Johnny Depp trial live: Jury picked as Amber Heard and actor face off in $50m defamation case

By | April 12, 2022

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard arrive at the High Court as libel hearing continues

Johnny Depp’s multi-million defamation lawsuit against his former wife, Amber Heard, began in Virginia on Monday morning with jury selection. Seven jurors and four alternates were picked to hear the case.

He claims a 2018 article written by Heard in The Washington Post – in which she spoke about domestic violence towards women – implied Depp, her former husband, was an abuser.

Although the 35-year-old did not name the actor, lawyers for Depp say Heard’s have made it difficult for the 58-year-old to land roles he previously did.

Depp is known for starring in films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Sweeny Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Heard has appeared in titles including Aquaman and Drive Angry,

He is asking for $50m (£38.2m) in damages during the trial in Fairfax County’s district courthouse. Heard has meanwhile filed a counterclaim of defamation against Depp, who she divorced from in 2017, for nuisance.

Depp has previously lost a defamation case in the UK against British newspaperThe Sun regarding the claims in Heard’s 2018 article.

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‘No one is safe from cancel culture’: Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp claimed “no one is safe from cancel culture” while accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award at Spain’s San Sebastian Film Festival in September last year.

At the time, Depp was responding to a question about Disney removing him from his career-defining franchise The Pirates of the Caribbean movies after of abuse were leveled against him by ex-wife Amber Heard in 2018.

Four days after Heard’s The Washington Post op-ed, in which she alluded to physical and sexual abuse by the 58-year-old actor, Disney announced Depp would not be reprising his role as Captain Jack Sparrow.

Depp has sued Heard for a sum of “not more than $50m” claiming that the “categorically and demonstrably false” allegations of abuse in the opinion pieces have impacted his Hollywood career adversely.

Maanya Sachdeva12 April 2022 08:00

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Johnny Depp pictured outside Fairfax County Courthouse before trial

The actor, 58, was photographed outside Virginia’s Fairfax County Courthouse before trial for his defamation case against Amber Heard began on Monday (11 April).

Johnny Depp photographed outside Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia, US

(Getty Images)

Depp and Heard, who were married from 2015 to 2017, are facing off against each other in court after the Pirates of the Caribbean actor sued Heard for defamation over an op-ed she authored in 2018.

In The Washington Post article, Heard recounts her experiences as an abuse survivor – but doesn’t name Depp directly.

In 2020, the Aquaman star’s younger sister told the high court in London she began noticing “signs of physical abuse, like bruises or cuts or burns on [Heard’s] arm – and this was early on”.

Depp is suing Heard for a sum “not more than $50m” for alleged damages to his career, according to court documents.

Maanya Sachdeva12 April 2022 07:15

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Elon Musk for Heard, Paul Bettany for Depp: Expected testimonies during trial

Elon Musk, who dated Amber Heard between 2016 and 2018, is expected to testify on the Aquaman The actor’s behalf during the $50m defamation lawsuit which began on Monday (11 April).

The Tesla CEO allegedly offered Heard round-the-clock security to safeguard her from Depp.Actor James Franco’s testimony is also believed to be part of Heard’s legal strategy. Franco reportedly had knowledge about bruises Heard sustained during an alleged fight with Depp.

Meanwhile actor Paul Bettany is listed as a witness for Depp, and expected to appear in court via video link. The actors allegedly exchanged text messages about “burning Amber” and “drowning her” in 2013.

When asked about the text messages in an interview last year, Bettany told The Independent: “Can you imagine what it would be like, honestly, to have a bunch of lawyers go through every one of your emails and texts for 10 years? All I can tell you was that it was an unpleasant feeling.”

Maanya Sachdeva12 April 2022 06:30

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Jury selected to hear evidence in Depp v Heard defamation case

A jury of eleven people, including four alternates, has been selected to hear Johnny Depp’s defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard.

Oliver O’Connell12 April 2022 05:45

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Revisiting Amber Heard’s op-ed which spawned $50m defamation suit

In 2018, Amber Heard authored an opinion piece for The Washington Post titled, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

The actor, who is currently being sued by former partner and actor Johnny Depp for defamation over the op-ed, wrote about having suffered physical and sexual abuse in the article.

“I was exposed to abuse at a very young age,” the 35-year-old actor revealed, adding, “But I kept quiet – I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim.

“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”

Without naming Depp directly, Heard recounted the consequences of “speaking out” including being dropped by production houses and fashion brands alike, receiving death threats, and near-constant paparazzi surveillance.

Maanya Sachdeva12 April 2022 04:47

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Oliver O’Connell12 April 2022 04:45

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As it happened: Jury selection

The Independent‘s Clémence Michallon reported from the courthouse:

Jury selection is underway for the defamation trial opposing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in Fairfax.

Proceedings began around 10am ET with jury selection. Depp and Heard are both present, each sitting on one side of the courthouse with their legal team.

Prospective jurors were first asked whether they’d face any hardship if they were asked to participate in a trial expected to last six weeks. Some were excused on that basis.

Then, the judge and each party’s lawyers asked prospective jurors whether they had read or heard anything about the case, and if so, whether they’d still be able to make an objective determination in this case.

Some jurors have acknowledged previous knowledge of the case, but have generally said they’d be able to keep an open mind if they’re part of the final jury.

Seven jurors and four alternates will be chosen in total.

Oliver O’Connell12 April 2022 03:45

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Depp and Heard: A timeline of their relationship

From meeting on the set of a 2011 film to filing for divorce in 2016, the history between Depp and Heard will likely be heard again when the trial in Fairfax, Virgina, begins.

The Independent’s Clémence Michallon has a timeline, here:

Oliver O’Connell12 April 2022 02:45

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Heard said she wanted to be ‘left alone’ at 2020 defamation trial in London

Appearing as a witness during Depp’s trial against British newspaper The Sun in 2020, Heard said she wanted to be “left alone” and wanted her former husband to end lawsuits over domestic abuse claims to “save him the embarrassment.”

“I didn’t want to do this, I did not want to expose this totality of what really happened to me,” Heard told London’s Royal Courts of Justice. “I didn’t want to talk about everything that happened in our marriage and happened in our relationship.”

While Depp denies the claims, Heard told the court of 14 of “violence” by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in locations such as a rented house in Australia, his private island in the Bahamas and a private jet, as The Associated Press reported two years ago.

The judge ruled against Depp, who accused the publisher of The Sun of defaming him with a headline including the words “wife beater”. His lawyers afterwards called the judge’s decision “perverse”.

Oliver O’Connell12 April 2022 01:45

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ICYMI: Despatch from outside the court room

Writing from outside the court room in Fairfax, The Independent’s Clémence Michallon says:

“Spectators, supporters, and potential jurors have begun to gather at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia.

Today is the opening of Johnny Depp’s $50m defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard. He alleges she defamed him in an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018. Heard has countersued for $100m and asked to be granted immunity against his claims.

Potential jurors are lining up inside the courthouse, as are spectators looking to gain access to the courtroom. Proceedings are expected to begin at 10am with jury selection. Jury selection, in turn, is expected to wrap up by the end of the day.

Outside, television cameras are being set up. Supporters also showed up early. During Johnny Depp’s trial against The Sun in the UK, he was known to sometimes stop to greet fans, occasionally collecting flowers from them and stopping for photographs.”

Oliver O’Connell12 April 2022 00:45

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