After 13 days of testimony, and more than a dozen witnesses including bodyguards, Hollywood insiders, doctors and accountants, Johnny Depp’s legal team rested their case Tuesday in the actor’s $50 million defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.
Before resting, the Depp team called forensic accountant Mike Spindler to the stand, who said Depp lost tens of millions of dollars as a result of Heard’s 2018 Washington Post op-ed.
“I concluded that Mr. Depp suffered lost earnings of approximately $40 million,” Spindler told the Fairfax, Virginia courtroom.
The accounting expert was hired by Depp’s team to calculate the actor’s total lost earnings from the piece, in which Heard described herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse, although she did not name Depp.
Spindler said he reviewed “accounting records, trial exhibits, deposition and trial testimony, and various other documents and exhibits in connection with the case.” He calculated Depp’s lost earnings by analyzing the period from October 2018 through October 2020, after the op-ed was released.
In another development Tuesday, Judge Penney Azcarate rejected Heard’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit.
Heard’s attorney had argued that Depp didn’t meet the threshold of burden and the case should be thrown out. Attorney Ben Rottenborn told the court, “Mr. Depp bears the burden of proving that by preponderance of the evidence and to satisfy the requisite intent and show that Ms. Heard acted with actual malice. He has a heightened standard of proof that he must prove by clear and convincing evidence that Ms. Heard acted with that malice.”
“In this case your honor, if Mr. Depp abused Ms. Heard physically, verbally, emotionally or psychologically even one time, then she wins on those claims,” Rottenborn said. He added that the evidence “is overwhelming and undisputed” that Depp did.
Heard’s team called a forensic psychologist as their first witness. The “Aquaman” actress is expected to take the stand Tuesday or Wednesday.