Amber Heard’s legal team took its turn giving closing statements Friday, with attorney Ben Rottenborn telling the jury that “Amber wins” even if there were no proof of the heinous abuses alleged in the six-week trial because the First Amendment protects her against Johnny Depp’s defamation claims.
Rottenborn opened his remarks by telling the jury the stakes of the case go well beyond its litigants.
“Think about the message they are sending to Amber, and victims of domestic abuse everywhere,” Rottenborn said. “If you didn’t take pictures, it didn’t happen, and if you did take pictures, they’re fake. … If you don’t seek medical attention, you’re lying. If you do seek medial attention, you’re crazy. … And if you’ve finally decided that enough is enough, you’re a gold-digger.
“Thats what they’re trying to get you, the jury, to be an accomplice to.”
Earlier in the morning, Depp’s team laid out its final case, telling the jury that Heard’s stories of abuse and sexual assault were the fabrications of a “deeply troubled” person bent on destroying the “Pirates” actor’s reputation and career after their tempestuous marriage went sour.
But Rottenborn suggested to the jury that The Washington Post op-ed at the center of the case was protected by the First Amendment – even if there were no proof that Depp committed any of the horrifying physical and sexual abuse she alleged during the six-week trial.
“You can weigh this case … by determining that those statements are true and protected by the First Amendment,” Rottenborn said. “If Amber was abused just one time, then she wins. And we’re not just talking about physical abuse. We’re talking about emotional abuse. We’re talking about verbal abuse.”
Testimony began April 12 and is barreling toward an on-schedule conclusion, with the jury likely to get the case before the Memorial Day Weekend break.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million, claiming her 2018 Washington Post op-ed defamed him. She is counter-suing for $100 million.
This story is developing …