The Johnny Depp defamation case against a British tabloid who accused him of abusing his ex-wife Amber Heard ended Tuesday with the allegation of the actor's lawyer, who insisted that Depp has never hit a woman and called Heard a "compulsive liar "
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The "Pirates of the Caribbean" star sued News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and tabloid executive editor Dan Wootton before the Supreme Court in London for an article published in April 2018 in which he was branded as a “beating husband”.
Presenting his closing arguments in the three-week trial, Depp's lawyer David Sherborne said the actor flatly denies "this claim capable of destroying a reputation and ending a career." “He has never hit a woman in his entire life. Point. It's over. Nothing, ”said Sherborne.
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Judge Andrew Nicol will retire later to consider his verdict. He is expected to issue his ruling in several weeks.
WHAT WILL THE JUDGE DECIDE?
Neither Depp nor Heard are on trial, although this has been easy to forget during a case that dissected their toxic and famous romance.
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Depp is the plaintiff in the civil case, NGN and Wootton are the defendants, and Heard is the defense's primary witness. To defeat Depp's libel suit, the newspaper must convince the judge that, by weighing all the odds, his story was true.
NGN attorney Sasha Wass said in her submission that there was no doubt that Depp "regularly and systematically abused his wife" and that the label of "beating husband" was therefore justified.
But Sherborne said the article in The Sun - in which J.K. Rowling to get Depp fired from the film adaptation of his book "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them" - gave the false impression that Depp had been "prosecuted, convicted and sentenced" by Domestic violence, and compared him to former movie magnate Harvey Weinstein, who has been jailed for rape and sexual abuse.
"By acting as judges and juries, the defendants simply establish that Mr. Depp is guilty of a series of serious and violent criminal offenses," he said.
WHAT IS DISPUTED?
Both parties agree that the relationship between Depp and Heard, which began after they met on the set of the 2011 comedy "The Rum Diary", deteriorated long before their divorce in 2017. Texts, emails and recordings attest to an increasingly bitter relationship between Depp, now 57, and the actress and model 34.
But they completely disagree as to who started and escalated their fights.
Heard says that Depp became an alter ego whom he called "The Monster" when he consumed alcohol and drugs. She alleges 14 separate incidents in which the actor hit, slapped, and shoved her, pulled her by the hair, and threw bottles "like grenades." The judge saw photos of Heard with black eyes, red marks on his face and an injury to his scalp, alleged evidence of Depp's violence.
Depp called the allegations "cheating" and argued that Heard hit him, even cutting off the tip of a finger by throwing a bottle of vodka at him. When questioned, Depp admitted to head-butting Heard during a fight, but said he did it accidentally while trying to get her to stop punching him.
Heard acknowledged that he was explosive in nature and said he hit Depp once in March 2015. But he stated that he did it to prevent him from paying her sister.
Sherborne accused Heard of repeatedly changing his story during the trial, and said that in a "moment of unplanned malice" on the witness stand, he made up the rumor that Depp had pushed ex-girlfriend Kate Moss down a flight of stairs.
The lawyer said Heard was "a completely unreliable witness and frankly a compulsive liar, and I'm not saying this lightly."
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
The trial has offered a close and unflattering look at Hollywood stardom, revealing details about Depp's life of wealth, luxury, emotional turmoil, and substance abuse.
Depp acknowledged using marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, and hallucinogenic mushrooms, and said he became addicted to opioid painkillers. But he denied that the drugs made him violent.
The couple's relationship disintegrated against a glamorous international fund. Depp's private island in the Bahamas, a penthouse in Los Angeles, a luxury train and a private plane were all scenes of violence, according to Heard.
Depp said on the stand that he had collected $ 650 million since joining the lucrative "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, and ended up with $ 100 million in debt after his financial advisers stopped paying his taxes for 17 years. He said his biggest expenses included $ 5 million to send the ashes of his literary hero, drug user journalist Hunter S. Thompson, into space.
The couple's relationship also left an expensive path of destruction. Damage to a rented house in Australia following an altercation was estimated at more than $ 100,000. The couple's penthouse in Los Angeles was smashed during another fight. At one point, feces appeared on his bed - it is disputed whether a dog or a person left them.
WHO WINS AND WHO LOSES?
The British defamation law is widely considered to favor plaintiffs over defendants, but Depp could still lose even if he wins the lawsuit.
Depp said he sued The Sun because his career had been hurt by Heard's allegations. But the lawsuit has given these allegations a huge global audience.
"It is almost inconceivable that a rational person has brought this case to court," said Mark Stephens, a media attorney for the Howard Kennedy law firm. “Now, I know that many people say that it is about vindication. It is about proving that he is not a beating husband. But here is a lot that is at stake for everyone. And at some level, the mud sticks. "
Heard's character has also been questioned and the actress has been accused of fabricating evidence. A #MeToo movement activist, Katherine Kendall, alleged that Heard appropriated a violent rape that she had suffered for her own benefit.
Heard has been abused by Depp followers on social media. Depp's supporters have also regularly gathered outside the courtroom, some with placards reading "Justice for Johnny."
WILL THE VERDICT BE THE END OF THIS STORY?
Probably not. Depp sued Heard for $ 50 million in Virginia over an article in the Washington Post about domestic violence. That trial is scheduled for next year.
Stephens said that if Depp “loses in London, he will almost certainly lose the American case. So this in a way, this is a dress rehearsal for the second case. ”