Attorney Benjamin Rottenborn delivered closing statements to the court in Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday morning
Amber Heard’s attorney has told jurors that ruling in favour of Johnny Depp would make them an “accomplice” to his abuse and “campaign of global humiliation”, as the former couple’s multi-million-dollar defamation neared a dramatic close on Friday morning.
Attorney Benjamin Rottenborn delivered closing statements to the court in Fairfax, Virginia, where he warned that Mr Depp’s argument that he was not abusive to Ms Heard sends a “message” to survivors of domestic abuse everywhere.
“In trying to convince you that Mr Depp has carried his burden of proof in proving that he was never abusive to Amber on even one occasion, think about the message that Mr Depp and his attorneys are sending to Amber and by extension to every victim of domsetic abuse everywhere,” he said.
“If you didn’t take the picture it didn’t happen. If you did take pictures they’re fake.
“If you didn’t tell your friends you’re lying. If you did tell your friends you’re part of the hoax.
“If you didn’t seek medical treatment you weren’t injured. If you did seek medical attention you’re crazy.
“If you did everything that you can to help your spouse the person that you love rid himself of the crushing drug and alcohol abuse that spins him him into an abusive rage-filled monster you’re a nag.
“And if you finally decided that enough is enough, you’ve had enough of the fear and enough of the pain and you have to leave to save yourself you’re a golddigger.”
He warned: “That is the message that Mr Depp is asking you to send.”
Mr Rottenborn urged jurors not to be “an accomplice” to Mr Depp’s abuse and his “global humiliation” campaign.
“In Mr Depp’s world, you don’t leave Mr Depp. And if you do, he will start a campaign of global humiliation against you. A smear campaign that lasts until this very day,” he said.
The attorney told the court that jurors do not even need to determine whether or not Mr Depp did or didn’t abuse Ms Heard to rule in her favour.
“You can decide this case without ever weighing into any of the allegations, the facts, the evidence that you’ve heard about the heinous abuse Ms Heard suffered at the hands of Mr Depp,” he said.
Instead, he said that her op-ed is protected by the First Amendment.
“You can’t uphold the First Amendment and side with Johnny Depp,” he said.
However, he said that, if the jury does want to decide the verdict based on whether he did or did not abuse his ex-wife, then Ms Heard also “wins”.
“If that’s where you want to make your decision that’s where the road ends for Mr Depp,” he said.
He said that Mr Depp loses his case if he has not proven he never abused even “just one time”.
“If he fails to prove that he never abused her even one time then Amber wins,” he said.
As evidence of this alleged abuse, Mr Rottenborn read out text messages Mr Depp sent to his friend Paul Bettany where he said he wanted to “burn” Ms Heard.
Jurors were also shown footage – previously played at trial – of Mr Depp smashing cabinets in the kitchen of the couple’s home.
Mr Rottenborn told the court that the footage shows “the monster in the flesh”.
After playing the video clip, he called out Mr Depp’s reaction in the courtroom.
“Do you see Ms Heard laughing in that?” asked Mr Rottenborn after playing the footage.
“She is not laughing in that. Mr Depp in this courtroom right now is laughing and making snide comments as that video is played but it is not a laughing matter,” he said.
“Who does that? Who does that? Imagine being in Amber’s shoes,” he said, adding that Ms Heard knew “this monster will come out”.
Mr Depp was seen looking up as he was called out by the attorney.
“Imagine watching your husband, the person you love behaving violently that way. Like a wild animal. That is abuse,” he said.
Mr Depp is suing his ex-wife for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she penned for The Washington Post where she described herself as a “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor is not named in the article, which is titled “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.
However Mr Depp claims that it falsely implies that he is a domestic abuser – something that he strongly denies – and that it has left him struggling to land roles in Hollywood. He is suing for $50m.
Ms Heard is countersuing for $100m, accusing Mr Depp of orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.