Depp v. Heard case captivates the public


Photo Credit: Sky News

Leah Kulmann, Senior Reporter

Because of the release of Amber Heard’s Op-Ed in which she spoke out about her experiences with sexual violence, Heard’s ex-husband, Johnny Depp, is suing Heard for three counts of defamation: her op-ed that was published on The Washington Post website and in its print newspaper, as well as Heard posting a link to the piece via her Twitter account.

Depp originally sued Heard back in March of 2019 after her article was published in December of 2018. He claimed the article was defamatory and asked for $50 million in damages. Heard responded by filing a $100 million countersuit, saying that Depp defamed her too by calling her a liar.

Many of the allegations being aired in the Virginia courtroom have already been heard in a British case in which Johnny Depp sued The Sun newspaper for printing a headline that called him a “wife beater.” Mr. Depp lost the case.

The trial in Depp’s defamation case against Heard began on 11 April 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia.

Before the trial even began, Depp was dealt a major setback when Virginia Judge Penney Azcarate, determined that Heard may claim that her op-ed dealt with an issue of public concern.

Depp’s lawyers argued that Heard shouldn’t be able to use Virginia’s anti-SLAPP law. Anti-SLAPP laws, which stand for anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, are intended to prevent people from being sued when they speak out on public issues.

Judge Azcarate concluded that Heard may use Virginia’s anti-SLAPP law in her defense and convince the jury that it should apply to her op-ed. 

 On the stand, Depp said he never hit Heard and that he has never struck a woman. He accused Heard of abuse and also spoke extensively about his own issues with drugs and alcohol and how it played a part in their marriage. 

In 2016, Ms. Heard was granted a temporary restraining order after showing up to a California court with a bruised face, writing in an application for the order that Mr. Depp had thrown a phone at her face at close range. Mr. Depp has denied these accusations as well. 

Mrs. Courtney Bergenty, teacher at Naugatuck High School shared how she felt about Heard filing this restraining order. “I feel it’s part of her mass manipulation. I think that she had to do that in order to make these claims and allegations against Johnny.”

The New York Times reported Ms. Heard also wrote that Mr. Depp had been verbally and physically abusive to her throughout their relationship. She detailed one of the most recent incidents in which she said he grabbed her by the hair and violently shoved her to the ground. Mr. Depp wrote in court papers that Ms. Heard’s allegations were a lie and that she was actually the one who punched him in the face that night.

Mr. Depp’s lawsuit declared that Ms. Heard’s abuse allegations were an “elaborate hoax” that cost the actor his career and reputation.

Johnny Depp has just completed his fourth day on the stand and we are expecting to hear from Amber Heard within the next few weeks. The trial is estimated to last a total of 6 weeks total.

They’re celebrities, Johnny Depp correlates to every age group, covers so many demographics, and everyone knows him. So far he has been very good at keeping his private life private, and this is the first time every detail of his life, his relationships, his childhood, all his dirty laundry is completely out there for everyone to see and that’s why everyone is so interested and invested,” said Bergenty about America’s fascination with the case.