Lawyers pressing Johnny Depp’s defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard painted their relationship as the opposite of what’s been reported during Tuesday opening statements: Heard was the violence-prone aggressor, they said, who manipulated the “Pirates” star and often attacked him when he tried to avoid confrontation.
Depp’s attorneys had the first chance to present opening statements to the jury on Tuesday, the first day of trial in a Virginia court. Herd’s lawyers began to present their side after a short break Tuesday morning.
But first, Counsel for Depp argued that the marks on Herd’s face and elsewhere, which she claimed were from a drug-and-alcohol fueled violent tirade by Depp, appeared “mysteriously” after the attack was alleged — and that multiple witnesses, including police officers and health-care workers, will testify to that fact.
“You’re going to learn that she’s a profoundly troubled person who manipulated people around her, like she manipulated Mr. Depp,” his trial lawyer said in the first statements of the trial.
“She’s taken the role of a lifetime,” said his co-counsel. “She can’t back down. Ella she has been living and breathing this like… but this trial is about the evidence. It’s about a man’s reputation… we will ask you to tell the world that he is not the abuser that she described.
Depp’s lawyers also brought up several anecdotes they say were typical of their troubled marriage, including an alleged incident where Heard threw a vodka bottle at Depp, which shattered and severed part of his finger. They said witnesses will testify that Heard would often get violent with Depp during their spats, especially when he tried to walk away or leave the situation.
Heard’s lawyer strongly disputed that characterization — saying her bruises were “absolutely given to her” by Depp. But he suggested in his opening statement that Heard’s defense of him against his defamation allegations might get more technical: The op-ed at the center of his case is not only protected by the First Amendment, but did n’t include anything defamatory.
“There are no details about Mr. Depp in that article,” Heard’s co-counsel said. She was “asked to do so, and she drew on her experiences of reporting domestic abuse. The article isn’t about Johnny Depp. … they don’t want you to pay attention to that.”
Depp and Heard’s high-profile legal battle finally made its way to court three years after the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star sued his actress ex-wife for defamation over an op-ed she published in the Washington Post about her experiences with domestic violence .
Since filing for divorce in 2016, Depp and Heard’s relationship has been the subject of intense media and public scrutiny, as well as several rounds of legal battles. More than 100 witnesses could be called to the stand, and both Depp and Heard are scheduled to testify at the televised trial, held in Fairfax County, Virginia.