In one of the most famous trials in recent history, Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard were embroiled in a fierce legal battle for six weeks. On May 27, Depp's legal team gave their closing arguments.
The popular attorney, Camille Vasquez, started her statement by calling Heard an "abuser."
"There is an abuser in this courtroom, but it's not Mr. Depp. There's a victim of abuse in this court, but it's not Miss Heard. Miss Heard is, in fact, the abuser, and Mr. Depp is the abused."
Vasquez referenced expert opinions that showed that Heard was struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder. She went on to say that the actress was "deeply troubled" and "desperate for attention and approval."
Depp's lawyer also noted that the actress had filed a restraining order against Depp and effectively "ruined" his life.
The lawyer noted that the actress had falsely told the world that she had survived domestic violence at the hands of Johnny Depp.
When she gave the closing statement, it was exactly six years since Heard had filed a restraining order against Depp.
The lawyer went on to ask the court to give Depp his life back by saying to the world that the abuser was Heard, not him. She also wanted the court to hold her accountable for her lies.
At 3 pm, the jury went to deliberate on the case.
Vasquez went on to say that Depp's name and life were at stake. The lawyer noted that the accusations he faced had made him lose the life he had, and vindication would help fix that.
She accused Heard of setting Depp up by filing a false report of domestic abuse against him after 15 months of marriage.
Vasquez also accused her of tipping off the paparazzi because she knew they would show up and give her a chance to show off her bruise.
As she continued giving the statement, Vasquez said that Heard was successful in helping the media get the photos she wanted the world to see, "the image of a battered woman." The lawyer noted that the mark she was showing off had appeared on her face six days after she had seen Depp.
"It was a lie, she knew it."
Although the lawyer claimed that those who had seen her that week knew she was lying, the world saw something different.
In court, the cover of Heard on the cover of People Magazine showing off her bruised face was also displayed.
Vasquez then said that two years after that, while Heard was promoting the biggest role in her career, she tried to display herself as a public figure representing domestic violence.
The lawyer referred to the film career as the biggest role in the actress' career "until this trial."
She also pointed out that her accusations against Depp were "wild and over the top," which meant it was impossible to pick and choose what to believe and ignore: "You believe all of it or none of it."
Vasquez noted that Heard was either a victim of horrific abuse or someone ready to say anything. She also said that it would be disturbing to imagine that she made up the appalling stories of abuse she told in court throughout the trial.
Although Vasquez noted that abuse was a reality for "far too many women," the evidence in the case showed that Heard was not among them.
For this reason, she said that what Heard had done was an act of "profound cruelty" to both Depp and victims of domestic abuse.
"It was false, it was defamatory, and it caused irreparable harm."
Judge Penney Azcarate said that the names of the jury members would be sealed for a year due to the "high profile nature" of the case. She had not made such a ruling when the trial started.
As Vasquez continued with her statement, she pointed out that the court had heard Heard admitting to being physically abusive towards Depp.
The jury heard the recording where she told Depp, "I didn't punch you, I hit you."
The lawyer then asked the court to take a minute to think about what Heard had said in the audio. She claimed that the recording did not have any record of Depp saying he had hit, punched, or kicked Heard because that "didn't happen."
According to Vasquez, Heard "went on the attack" when she learned that Depp planned to end their relationship. She sent him a "list of financial demands." When her demands were not met, she set out to divorce him and ruin his life.
Vasquez told the court that Heard told "lies upon lies," including claiming that she had given away the $7 million divorce settlement from Depp to ACLU and the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles.
The lawyer called this a "blatant lie" and pointed out that she had given ACLU less than $1 million and only $250,000 to the hospital.
Vasquez also claimed that whenever Heard was caught in a lie, she would cover up with more lies.
She then addressed the "giant lie at the heart of this case." This was about Heard claiming that Depp was an abusive monster and that she was posing as a public figure representing domestic abuse.
The lawyer claimed that the trial was a performance for Heard, the role of a lifetime in which she tried to act as a heroic survivor of abuse. Vasquez said that Heard "went all in" and came up with a shocking story about brutal abuse.
"She came into this courtroom prepared to give the performance of her life, and she gave it."
Vasquez then referenced an incident during Heard's testimony when Heard had problems shedding tears despite her sobbing while talking about the alleged abuse she suffered. The lawyer reminded the court that her acting coach had said that she often had problems crying when acting.
The lawyer said Heard's testimony was "a performance." She was simply saying what she believed the court needed to hear to accuse Depp of being an abuser and a rapist.
Vasquez said that although she tried to make the court believe that she was abused throughout the relationship, the evidence did not favor her claims.
She then told the jury about many incidents in which Heard claimed to have been beaten up, including a December 2015 attack in which she said that Depp headbutted her and left her with two black eyes, a broken nose, and chunks of hair missing.
The court was then shown a picture of Heard at the James Corden show the next day. She was smiling and acting silly around the camera.
Vasquez also talked about the incident in Australia. Heard claimed that Depp violently raped her with a bottle.
The lawyer said that the only monster in that house was Heard, not Depp. Vasquez claimed that all the evidence pointed to the fact that Heard had attacked and wounded Depp after she threw a bottle at him and severed his finger.
Benjamin Chew, Depp's lawyer, continued with the closing argument and said that Heard wrote the op-ed as part of her effort to promote Aquaman. According to Chew, Heard was making Depp "the villain in her drama."
Chew then went on to say that the case was not about money or punishing Heard, but it was about Depp's reputation and "freeing him from the prison he's lived in for the past six years."
According to Chew, Heard's claims against Depp were "despicably false."
He pointed out that Depp's name had been tarnished forever by the horrific accusations made against him. However, the case was about revealing the truth about what happened.
The case, according to Chew, was about restoring Depp's reputation and showing his children that truth is worth fighting for. He also said that the purpose of the case was to restore Depp's standing in the community.
The lawyer pointed out that the actor had borne the burden of these accusations for the last six years, and he was willing to tell the whole truth, even when it was pretty embarrassing.
Chew also pointed out that Heard had tried to portray herself as a heroic survivor of domestic abuse while depicting Depp as the abuser, which was "utterly false."
He urged the court to give Depp his name back and reminded the court that no other woman in his 58 years had accused him of abuse before Heard.
"This is MeToo without any MeToo."
In their closing arguments, Heard's lawyer asked the jury to think of the message Depp and his legal team were sending to Heard and "every victim of domestic violence."
Benjamin Rottenborn claimed:
"If you didn't take pictures, it didn't happen. If you did take pictures, they're fake. If you didn't tell your friends, they're lying. If you did tell your friends, they're part of the hoax."
He went on to say that failure to seek medical attention meant that no injury was suffered.
Rottenborn also claimed that Depp asked the court to send the message that if you try to leave and save yourself, you are a gold digger. He claimed that as far as Depp was concerned, leaving him meant experiencing a campaign of humiliation.
The lawyer also accused Depp of doing everything to destroy Heard's life and career and asked the jury to try and not be an accomplice to his plans. Heard's lawyer also claimed that Depp could not take responsibility for what he had done.
Elaine Bredehoft, Heard's other lawyer, said that Depp was lying by claiming he wanted his life back because he had lost a similar case in London in 2020.
She claimed that the six weeks of the trial were just a chance for him to go after Heard. Bredehoft contended that the case was a form of psychological abuse since he had put Heard through the same experience again.
Bredehoft wanted the jury to "finally hold" Depp responsible because he has never accepted responsibility for anything in his life.
She said that the jury should hold him responsible so that he does not put Heard through another lawsuit so that she can be left alone to continue with her life.
The lawyer then argued that Heard intended to honor her pledges and donate $3.5 million to ACLU and $3.5 million to the Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
The only reason she had not done so, the lawyer argued, was because she had to deal with the lawsuit first.
Bredehoft also argued that Heard had been destroyed and consumed by the case. She also mentioned the threats people were making against her saying that they would put her daughter in a microwave, which, according to the lawyer, meant "she can't get away from this."
The lawyer claimed that she had sued Depp for $100 million because she wanted to send him a message.
Nevertheless, although Heard's legal team did not expect that she would be getting the full amount, they wished that the jury would "fully and fairly compensate" her for what she had been through about reputation and emotional distress.
The lawyers also wanted the jury to award them $350,000 in punitive damages.
During Heard's closing argument, phones began going off, and the judge mentioned that it was an "Amber Alert," a system that alerts the public about abducted children.
According to Rottenborn, the issue the jury should worry about the most is whether Heard has a First Amendment right to write The Washington Post op-ed. The lawyer argued that she had a right to talk about the "hell" she went through.
Rottenborn argued that it was impossible to side with Depp and still uphold the First Amendment. As far as he is concerned, if the jury believes that Heard wrote the truth, then that's the end of the case.
He claimed that Depp's legal team had criticized Heard for not speaking about the abuse she suffered much earlier. Rottenborn argued that people did not want to "broadcast to the world" what they suffered as victims of abuse.
Rottenborn argued that the purpose of Depp's case was to blame Heard for things she never did. He blamed Depp for always blaming people and never taking responsibility.
The lawyer claimed that Heard could not be held liable for words she did not publish. He also said that the abuse Heard suffered while with Depp was "heinous."
As far as he was concerned, even if Depp was abused once, she wins the case. He made it clear that he talked about physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, and financial abuse.
The lawyer told the jury that Depp was trying to fool the jury into thinking that he had never been abusive towards Heard, which he termed as "absurd."
He claimed that the case was not about who was the better spouse, and he asked the jury to decide in Heard's favor if both of them were abusive in the relationship.
Rottenborn then referenced evidence presented in court during the trial, including messages between Depp and his "drug buddy" Paul Bettany, the British actor. The two talked about wanting to "drown" Heard and "f**k her burnt corpse."
The lawyer said this was some of the most disgusting language imaginable.
When Heard filed for divorce in 2016, Depp messaged a friend saying that he wanted her rotting corpse decomposing in the trunk of a Honda Civic.
Rottenborn claimed that this was the "real Johnny Depp."
In the same text, Depp promised to put Heard through "global humiliation," which the lawyer said was the only promise to her he ever kept.
The jury was then shown a video in which Depp was smashing up his kitchen and drinking a "mega pint" of wine. While introducing the clip, Rotten said, "Let's see the monster."
The lawyer said that although Depp knew he could turn into a monster, he had tried to deny that in court because he lacked accountability.
He went on to say that Heard was laughing in the video as it came to an end, which Rottenborn claimed was not appropriate under the circumstances. The lawyer claimed that Depp was behaving like a wild animal, and that was abuse.
Rottenborn then accused Depp's witnesses of being on "his payroll." He also referenced a text in which Depp told Heard she was a "lesbian camp counselor" while she was flying with his daughter from his island when he got drunk and abusive.
Heard's lawyer also said the actor was moaning "like an animal" during a flight from Boston to Los Angeles, during which he passed out.
He claimed that Depp was controlling and prone to flying in a rage over jealousy. To support his point, he referenced a message he wrote to Heard, saying, "I have other uses for your throat which do not include the injury."
According to the lawyer, this was "vile" and insight into Depp's thoughts on women.
Rottenborn also argued that it made no sense for Heard to create photos of bruises.
He also argued that evidence that Heard was abused was "absolutely overwhelming." Rottenborn requested the jury to send a message to abuse victims by showing them that they don't have to be perfect in a relationship to be believed.
Rottenborn also claimed that Heard's op-ed was not a "hit piece" and explained that she had gotten advice from her lawyer. He then accused Heard of using his lawyer Adam Waldman as an "attack dog" to spread misinformation about Heard.
In 2020, Depp lost a libel case at the High Court in London with the judge deciding that the claim that he was a "wife-beater" was "substantially true."
According to Rottenborn, this was the last chance for Depp to learn that he needed to move on with his life and leave Heard alone.
He then urged the jury to stand up for freedom of speech because it must be protected.