The members of the jury have it increasingly difficult. Judge Penney Azcarate warned them this Thursday, before the sessions were suspended until Monday, that for the next three days they cannot talk to anyone about the trial that everyone is talking about. Jurors are going to have to isolate themselves so as not to read, see or hear on television, in newspapers, in magazines, websites, social networks or anywhere, anything about the trial of Johnny Depp against Amber Heard, turned into a show in the United States .
It is a show that is nearing its end. The judge gave each party 61 hours and 15 minutes to defend her position. This Thursday he recounted: the plaintiffs (Depp) have 18 and a half hours left and the defendants (Heard), eight and a quarter hours. The sessions are scheduled to end next Friday, May 27, with the final conclusions. Then the jury will deliberate.
150 million dollars (142 million euros, at current exchange rates) are at stake. The 50 million that the actor claims from her ex-wife and the 100 million that she, in response, claims from him. Whoever wins the case and the money wins, the two protagonists of the trial are coming out badly from the public exposure of their relationship and their problems. This Thursday it has been the actor who has seen ghosts parade from his past speaking ill of him.
Investigating the other party and trying to ruin their reputation and credibility is a common strategy in trials, especially when the jury has to decide. The two parts have been used thoroughly. Amber Heard’s defense presented yesterday the testimonies (prerecorded, that takes away some surprise capacity) from Johnny Depp’s former agent, from his more or less fleeting ex-partner Ellen Barkin, from a former bandmate and even from his former lawyer, to the that Depp’s current lawyers constantly warned him not to violate professional secrecy, which the series literally translates as the attorney-client privilege.
Tracey Jacobs, Depp’s agent for 30 years, spoke of his “extraordinary talent” as an actor, that “he became the biggest star in the world”, but also how his behavior in the last years of their relationship was being “unprofessional”. ”. “Being late on set was a constant in almost every movie,” said Jacobs. “I told him, ‘You have to stop doing it. This is hurting you.’ And so it was,” he added.
Depp’s lawyers argue the domestic abuse allegations hurt his career, but Jacobs went on to say his star was already fading through his own fault. Depp fired Jacobs in 2016. Asked about it, the former agent stated: “All I know is that he basically ended everyone who was in her life, and I was in the way, I guess.”
His former administrator, Joel Mandel, declared that Depp led a life of excess and waste, that drugs and alcohol became habitual for him and that he stopped moderating his public behavior, that he had “less and less filter” and it was more erratic. Mandel estimates that Depp earned around $600 million during the nearly two decades he represented him. He denied the accusations of having stolen money from Depp. He also stated that he was never formally charged or held responsible for wrongdoing. The actor fired his administrator in 2016, who filed a lawsuit, although the two reached an agreement in 2018.
Actress Ellen Barkin said that her relationship with Depp lasted several months. That she went from a platonic friendship to a romantic relationship (“can you change romantic to sexual?” she corrected herself). And if her testimony interested Heard’s defense, it is because she assured that in an argument with her in a hotel room in Las Vegas, Depp threw a bottle of wine at her, which parallels the ill-treatment that Heard herself He says he suffered.
A Disney executive called to testify also for Heard’s defense assured that she had not found any document in the company where it was said that the cancellation of the project to shoot pirates of the caribbean 6 was due to the publication of the article by Amber Heard that is at the origin of the lawsuit.
The article was published in Washington Post in December 2018 and that is why the trial is being held in Fairfax County (Virginia), where the newspaper’s rotary presses are located. In it, Heard defined herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse without expressly citing her ex-husband. Her then-lawyer also testified yesterday and said that everything was measured in the article so as not to incur legal responsibilities. Depp expected to receive 22 million dollars for the film that was not shot. The Disney executive cited in the trial stated that she was not aware that the cause of the cancellation of the film was the article.
Heard thus has a double line of defense. First, she claims that she was mistreated, beaten and even raped with a bottle by Depp, who denies it outright. And, second, to argue that her article has not caused damages to Depp. In addition, in her counterattack, what she argues is that she is the one who has been harmed.
To support this idea, an expert also called by the defense of Amber Heard testified about the impact of the case on social networks. The actress’s lawyers wanted to show that her client was being the most affected by the controversy. Ron Schnell, of the Berkeley Research Group, explained that his analysis had found millions of negative interactions for the actress and that the hashtags most common were #JusticeForJohnnyDepp (Justice for Johnny Depp), #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser (Amber Heard Is A Batterer), #WeJustDontLikeYouAmber (WeDon’tLikeAmber) and #AmberTurd (Amber Cairn).
Jurors can’t read social media, but they already know whose side they’re on.
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