The rollercoaster ride that is Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation trial against Amber Heard has just taken another turn.
— InsideTechWorld (@theITW) May 24, 2022
The constantly changing situation has evolved substantially again just two days after the news that the ex-Pirates of the Caribbean actor would be brought to the stand by the defense. According to the news, Depp will not be summoned to testify for the defense.
“Calling Depp back to the stand would be as relevant to us as a bicycle to a fish,” a source close to Heard’s squad said, referring to an Irina Dunn quote popularised by Gloria Steinem in the 1970s. “Everything Depp has testified up to this point has been irrelevant to the heart of this case, and there’s no reason to believe it would be any different now.”
Heard’s Elaine Bredehoft-led team evidently opted for Monday to minimize their possible losses with little time given in their presentation to consider putting Depp back in front of the jury under oath, which was already a strong act by the defense. Regardless of the motivation, the change surely takes the defense’s case to a “Made in Hollywood” conclusion.
On May 25, there’s still a chance Depp will testify as a rebuttal witness for his own case. Having said that, the actor’s return is not a foregone conclusion.
It all depends on how much time the plaintiff’s side has while the trial gets close to the ending date. If Depp takes the stand for his side, the defense will have another chance to cross-examine him. With fewer than 5 hours to prepare their case, that cross may prove to be a fateful spear if handled correctly – a significant if for any legal team.
Nonetheless, the defense’s dramatic U-turn comes as Depp’s team prepares to call high-profile witnesses to the stand in the coming days, including the actor’s ex-girlfriend from the 1990s, Kate Moss, and Warner Bros. exec Walter Hamada.
After expert witness and Hollywood agency consultant Kathryn Arnold takes the stand in the Fairfax County Courthouse to discuss damages claims by both of the Rum Diary actors, the defense is likely to wrap up today.
Arnold calculated that Depp’s 2019 defamation action, which led to this trial, cost them $100 million, countersuing the actress approximately $50 million based on predicted earnings in her research submitted to the court before testifying.
Judge Penney Azcarate has scheduled closing arguments for May 27, just before Memorial Day, and the jury will then deliberate behind closed doors to reach its much-anticipated decision in the case that has captivated the nation.
Depp’s fan support has been phenomenal during the trial; here is one of the tweets shared by his fans!
— Queen Janelle (@Kingpiggywiggy) May 24, 2022
Heading into its final days, Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation trial against Amber Heard is about to get both a Hollywood heavyweight and a supermodel cameo of sorts.
We’ve learned that Warner Bros’ Walter Hamada will take the stand virtually Tuesday as a rebuttal witness for the fired Fantastic Beasts star. The Warner Bros. Pictures exec’s testimony comes from a March 15 video deposition and will be shown in the Virginia courtroom where the bitter legal battle between the former Rum Diary co-stars is taking place.
Meanwhile, Depp’s 1990s girlfriend, British supermodel Kate Moss, is set to testify via video link from the United Kingdom on May 25.
GUYSSSS we are getting Kate Moss to testify in the Amber Heard and Johnny Depo trial 😱
— Discount Alex Russo (@illicitlyqueer) May 24, 2022
A mention of Moss by Heard in court earlier this month allowed Depp’s legal team, led by Ben Chew, to drag the talent agency founder into the dispute.
The former Pirates of the Caribbean actor and Chew fist-bumped in court in inappropriate glee as Heard told of hearing that Depp once shoved Moss down some stairs back when the two were together during the Clinton administration as if a well-laid-trap had been sprung.
A lifelong proponent of the “don’t complain, don’t explain” idea of modern PR, Moss has been a defender of her ex since Depp’s legal squabbles with Heard spilled into the public realm.
Hamada is expected to tell the jury and Judge Penney Azcarate on Tuesday that Heard received no negative reaction from WB in her Aquaman franchise role as a result of Depp’s ongoing explicit and soiled laundry-filled legal action.
Hamada is no stranger to controversy, having faced some hard-hitting allegations from Justice League star Ray Fisher over the years.
What do you think will be the end of this case?
Heard and her defense team claimed earlier in the trial and in court files before its early-April start that the actress had to “struggle” to stay in the yet-to-be-released sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. While still receiving her $2 million paychecks, Heard testified that her Mera part in the James Wan-directed DC superhero film was drastically reduced in the script she received.
Depp lost a 2020 UK libel suit against Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun tabloid for branding him a “wife-beater” after suing Heard in March 2019 over a late-2018 Washington Post op-ed she penned about being a survivor of domestic abuse. Shortly after that defeat, WB fired the compromised actor from the latest J.K. Rowling’s franchise.
In the underperforming Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Depp was replaced by Mads Mikkelsen on April 15. Since then, the Pirates of the Caribbean star has not appeared in any major motion pictures.