johnny-depp-closing-arguments-in-amber-heard-defamation-trial-begin

By Holly Honderich

BBC News

Image source, Getty Images

Closing arguments in the high-profile defamation battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have begun after six weeks of trial in Virginia.

Mr Depp, 58, sued his ex-wife for $50m (£40m) for an article she wrote in which she claims to be an abuse victim. Ms Heard, 36, counter-sued for $100m.

Mr Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, began by asking the jury to “hold Ms Heard accountable for her ‘lies'”.

Ms Heard’s team will then have two hours to make their final arguments.

On Friday morning, like most mornings through out the case, Mr Depp’s arrived at court greeted by hundreds of screaming fans outside.

The celebrity trial – broadcast live every week – garnered intense public interest as both Mr Depp and Ms Heard lobbed serious accusations of emotional, physical and verbal abuse at the other.

Ms Heard and her lawyers told the court of an erratic and cruel Mr Depp, prone to drug and alcohol binges and violent behaviour.

Taking the stand on Thursday, Ms Heard became emotional as she told jurors of the “harassment, the humiliation, the campaign against me that’s echoed every single day on social media and now in front of cameras, in this room”.

Mr Depp offered a starkly different picture of their relationship, alleging that Ms Heard was a volatile spouse who abused and demeaned him. On the stand, he told jurors his ex-wife had a “need” for conflict and violence.

Addressing the court on Friday, his lawyer, Ms Vasquez, reminded jurors of this testimony, asking them to “give Mr Depp his life back”.

Image source, Getty Images

“What is at stake in this trial is a man’s good name,” Ms Vasquez said. “Even more than that, what’s at stake in this trial is a man’s life.”

Both sides will have two hours to address jurors. The jury of seven must come to an unanimous decision for a verdict.