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Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial: jurors hear conflicting accounts of marriage

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Contradictory, explosive accounts of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s tumultuous three-year marriage have been offered to jurors on the opening day of Depp’s libel case in opposition to his ex-wife in a US courtroom, with Depp’s legal professionals accusing Heard of fabricating home violence claims in opposition to him to advance her personal profession.

Heard’s attorneys, in the meantime, argued that her allegations are true, she had a proper to specific her views, “and all Mr Depp has needed to do is humiliate Amber, to hang-out her, to wreck her profession”.

Opposing profiles of the film stars – with Heard’s counsel presenting Depp as “an obsessed ex-husband hellbent on revenge” and Heard described as a girl who would “resort to bodily violence, throwing issues, to forestall Mr Depp from leaving” – had been heard throughout opening statements.

“In the present day, his identify is related to a lie. An announcement issued by his former spouse,” Depp’s lawyer Ben Chew mentioned on Tuesday. “You’ll study throughout the trial that Miss Heard’s accusations had been prompted by Mr Depp’s request for a divorce.”

Amber Heard looks on inside the courtroom on 12 April.
Amber Heard seems on contained in the courtroom on 12 April. {Photograph}: Reuters

Heard’s lawyer later mentioned they might current proof throughout the trial to point out that Depp had described “the violent facet of himself because the monster” whereas partaking in “crushing drug and alcohol abuse”.

“Amber Heard by no means needed to unearth for the general public who the actual Johnny Depp is,” her lawyer Ben Rottenborn mentioned. “However that’s going to return out over the course of this trial.”

The estranged couple arrived on the courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia – Depp in a darkish blue swimsuit, black shirt and cream tie; Heard in a gray blazer along with her hair in a low bun – amid a throng of followers, whom they’ve each been instructed to keep away from.

Depp’s attorneys claimed Heard’s opinion article within the Washington Put up, printed on the eve of the cinema launch of Aquaman, during which she acted, “falsely and unfairly solid Mr Depp as a villain”. The actor, mentioned his lawyer Camille Vasquez, will “go to his grave figuring out that no matter he does there’ll at all times be individuals who imagine he abused a girl”.

Vasquez additionally accused Heard of stagecraft. “She has been dwelling and respiration this lie for years now,” she mentioned. “She is getting ready to offer the efficiency of a lifetime on this trial.”

Heard’s lawyer’s countered that Depp’s accusations in opposition to his ex-wife had been designed to “mislead you” and their consumer’s case was about her proper to free speech underneath the primary modification.

“That’s what you’re being requested to resolve,” mentioned J Ben Rottenborn, an lawyer for Heard. The lawyer additionally famous that Depp is making an attempt to show “the phrases Miss Heard used had been about him and had been false … and he can’t do this”.

“Mr Depp’s staff goes to attempt to flip this case right into a cleaning soap opera. Why, I’m undecided, as a result of the proof isn’t fairly for Mr Depp.”

The mudslinging, which can in all probability final seven weeks, is unlikely to do both actor’s profession any favors.

Each declare their reputations have been considerably broken by the opposite, however it’s Depp who introduced the defamation motion on the idea of the 2018 Washington Put up article during which Heard wrote about home violence in the direction of girls – and implied, in keeping with Depp, that he was the perpetrator.

Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 35, for $50m over the article; Heard is counter-suing for $100m. For Depp to prevail, jurors should “show by clear and convincing proof” that Heard knowingly made false claims – a normal of proof that’s typical of civil circumstances and is considerably much less rigorous that “past cheap doubt”.

Trial observers have famous that Depp will not be suing the Washington Put up itself, which some have mentioned means that his motion will not be essentially about libel, however in regards to the messy finish of a turbulent marriage acted out in public.

“These fictitious claims had been by no means made on the onset of Amber’s allegations in 2016, and solely advantageously surfaced years later as soon as she was sued for defamation after noting in her op-ed that she was a sufferer of ‘sexual violence”, a spokesperson for Depp mentioned later.

“This follows a sample of her elaborate, misguided claims which have continued to vary and evolve over time for the aim of Hollywood shock worth of which Amber has mastered and used to take advantage of a severe social motion,” they added.

Some well-known faces are anticipated to testify, together with the actor Paul Bettany, who texted with Depp about Heard; the actor James Franco, who allegedly as soon as requested Heard about bruises on her face after a row with Depp; the actor Ellen Barkin; and the Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, who’s Heard’s former boyfriend.

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