In the middle of Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, her legal team motioned for dismissal of the lawsuit. The judge has however denied the request after arguments from both sides.
On Tuesday, Depp’s side wrapped their witness list as the plaintiff rested their case. Before defendant Heard’s team brings witnesses to the stand, her attorney Ben Rottenborn made the case for why the lawsuit should be thrown out, arguing that Depp’s side doesn’t have enough to prove defamation.
Depp’s attorney Benjamin Chew recapped their witness testimonies up to this point, claiming they’ve shown how Depp’s career and reputation was tarnished by Heard’s December 2018 Washington Post op-ed, which is the center of the case. Though she did not mention Depp by name in the article, she wrote about becoming “public figure representing domestic abuse” and feeling “the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”
Chew said Heard — who has not yet taken the stand — was the abuser in the relationship, not Depp, 58.
In his final statements countering Chew’s argument, Rottenborn spoke about “disputed evidence” of abuse in the case presented by the plaintiff, adding of Heard, 36, “I can tell you, she is not the abuser, and if the case moves forward, she and her witnesses will put on even more evidence of the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of Mr. Depp.”
Rottenborn pointed out that Depp and some of his expert witnesses testified that domestic abuse comes in various forms, not only physical. With that, “Even under their standard, the undisputed evidence is that Mr. Depp did commit abuse against Ms. Heard,” he said.
After reviewing all of the evidence, Judge Penney Azcarate denied the motions, saying that the “weight of that evidence is up to the fact-finders,” meaning she’s letting the jury decide whether Heard’s op-ed was indeed defamatory as the trial continues.