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In Johnny Depp’s Defamation Trial, Amber Heard’s Defense Rests

Amber Heard’s lawyers rested their defense in the defamation action launched by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, on Tuesday, after six weeks of searing charges and counterclaims of domestic abuse.

Column: What we learned from Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial - Los Angeles  Times

Depp’s lawyers asked for Heard’s countersuit against the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor to be dismissed, but the judge hearing the case in Virginia, near the US capital, refused.

Judge Penney Azcarate stated there has been enough evidence given for the seven-member jury to consider the merits of Depp’s defamation claim against Heard and her countersuit against him.

Depp, 58, sued Heard in December 2018 over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in which she referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”

Heard, 36, who starred in “Aquaman,” did not mention Depp in the op-ed, but he sued her for alleging he was a domestic abuser, asking for $50 million in damages.

Heard, who was born in Texas, countersued for $100 million, saying she had been subjected to “rampant physical assault and torture” at his hands.

Depp denied ever hitting Heard or any other woman throughout his four days on the witness stand, claiming that she was the one who was frequently aggressive.

Heard testified about many times when she said she was attacked by an inebriated Depp.

Chemistry

After the court denied Depp’s attorneys’ move to dismiss the case, his lawyers summoned their first rebuttal witness.

Walter Hamada, head of Warner Brothers’ DC Comics-based film production, testified regarding Heard’s contract for the “Aquaman” series.

Heard’s legal team claims that allegedly defamatory statements made against her by Depp’s former attorney, Adam Waldman, impacted her part and salary for “Aquaman 2.”

Heard, who received $1 million for “Aquaman” and $2 million for “Aquaman 2,” has filed a defamation case based on Waldman’s claims.

According to Hamada, nothing Waldman stated had an impact on Heard’s remuneration for “Aquaman 2.”

He said that renegotiating contracts was not a Warner Brothers habit, though he admitted that the company had done so for the other “Aquaman” actor, Jason Momoa.

There were “conversations” about recasting Heard’s character in “Aquaman 2,” according to Hamada, but that was due to a perceived lack of “chemistry” between her and co-star Momoa.

“The reality is it’s not uncommon on movies for two leads to not have chemistry,” he said. “You know it when you see it.”

Negative publicity

Heard’s career was set for a “meteoric ascent” following “Aquaman,” but has been hindered by “bad publicity” surrounding her charges against Depp, according to Kathryn Arnold, a Hollywood specialist hired by his team.

Heard has lost $45-$50 million in film and television jobs and sponsorships, according to Arnold.

Depp’s attorneys called experts to testify that he has lost millions as a result of the allegations, including a $22.5 million salary for the sixth movie of “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

On Tuesday, Depp’s attorneys called a psychiatrist, Richard Shaw, to refute the testimony of David Spiegel, a doctor who testified on behalf of Heard on Monday.

Depp exhibited “narcissistic characteristics,” had probable cognitive difficulties, and a substance use disorder, according to Spiegel.

Spiegel, according to Shaw, was not qualified to make such judgments since he had never personally assessed Depp and was thus in breach of the American Psychiatric Association’s so-called Goldwater Rule.

According to the Goldwater rule, “It is unethical for a psychiatrist to express a professional opinion unless he or she has done an examination.”

Depp launched the defamation suit in the United States after losing a libel case against The Sun in London in November 2020 for branding him a “wife-beater.”

Depp, who has been nominated for three Academy Awards, married Heard in February 2015 and divorced two years later.

Depp’s former lover, British model Kate Moss, 48, is expected to testify via video connection on Wednesday.

The judge, Azcarate, has set closing arguments for Friday.

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