Amber Heard’s defense attorney has claimed Johnny Depp will seek to turn the libel case against his ex-wife into a “soap opera” but warned it would be a distraction.
de Rottenborn, Ms. Heard’s attorney, said the case concerned Ms. Heard’s First Amendment right to discuss her experiences and argued that context matters.
He asked the jury to read the entire article that Ms. Heard had written for The Washington Post – the article that led to the lawsuit – and not just the parts highlighted by Mr Depp.
He then read the article to the jury and asked why Mr Depp had not sued The Washington Post as well as Ms Heard, who claimed he wanted to “ruin her life, destroy her”.
Meanwhile, Depp’s lawyers said he will “go to his grave knowing there will always be people who believe he molested a woman.”
Attorneys on behalf of the actor said Heard was “preparing to give the performance of his life” during the US trial that recently began.
Jury members heard Mr Depp had been cast as the “villain” in the story when the six-week trial at the Fairfax County Courthouse, Virginia, opened on Tuesday.
The actor, 58, is suing actress Heard, his former partner, for defamation over the article she wrote for in 2018 The Washington Post in which she spoke about her experiences with domestic violence.
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Mr Depp’s lawyers say the article falsely implied that Heard, 35, was physically and sexually abused by him when they were married.
He says the allegations made it difficult for him to get the kind of roles he used to have and filed the $50 million lawsuit in 2019.
Speaking to the jury, Benjamin Chew, representing Depp, said: “Some of you may recognize Johnny Depp for his portrayal of characters like Edward Scissorhands and Captain Jack Sparrow.
“For over 30 years he has built a career as one of Hollywood’s most talented actors.
“Today his name is associated with a lie. A false testimony from his ex-wife Amber Heard.”
Mr Chew said the lie “represented Mr Depp as a villain, a man who would violently abuse a woman”.
“This is a case of how devastating words can be. Words matter,” he said.
Both actors are personally taking part in the process and are expected to testify.
Camille Vasquez, who is also representing Depp, said: “Mr Depp will go to his grave knowing that there will always be people who believe he abused a woman.
“Ms Heard took on the role of her life, she couldn’t back down.
“She’s been living and breathing that lie for years. She is preparing to give the performance of her life in the process.”
Scores of people, mostly Depp fans, crowded the courtroom on Tuesday as the case officially opened.
Depp wore a navy suit and black shirt with a cream tie, while Heard wore a gray blazer and wore her hair in a low bun.
Heard’s article was titled, “I’ve spoken out against sexual violence — and faced the wrath of our culture.” That has to change.” Mr Depp was not mentioned by name.
The case is being brought in Virginia and not in California, where the actors live The Washington Post Online editions appear
via servers located in Fairfax County.
Other high-profile celebrities are listed as witnesses in the trial, including actors James Franco and Paul Bettany, and Tesla founder Elon Musk.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/johnny-depp-is-out-to-destroy-amber-heard-lawyer-says-in-opening-statement-41547031.html Johnny Depp wants to destroy Amber Heard, lawyer says in opening speech