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Johnny Depp’s Legal Team Takes Aim At Amber Heard’s Believability In Opening Statement, But Her Team Has Their Own Take

Amber Heard in Aquaman
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Throughout Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s shared history, a series of ongoing legal proceedings have marked the dissolution of the couple’s marriage and personal relationship. With the most recent defamation suit starting just yesterday through jury selection proceedings, opening arguments have now commenced in the trial taking place in Fairfax, Virginia. Depp’s legal team has taken aim at Heard’s believability in the matter, while the Aquaman star’s legal team has their own take on the matter.

Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary

(Image credit: FilmDistrict)

Said opening arguments have been reported on by numerous outlets, with Deadline being among them. As the proceedings have begun after being first filed back in 2019, one of the major points being debated in this case is the validity of Amber Heard’s 2018 op-ed “I Spoke Up Against Sexual Violence - And Faced Our Culture’s Wrath. That Has To Change.” In part of the opening statements from Johnny Depp’s team, attorney Camile Vasquez had written notes prepared, and read out the following:

She can’t back down. She has been living and breathing this lie for years now. And she has been preparing to give the performance of her life in this trial. But this trial is about the evidence. It is about the evidence. It’s about a man’s reputation.

Contributing to that statement is another from attorney Benjamin Chew. Laying down further groundwork for their overall cast, Chew provided an alleged timeline that started with Johnny Depp’s request for a divorce. According to the attorney, the following chain of events followed:

The evidence will show that six days after Mr. Depp requested a divorce, and he did so politely, and three days after Ms. Heard’s lawyer threatened Mr. Depp with claims of abuse if he did not agree to her financial demands, Ms. Heard arrived at the courthouse in Los Angeles, California to file for a restraining order alleging abuse. The evidence will show that Ms. Heard showed up with a mark on her face that mysteriously appeared six days after she last saw Mr. Depp and six days before she publicly filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order alleging abuse. The evidence will show that her publicist and the paparazzi were there at the courthouse to document the event, to make sure that Johnny Depp’s name was forever associated with the image of an innocent, battered woman.

This comes after Amber Heard made four attempts to have this defamation suit thrown out, which resulted in the final attempt being rejected last October. Now that matters are moving ahead, Heard’s legal team has made their own opening statements, and they tell a different story.

Amber Heard in The Rum Diary

(Image credit: FilmDistrict)

Defence attorney Ben Rottenborn, a member of Amber Heard’s legal team, addressed two major claims that have sat in the middle of the entire legal saga that ensued. Taking into account both the content of Heard’s op-ed, and Johnny Depp’s claim that it caused his removal from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Rottenborn made the following statement:

[The article] isn’t about Johnny Depp. The article is about the social change for which she is advocating and that the First Amendment protects. … The evidence will show that Disney had a dossier on him, that had articles from the press, had other information about Mr. Depp and they didn’t have this article at all in their files, didn’t register with them, just as it didn’t register with the public.

It’s only the latest step on the path that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have walked upon in their judicial disagreements. Previously, Depp lost a libel suit in the UK, which ruled that The Sun calling him a “wife beater” was “substantially true.” That loss apparently resulted in Johnny Depp’s removal from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, though that does not seem to be mentioned in the proceedings at this time. 

An estimated six-week trial awaits both parties, with the potential for even more revelations to be made in the public eye. For now, all anyone can do is observe the ongoing defamation suit, and wait for the final judgement to be made at the conclusion.

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.