Amber Heard overacted on the stand, but Johnny Depp’s libel lawsuit is still up for grabs, experts say

Amber Heard

Amber Heard.Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via REUTERS

  • Amber Heard was less authentic than Johnny Depp at the helm, experts told Insider.

  • Depp sued Heard, accusing him of defaming him with false allegations of domestic violence.

  • Despite his credibility issues, experts said Heard was still likely to win the case.

This week marked a sea change in Johnny Depp’s lawsuit against Amber Heard.

For the first three weeksDepp paraded his witnesses through the Virginia courtroom, all of whom called him a gentleman and heard him a liar.

Everything changed when, on Wednesday, Heard spoke up.

His testimony, according to trial consultant Jill Huntley Taylor, raised the stakes in the case.

Depp’s testimony earlier in the trial about the occasions when Heard punched or verbally abused him was accurate, and his denials about his own alleged misconduct were elaborate.

Heard, however, testified that Depp had drug binges for days and beat her regularly, and detailed the injuries she suffered as a result of those assaults.

If her attorneys can’t corroborate all of this over the next few weeks, jurors may not find her credible.

“Amber Heard took a riskier approach. Her abuse allegations are very extreme. If the jurors believe her, she should see a windfall to reward her and punish Depp,” Taylor told Insider. “However, if the jurors do not believe her, they will punish her. For this reason, her credibility seems paramount to the decisions of the jurors.”

It’s important to note that Heard doesn’t want to be there, as people close to her told Insider.

Depp is the one who filed a complaint against herin March 2019. He alleged that she defamed him when she described herself as a victim of domestic violence in a Washington Post op-ed from December 2018 – even though she did not use his name in the article .

Instead, Depp claimed, Heard was the one who abused him. Heard denied the allegations and filed a countersuit, alleging that Depp physically assaulted her numerous times during the relationship, which ended in 2016. The jury, in a court in the state of Virginia , decides the proceedings of both parties at the same time.

Heard’s testimony may have seemed too melodramatic

In a case involving two actors, Heard appeared as more than one interpreterand it could hurt his credibility with the jury, Brett Ward, co-chair of the Blank Rome marriage and family law firm, told Insider.

“Unfortunately, when she talks about real incidents of violence, her comments go from victim to actor and that’s a real big deal for her,” Ward said.

Ward specifically pointed to comments Heard made when describing the physical assaults she suffered at the hands of Depp, such as Heard noticing how dirty her mat was when a slap from Depp knocked her to the ground.

Ward said some of his descriptions of these events tended to sound like “a soliloquy”.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp waves as he leaves his defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard in Fairfax, Virginia on May 5, 2022.Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via REUTERS

Christa Ramey, co-founder of Los Angeles-based civil litigation firm Ramey Law PC, agreed. She said the level of detail Heard remembered about these alleged assaults was not usually how victims remembered trauma. Victims typically have “fragmented memories” of their experiences, she said.

“Your mind is working to protect you and so it kind of buries bits and pieces of memories in different parts of your brain and what you remember doesn’t normally come across as a story with a beginning, middle and end,” said Ramey said.

While Heard sat face to face during Depp’s testimony, Depp was animated during Heard’s. Courtroom cameras show him doodling, appearing to prank jokes in his lawyers’ ears, chuckling at some memories of Heard, and eating from a pile of gummy bears on the table in front of him.

Juda Engelmayer, founder of HeraldPR and expert in crisis public relations, would not recommend this approach to any of his clients. But, he said, Depp’s reactions could be strategic. It’s a way of signaling to the jury — and to his fans watch from home – that Heard’s claims should not be taken seriously.

“If it was something he thought he would be called for and get in trouble for, he would be taken more seriously,” Engelmayer told Insider. “His smile and his laughter and almost feel like it doesn’t matter to him – it helps his fan base.

He took the same approach when speaking out, arguing with Heard’s attorneys instead of giving specific and direct answers, Engelmayer said.

“Jonny Depp uses all of his acting skills in this area,” Engelmayer said. “The fact that he joked a bit, he came back with a funny line – he’s using everything he’s learned throughout his career to try and win.”

Jurors will have a week to sink Heard’s testimony

Due to the way the trial is scheduled, Heard was able to wrap up his side of the story before a week-long hiatus. She will not be cross-examined by Depp’s attorneys until May 16, giving jurors a week to allow her testimony to flow unchallenged.

“The jury is left with Amber Heard’s testimony still ringing in their ears – if they find it credible, and if they dwell on it over the next few days, it could be to their benefit. Mrs. Heard,” said Amber Melville-Brown, a reporter and journalist. reputation law specialist at Withers Worldwide, Insider said.

But it can also have a downside. While the break gives Heard an advantage in leaving his testimony before the jury, it also gives Depp’s attorneys more time to consider his testimony to prepare for cross-examination, Ramey pointed out.

Amber Heard

Actress Amber Heard is seen in Fairfax County Court in Virginia.Shawn Thew/Pool via REUTERS

Huntley Taylor said Heard’s legal team is doing well with the time they have so far. Having Dawn Hughes, a clinical psychologist who assessed Heard, testify about the structure of Depp’s alleged abuse helped dismantle the narrative constructed by his legal team, as well as give the jury some insight into what they can expect to hear.

“The psychologist set up a framework for her story and now Amber Heard is telling it,” she said. “To believe her would mean that the jury would have to believe that Johnny Depp was grossly abusive both in terms of the types of abuse and the amount.”

Heard’s testimony may also seem more believable simply because a accomplished psychologist told the jury it was, Engelmayer said.

“I think what they’re trying to do is rather than get Amber Heard talking and her own testimony, they want an expert to first tell you in advance how you should think,” a- he declared.

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp is testifying in his defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard.Steve Helber/Pool via Reuters

So far, the jury might not like any of them. Much like the audience, jurors may believe that neither is telling the whole story and that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Depp’s abrasive response to cross-examination may not have won fans, and jurors may withhold judgment on Heard until her attorneys cross-examine her. Jurors may also have been frustrated with the way each side told their stories – and interrupted the other side trying to tell their stories, Huntley Taylor said.

“Jurors don’t like any rule of law that disrupts the flow or prevents them from hearing important information,” she told Insider. “They recognize when witnesses try to add their own color commentary.”

Depp may have saved part of his career

For Depp, the case was still about his reputation — both personally and professionally. His loss of roles in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” movie franchises, as well as his relegation to roles in low-budget independent films, boosted his $50 million damages claims.

Both Ramey and Ward believe Heard will win the case, but the lawsuit could help Depp regain his footing in Hollywood.

Ward said the evidence against Depp is too strong and he will be hard pressed to argue that Heard’s op-ed in particular, which came out two years after the abuse allegations first hit the headlines, is what which ruined his career.

But Ward said the lawsuit may have cast enough doubt on Heard’s claims that Depp could start acting again somewhere down the line.

Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp is pictured outside court on April 28, 2022.MICHAEL REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

“The kind of injustice is that Johnny Depp has a better chance of someone putting him in an independent film or a smaller production at a good price than for her. But that’s Hollywood, that’s ageism , that’s sexism.”

According to Engelmayer, the trial proved that Depp has always hordes of fans — including women — who believe and support him, and think Heard is falsely accusing him. He may never again be in family-friendly roles, but he will have a career in more ethically ambiguous roles, he said.

“Johnny Depp is showing studios and publicists that he can win over audiences,” Engelmayer said. “That’s what I think of in terms of the turning point. It’s not a criminal trial.”

Ramey pointed to the hordes of fans who came out in person to support Depp throughout the trial as proof that the public is behind him.

“Johnny Depp won, regardless of the outcome of the trial,” Ramey said. “He got his reputation back in front of the public, period.”

Chances are, Huntley Taylor said, that jurors think the relationship was “toxic” and that “both were guilty of abuse.”

“It is possible that the jurors will send both parties home with nothing, for example if they believe that she honestly reported that she was abused and he honestly reported that she was abusive towards him “said Huntley Taylor. “Jurors might say enough is enough, go to your beautiful homes and stay away from each other.”

Read the original article at Initiated

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