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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 introduced to jurors on the opening day of Depp’s libel case towards his ex-wife in a US courtroom, with Depp’s attorneys accusing Heard of fabricating home violence claims towards 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 wished 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.

“As we speak, his title is related to a lie. A press release issued by his former spouse,” Depp’s legal professional Ben Chew mentioned on Tuesday. “You’ll be taught through 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 legal professional later mentioned they might current proof through the trial to point out that Depp had described “the violent aspect of himself because the monster” whereas partaking in “crushing drug and alcohol abuse”.

“Amber Heard by no means wished to unearth for the general public who the true Johnny Depp is,” her legal professional 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 Submit, printed on the eve of the cinema launch of Aquaman, through which she acted, “falsely and unfairly forged Mr Depp as a villain”. The actor, mentioned his legal professional Camille Vasquez, will “go to his grave understanding that no matter he does there’ll all the time be individuals who consider he abused a girl”.

Vasquez additionally accused Heard of stagecraft. “She has been residing 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 legal professional’s countered that Depp’s accusations towards his ex-wife had been designed to “mislead you” and their consumer’s case was about her proper to free speech below the primary modification.

“That’s what you’re being requested to determine,” mentioned J Ben Rottenborn, an legal professional 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 try this”.

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

The mudslinging, which is able to 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 premise of the 2018 Washington Submit article through which Heard wrote about home violence in the direction of girls – and implied, based on 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 regular of proof that’s typical of civil circumstances and is considerably much less rigorous that “past affordable doubt”.

Trial observers have famous that Depp is just not suing the Washington Submit itself, which some have mentioned means that his motion might not be essentially about libel, however concerning 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, faulty 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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