told the jury that Depp launched a “campaign of global humiliation” against Heard and “cannot and will not take responsibility for his own actions”. He added that if his client “wanted to be malicious”, her 2018 op-ed would have looked quite different.
Wrapping up his argument, he said, “Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to tell Mr. Depp this was his last chance, tell him to move on with his life, tell him to let Amber move on with hers. Stand up for the freedom of speech, stand up for the First Amendment. This trial is about so much more than Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard. It’s about the freedom of speech; stand up for it, protect it and reject Mr. Depp’s claims against Amber.”
Judge Penney Azcarate instructed the jury to consider only the evidence given in court and not any “sympathy, bias guesswork, or speculation” during their deliberations.