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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: What You Need to Know | Sofia Ung

Johnny Depp – famously known for his role as Jack Sparrow – has been spending quite some time in the courtroom.

Taking place in Fairfax, Virginia, this highly publicized trial between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began on April 11th. Depp is suing his ex-wife, Heard, for defamation over an opinion piece she wrote for The Washington Post.

Heard is a model and actress, who in December of 2018, wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post titled, "I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture's wrath. That has to change." She, however, never mentions Depp's name, which provoked controversy.

Depp alleges that Heard defamed him in the op-ed. Depp’s lawyer, Benjamin Chew, said Heard's article clearly implies Depp and that Heard's false allegations have made a significant impact on Depp's family and ability to work in the profession he loved. Depp has since lost support from high-end brands and was stripped of his role in the Pirates 6 movie from the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise.

Though Amber’s lawyer, Benjamin Rottenborn said that the First Amendment protects what she wrote, "The article is about the social change for which she is advocating and that the First Amendment protects." This evidence, he claims, illustrates that Heard did in fact suffer domestic abuse from Depp which resulted in physical, emotional, and verbal damage.

Depp is faced with disproving Heard’s false claims which has made this trial all a little more interesting to watch.

So what has happened in the trial?

Heard and Depp's marriage lasted from 2015 to 2016. Depp filed his current defamation suit in 2019 which was a year after Heard wrote the op-ed.

Depp testified in the trial and was cross-examined by Heard's legal team. Depp said that he never struck Heard, but that she was the one who showed violence in their relationship. He alleged that she threw a vodka bottle at his hand during an argument, which cut off a part of his middle finger.

Heard's team presented text messages that were sent by Depp. In one graphic text exchange between Depp and actor Paul Bettany, Depp wrote: "Let's drown her before we burn her." In court, Depp said the message was a joke and a reference to a Monty Python sketch about burning and drowning witches.

Allegedly, Elon Musk and James Franco are listed as potential witnesses that might take the stand for Heard, and Bettany is listed for Depp.

Though in this publicized trial, the media hasn’t backed off in criticizing and finding the flaws in the trial itself. Heard's lawyers have been found to be inexperienced and embarrassing. Depp is also found to be mocking and making fun of Amber's team as he laughed at the questions that they were asking.

One member of Heard’s team when examining Depp said, “How many franchise movies were you in contract at the time?” and Depp laughed and said, “I don’t know that at the top of my head, I don’t watch my movies.” Another example of Depp’s mockery was when Amber’s team read a text message exchange between him and Heard where Depp was using explicit language but reassured the lawyer, “I was signing off as dumb a**” which was the last line of the text message.

The trial will continue into mid-May, when the judge’s verdict will conclude the case. Only time will tell to see who wins this battle.

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