The American actor and his ex-wife have been in court since Monday to accuse each other of defamation.
The domestic violence charges brought against Johnny Depp by his ex-wife Amber Heard have had a “devastating” effect on the American actor’s career, his lawyer said on Tuesday in a court in the United States, where the former couple accuse each other of defamation.
The trial, which is taking place near Washington, stems from a column published in the Washington Post in 2018, in which Amber Heard described herself as a “victim of domestic violence” bullied by society after coming out of silence two years earlier. .
“This case shows how words can be devastating when they are false and spoken publicly,” said the actor’s lawyer, Benjamin Chew, at the opening of the proceedings.
“Amber Heard forever changed the life and reputation of Mr. Depp and you will hear him recount the terrible impact it had on his life,” he said, addressing the jurors.
A forum “in the wake of the MeToo movement”
According to Benjamin Chew, Amber Heard had accused her husband of violence in 2016 to get revenge on him after his decision to divorce.
And two years later, “in the wake of the MeToo movement” denouncing sexual violence “just before the film’s release Aquaman” in which she played, Amber Heard “chose to remind the world of these venomous allegations in a globally recognized newspaper,” assured the actor’s lawyer.
In her column, the 35-year-old actress did not name Johnny Depp, 58, whom she had met in 2009 and married in 2015. The following year, she had applied for a protective order to keep him safe. distance, claiming to have been struck by the actor. But she had renounced her charges as part of their divorce, concluded with a bang in 2017.
After the publication of this column, the former undercover policeman of 21 Jump Streetwho denies having ever hit his wife, filed a defamation suit against Amber Heard, claiming $50 million in damages.
The actress had in turn filed a defamation suit to obtain 100 million dollars, denouncing the extension of the “abuse” and “harassment” that Johnny Depp imposed on her during their marriage.
The actor filed his lawsuit in the state of Virginia, where the Washington Post is printed and where the legal framework is more favorable to complaints of defamation than in California, where the two actors reside. The trial takes place in a court in Fairfax, a small town in the state of Virginia near the American capital.
This case is primarily “about the First Amendment” to the Constitution which gave Amber Heard “the right to say the words she said,” Amber Heard’s attorney Ben Rottenborn replied, asking jurors “to uphold and protect” this right.
“If Amber had intended to use this article to detail the abuse she suffered…this article would have been very, very different,” he said.
“You will see the real Johnny Depp, beyond the red carpets, the notoriety and the money of the pirate costumes”, added the lawyer, evoking a man made violent by the abuse of alcohol and drugs, addictions that destroyed his career.
A trial broadcast live on television
The two former spouses attend the trial, broadcast live on television and which should be very well attended. It should last several weeks and the list of witnesses is worthy of the great Hollywood films, with billionaire Elon Musk, actors James Franco and Paul Bettany, and actress Ellen Barkin.
This scenario resembles the one that played out in 2020 in London. At the time, the star of the films Pirates of the Caribbean had sued the publishing company of the daily The Sun after an article portraying him as an abusive husband.
Called as a witness, his ex-wife had described a dozen attacks committed, according to her, by a husband transformed into a “monster” by his excessive use of drugs.
Johnny Depp had admitted to using too many drugs and alcohol, but said he had never laid his hand on a woman. He had received the support of his ex-companions Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder.
British justice had finally decided in favor of the tabloid, considering that “the vast majority of the alleged attacks had been proven”. After this setback, the actor’s career plunged and he was ousted from several projects, including the 6th opus of Pirates of the Caribbean.