The upcoming trial over libel allegations made by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, is going to be something to behold. So much so that Heard’s lawyers said that the next six weeks could turn into a mudslinging soap opera.
“You’re going to see who the real Johnny Depp is — behind the fame, behind the pirate costumes,” J. Benjamin Rottenborn addressed the jury during his opening statements. “Because Johnny Depp brought this case, all of this is going to come out.”
Depp sued Heard for libel following an op-ed piece that she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018 where she referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Depp claims that the article indirectly defames him with abuse allegations that he has long denied.
Depp himself was not specifically named in the piece, making this suit all the more interesting.
It was a fact not lost on his lawyers either. Which cause them to address it on the first day of the trial.
Depp’s lawyer, Benjamin Chew, said specifically calling out his client was not needed.
“It didn’t have to,” Chew argued. “Everyone in Hollywood knew exactly what she was talking about.”
The team for the actor is setting up the argument that the article is an example of “defamation by implication.”
It ensued a back and forth that lead the Heard team to say that Depp’s reputation was not damaged — the basis for a libel case — and that it was well known what type of person he was.
“This man’s poor choices have brought him to this point,” Heard’s lawyers said. “Stop blaming other people for your own self-created problems.”
He made it clear that the article was not new information and that the abuse accusations had been public for two years. He went into Depp’s spiraling career and made sure to note that it was the result of drinking and drug-using.
Camille Vasquez, another lawyer for Depp, tried to argue to the jury that Heard can not back down from the allegations at this point. That she wove a web of lies so big that she can not escape it.
“She can’t back down. She has been living and breathing this lie for years,” Vasquez said. “She’s going to give the performance of a lifetime in this courtroom.”
For other performances, Depp and Heard are both expected to testify at the trial. If that is not enough star power Paul Bettany and James Franco are each slated to appear as is Elon Musk.