Amber Heard and Johnny Depp Trial Resumes: What’s Next

After a weeklong vacation, Johnny Depp’s high-profile lawsuit against Amber Heard for defamation was resumed by the actors on May 16. Depp brought a lawsuit against Heard for defamation in 2019. It was filed in Fairfax (Va.) on April 11. PostHer op-ed on domestic abuse was published.

Heard refers to her as being a victim of domestic abuse in the article, but doesn’t mention Depp directly. Depp claimed that Heard defamed Depp with the article. Heard later filed a countersuit against Depp that revolves around a comment from Depp’s attorney, in which he called her claims a “hoax.”

Here’s what to know as the trial enters its final days.

Amber Heard in testimony

Heard, after taking a one-week break, was back in the booth on May 16 to testify about Depp’s final months. Heard spoke out about an incident of abuse she suffered on her 30th Birthday. She said that afterward, she chose to divorce Depp.

“I knew I had to leave him. I knew I wouldn’t survive if I didn’t,” she said.

Heard started her testimony with detailed descriptions of Depp’s early relationship, which she began on May 4. “I felt like this man knew me and saw me in a way that nobody else had,” Heard said. “He made me feel seen, made me feel like a million dollars.”

Depp had stopped drinking after taking a break, and she claimed that their relationship changed. Heard also detailed instances of alleged abuse—including her own recounting of an incident in Australia in which Depp’s finger was severely injured. She said her memories of the night came in “flashes”, and said she could “feel glass breaking” as Depp allegedly threw bottles in her direction. After taking sleeping pills, she said she woke up the next morning to find Depp “missing a finger.” (In his testimony, Depp claimed that Heard had thrown a bottle of vodka at him, which severed his finger.)

Heard claimed that Depp hit her during an altercation. Heard also stated she tried to defend Whitney Henriquez. Heard claims Whitney attempted to intervene in the fight between the two on the second floor of their penthouse apartment. She struck Depp in the face, fearing that Depp would hurt her sister.

“And I swung at him,” Heard said. “In all my relationship to date with Johnny, I hadn’t landed a blow … For the first time I hit him, like actually hit him square in the face. But he didn’t push my sister down the stairs.”

Johnny Depp: The Things You Can Expect

After spending four days testifying on his own behalf in late April, Depp is expected to take the stand again for further questioning by Heard’s legal team.

During his initial testimony, Depp was asked about text messages he sent to actor Paul Bettany threatening violence against Heard, which he claimed was an expression of his “dark humor.” He was also asked to comment on recordings of the couples’ arguments, and recounted an instance in which he wrote messages on the wall with blood from his finger after it was severed during a fight.

Next, who is the expected witness?

The final weeks of the trial will see Heard testify and be cross-examined by Depp’s legal team. Ellen Barkin, an actor, will also be testifying as Heard’s witness.

According to Reuters Barkin had previously testified against Depp at his 2020 defamation trial against the British tabloid. The SunDepp claimed to have thrown a wine glass in the direction of Heard during a fight. Heard’s sister, Whitney Henriquez, is also expected to testify on Heard’s behalf.

What time is it normal to expect a decision?

On May 27, closing arguments will take place. A jury will then decide.

Which are possible outcomes?

Both the outcome of the lawsuit and countersuit will be decided by the jury simultaneously. The jury may decide not to award damages. Depp must prove that Heard committed actual malice by writing the opinion piece. This will allow Depp to win the case. Public figures who sue for libel are required to show “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant acted with “actual malice,” which the Supreme Court defines as someone knowingly sharing information “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

Having already lost a defamation case in the U.K. with less stringent defamation laws, experts say it is unlikely that he’ll win in the U.S., according to Deadline. However, as Depp’s lawyers said in the original complaint, “Mr. Depp brings this defamation action to clear his name.” Regardless of the outcome, the spectacle of the trial, from the live-stream coverage to the swarms of fans waiting outside the courthouse each day, the trial, has given both parties a platform.

Read More From Time

To Simmone Shah at


Related Articles

Back to top button