Johnny Depp will arrive at the High Court in London on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Johnny Depp faces a second day of cross-examination by lawyers from the British tabloid The Sun, which defends a defamation lawsuit after calling the Hollywood star "a thug." Depp is suing the editor of The Sun, News Group Newspapers, and its editor-in-chief, Dan Wootton, for an April 2018 article in which he said he had abused ex-wife Amber Heard.
LONDON (AP) – Johnny Depp's defamation case against a British tabloid accused of assaulting ex-wife Amber Heard, who was involved in a London court Tuesday. The star's lawyer called Heard "an obsessive liar" and claimed that Depp was the real victim of abuse in the relationship.
The star "Pirates of the Caribbean" sued News Group Newspapers, the editor of The Sun, and the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, Dan Wootton, at the High Court in London for an article in April 2018 in which he was referred to as the "thug".
In the final arguments of the three-week trial, Depp's lawyer David Sherborne said the actor had emphatically denied "this call-destroying, career-ending claim".
"He's never beaten a woman in his life – period, period, Nada," Sherborne said.
WHAT WILL THE JUDGE DECIDE?
Judge Andrew Nicol has withdrawn to consider his verdict, which is expected in a few weeks.
Neither Depp nor Heard are on trial, although it was easy to forget that in a case that dismantled their toxic celebrity love affair.
Depp is the applicant in civil proceedings, NGN and Wootton are the accused, and Heard is their primary witness. To thwart Depp's defamation claim, the newspaper must convince the judge that the story was correct in the balance of probabilities.
NGN lawyer Sasha Wass said in a summary that there is no doubt that Depp "regularly and systematically abuses his wife" and that the "Ms. Bat" label was warranted.
But Sherborne said The Sun's article gave the false impression that Depp had been "tried, convicted and sentenced" for domestic violence and compared him to former film mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was jailed for sex offenses.
"As judges and jurors, the accused clearly state that Mr. Depp is guilty of a number of serious and violent crimes," he said.
What is controversial?
The two sides agree that the relationship between Depp and Heard, which began after they met on the set of the 2011 comedy "The Rum Diary", got sour long before their divorce in 2017. Texts, emails and records testify to the increasingly bitter relationship between Depp, now 57, and the 34-year-old model and the actress.
But they disagree about who started and escalated their struggles.
Heard claims that Depp, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, turned into a violent alter ego, which he called "The Monster". She claims 14 different incidents in which he hit, hit and bumped her, pulled her hair and threw bottles at her "like grenades".
Depp called the allegations a "joke," claiming that Heard hit him and even severed his fingertip with a vodka bottle.
Sherborne played an audio recording to the court, in which Heard said to Depp "I didn't hit you" but added "I hit you".
The lawyer said this was "an uncomplicated, unambiguous and unambiguous admission to have beaten him".
"Mr. Depp is far from being a domestic abuser but a domestic abuse," he said.
Sherborne noted that Heard received an injunction against Depp in 2016 for domestic violence and said, "She has since established herself as a lawyer for the # MeToo movement."
"It is a major disadvantage for these real victims, as well as for the #MeToo movement, that Ms. Heard counts herself as one of them," he said.
Sherborne accused Heard of having repeatedly changed her story during the trial, saying that during a "moment of malicious malevolence" on the witness stand, she made up a rumor that Depp had pushed former friend Kate Moss down a flight of stairs.
The lawyer said Heard was "a totally unreliable witness and frankly a compulsive liar – and I don't say that lightly."
WHAT DID WE LEARN?
The process has taken an accurate and often unflattering look at Hollywood's fame, revealing details of Depp's life full of wealth, luxury, emotional turmoil, and drug abuse.
Depp admitted heavy drug use, saying he took marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, and magic mushrooms and became addicted to opioid pain relievers. But he denied that drugs made him violent.
The couple's relationship dissolved against a glamorous international background. Heard said Depp's private island in the Bahamas, a penthouse in Los Angeles, a luxury train, and a private jet were places of violence.
Depp said on the witness stand that he had earned $ 650 million since joining the lucrative "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise – and incurred $ 100 million in debt after his financial advisors failed to pay his taxes for 17 years. He said his main expenses included $ 5 million to launch the ashes of his literary hero, drug-addicted journalist Hunter S. Thompson.
The couple's relationship also left a costly trail of destruction. The damage to a rented home in Australia after a dispute has been estimated at more than $ 100,000. The downtown LA penthouse was destroyed in another dispute. At one point, excrement was left in her bed – whether by a dog or a person is controversial.
Who are the winners and losers?
The UK defamation law is generally believed to favor applicants over defendants, but Depp could be a loser even if he wins.
Depp said he sued The Sun because Heard's accusations affected his career. But the lawsuit has brought the claims to a huge global audience.
"It's almost a belief that every sensible person has brought this case to court," said Mark Stephens, media lawyer at the Howard Kennedy law firm. "Mud sticks at some point."
Heard has also questioned its character and has been accused of fabricating evidence. A # MeToo activist, Katherine Kendall, claimed that Heard had used a violent rape that Kendall had suffered for her own ends.
Heard has been abused on social media by Depp fans. A small group of Depp supporters cheering and throwing flowers when he was evicted from the court were booed when Heard made a statement on the steps of the courthouse.
"I didn't file this lawsuit, and despite its importance, I would have preferred not to be here in court," Heard said. "It was incredibly painful to relive the separation of my relationship, to question my motives and my truth, and to share the most traumatic and intimate details of my life with Johnny in court and to broadcast it all over the world."
"I stand by my testimony and now I trust the British judiciary."
WILL THIS DIFICATE BE THE END OF HISTORY?
Unlikely. Depp sued Heard in Virginia for a Washington Post story of $ 50 million domestic violence. The process is scheduled to take place next year.
Stephens said that if Depp "loses in London, it is almost certain that he will lose this American case. So in a way it is a dress rehearsal for the second case."
Associate press clerk Danica Kirka contributed to this.