Johnny Depp libel trial wrapping, lawyer claims he abused Amber Heard

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Johnny Depp libel trial wrapping, lawyer claims he abused Amber Heard

The Associated Press
Published 7:01 a.m. ET July 27, 2020 | Updated 12:04 p.m. ET July 27, 2020

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Johnny Depp arrived at Britain’s High Court on Tuesday to attend a hearing of his claim against The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers over a story alleging he was abusive to his ex-wife Amber Heard.

AP Entertainment

LONDON (AP) — Lawyers began their closing arguments Monday at Johnny Depp’s libel case against a British tabloid that accused him of abusing ex-wife Amber Heard — a high-stakes celebrity trial in which the reputations of both former spouses are at stake.

Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the newspaper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, at the High Court in London over an April 2018 article, which called him a “wife-beater.” He strongly denies being violent to Heard.

Summing up for The Sun, lawyer Sasha Wass said the newspaper’s defense “is one of truth – namely that Mr. Depp did indeed beat his wife.”

Wass said there was “overwhelming evidence of domestic violence or wife-beating behavior, cataloged over a three-year period.”

Depp’s lawyers will present their closing arguments next. The case is due to end Tuesday, but judge Andrew Nicol is not expected to deliver his ruling for several weeks.

Amber Heard arrives July 27, 2020, for closing arguments in London trial of Johnny Depp’s libel case against a British tabloid that called him a “wife beater” during his marriage to Heard. (Photo: John Phillips, Getty Images)

In her closing arguments, Wass said evidence was presented that Depp abused Heard during their relationship, committing acts of violence fueled by misogyny and unleashed by addiction to alcohol and drugs. She said Depp was “a hopeless addict who repeatedly lost his self-control and all ability to restrain his anger.”

“Permeating all of the evidence in this case is the character of Mr. Depp himself – his well-documented evidence of violence and destruction over his adult life which have occurred when he was under the influence of drink and drugs.”

She said Depp “has a name for this metamorphosed entity — namely, The Monster.”

Wass said that the first year of the relationship, during which Depp was sober, was “idyllic,” but that the violence started in 2013 after he relapsed.

Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. Heard filed for divorce the following year, and the divorce was finalized in 2017.

The former spouses have both been in court during three weeks of testimony at the grand neo-Gothic court building.

Lawyers, journalists and members of the public have heard lurid details of the couple’s tempestuous relationship, including prodigious drinking and drug consumption, furious arguments, hurled objects and a deposit of excrement left in a bed — whether by dog or human is disputed.

Johnny Depp arrives at court in London on July 24, 2020 for another day in his libel trial against a London tabloid. (Photo: Mike Marsland, WireImage)

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The Sun’s defense relies on 14 allegations made by Heard of violence by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in settings including his private island in the Bahamas, a rented house in Australia — where Depp’s finger was severed in contested circumstances — and the couple’s downtown Los Angeles penthouse, which was trashed during the couple’s altercations.

Depp denies all the allegations and claims Heard was the aggressor during their volatile relationship, which he has likened to “a crime scene waiting to happen.” Several current or former employees gave evidence backing his version of events, and former romantic partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder gave witness statements saying he had never been violent to them.

During four days in the witness box last week, Heard stood by her allegations, claiming Depp flew into jealous rages and became a “monster” under the influence of alcohol and drugs. She accused him of slapping and hitting her and throwing bottles at her “like grenades,” and claimed that she often feared for her life during their relationship.

Heard’s evidence was backed by witnesses including her sister Whitney Henriquez, who said she had seen Depp hit Heard “multiple times” during a fracas at the couple’s Los Angeles apartment in March 2015.

On Friday, Depp’s lawyers played a video, filmed years before Heard and Depp met, that showed a friend of Henriquez saying “I can’t believe Amber beat your ass.” Depp’s lawyers said that was evidence of Heard’s violence, but her sister said they had only had a verbal altercation.

Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard: All the nasty bits of the UK trial — and it’s all nasty

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