Jury In Amber Heard And Johnny Depp Trial Come To Judge With A Question
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The Pirates of the Caribbean actor has sued his ex-wife for $50 million (£38.2 million) over a 2018 article she wrote in the Washington Post, titled: "I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change."
Although the article did not mention Depp by name, his lawyers say it falsely implied he physically and sexually abused the Aquaman actor while they were together.
Heard is also counter-suing Depp over comments previously made by his lawyer Adam Waldman, who allegedly referred to her abuse claims as a 'hoax'.
Now, following six-weeks of evidence, the jury are deliberating their verdict.
The way in which the jury will come to their conclusion is to answer 21 questions that have been put to them by the judge.
And today (31 May), the jury have asked the judge if they consider just the op-ed headline "I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath" in their evaluation, or what's in the body of the op-ed.
Judge Penney Azcarate cleared up the question and agreed with both legal teams that jurors must class the 'headline' as the potentially defamatory statement, not the 'article' itself.
Other questions that the jury must answer range from - 'The statement was made or published by Ms. Heard?' to 'The statement has a defamatory implication about Mr. Depp'.
While the final question states: "Do you find that Mr. Depp has proven by clear and convincing evidence that Ms. Heard acted with actual malice?"
In his closing remarks, Benjamin Rottenborn, who is representing Heard, said: “The facts are absolutely overwhelming, of abuse.
“Mr Depp simply cannot prove to you that he never once abused Amber, and if you don’t know, you have to return a verdict for Ms Heard.
“A ruling against Amber here sends the message that no matter what you do as an abuse victim you always need to do more.”
Also in her closing remarks, Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, said: “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.
“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.
“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.”