Johnny Depp’s lawyers asked a jury Friday “to give Mr. Depp his life back” by finding his ex-wife, Amber Heard, guilty of libel.
Heard “ruined his life by falsely telling the world she was a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp,” lawyer Camille Vasquez told the jury in closing arguments.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.
Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim against Depp after his lawyer called her allegations a hoax.
Depp says he never struck Heard and that she concocted the abuse allegations to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings. He has said he was often physically attacked by Heard.
“There is an abuser in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp,” Vasquez said.
Heard testified about more than a dozen episodes of physical and sexual assault that she said Depp inflicted on her.
Each side will have two hours to summarize their case in a trial that has stretched on for six weeks. With broadcast cameras in the courtroom, a celebrity trial that garnered intense interest from the outset has only gained momentum as fans have weighed in on social media and lined up overnight for coveted courtroom seats.
Heard’s lawyers will present their closing arguments later Friday.
—Matthew Barakat, The Associated Press