Final court show down in Depp Vs Heard trial as jury are sent to deliberate verdict

27 May 2022, 22:14 | Updated: 28 May 2022, 00:56

The closing arguments have been made in the US defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard
The closing arguments have been made in the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Megan Hinton

After six weeks of evidence and details of violent altercations between the pair, the closing arguments have been made in the US defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

Mr Depp's legal team were first to give closing arguments.

His lawyer Camille Vasquez told jurors that on May 27 2016 Ms Heard walked into a courtroom in Los Angeles, California, and filed a restraining order against her former partner.

"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.

"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 said Amber Heard suffered from personality disorders that are characterised by "powerful and explosive anger" and was "violently afraid of abandonment (and) desperate for approval".

She 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."

Ms Vasquez said the court had heard testimony from Ms Heard's acting coach, who said Ms Heard had difficulty pretending to cry while acting.

"You saw it... sobbing without tears," she said.

Read more: Katie Price faces jail for breaching restraining order against ex-husband's fiancée


Benjamin Rottenborn, representing Amber Heard in the trial told jurors during the closing argument to "think about the message that Mr Depp and his attorneys are sending to Amber and victims of domestic abuse".

"If you didn't take pictures, it didn't happen," he said.

"If you didn't seek medical attention, you weren't injured."

He added: "Mr Depp cannot and will not take responsibility... it's all somebody else's fault."

Mr Rottenborn added: "If Amber was abused by Mr Depp even one time, then she wins... and we're not just talking about physical abuse, psychological...sexual abuse.

The lawyer returned to text messages, previously shown to the court, showing "the most vile, disgusting language that you could ever imagine".

"These words are a window into the heart and mind of America's favourite pirate," he said.

"This is the real Johnny Depp."

Read more: 'They threatened to microwave my baby': Amber Heard breaks down over social media abuse

In his final remarks, Mr Rottenborn urged members of the jury to "stand up" for the US Constitution first amendment: freedom of speech.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to tell Mr Depp that this was 'last chance'," he said.

"Tell him to move on with his life. Tell him to let Amber move on for hers.

"Stand up for the freedom of speech. Stand up for the first amendment.

He added: "This trial is about so much more than Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. It's about freedom of speech.

"Stand up for it, protect it, and reject Mr Depp's claims against Amber."

Read more: Amber Heard 'lost $50m' after divorce to Depp

Mr Depp 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.

Over the course of the trial jurors have heard evidence from a raft of family members, friends, work associates and medical experts.

Both Mr Depp and Ms Heard have also taken to the stand twice to give evidence and undergo cross-examination from the opposing legal teams.

The actor has consistently denied "outlandish, outrageous" claims of abuse brought by Ms Heard and says that he himself was the victim in their relationship.

Read more: Johnny Depp's allegations stopped Amber Heard from getting really famous, says agent

In her testimony Ms Heard has graphically recounted instances of physical and sexual violence that she claims she suffered at the hands of Mr Depp, several times becoming visibly upset.

Mr Depp 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".

Throughout the course of the trial legions of fans have queued outside the Fairfax County District Court in order to gain access to the courtroom - some having camped overnight to do so.

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.