Amber Heard spent four days on the stand in her libel trial, testifying in detail about more than 10 cases of alleged abuse at the hands of Johnny Depp. The aquaman The star spent most of her time appealing directly to the jury, breaking down over the sexual assault allegations. Depp, who did not look at the actress once, had been “winning” in the court of public opinion before the actress’s testimony. But which star is presenting the best case in court? Legal experts weigh in on how things are heading into the final week of the trial.
“I think Heard had a pretty consistent message and didn’t fall apart during very tough cross-examination,” attorney Rachel Fiset, managing partner of Zweiback, Fiset & Coleman, tells Yahoo Entertainment. “In her live, Heard set the stage for how she fell in love with Johnny and then recounted how their relationship turned to volatility and abuse over its course. For the most part, she sounded sincere in her love for him, and distraught in her love for him.” As for the decline.”
However, Fiset believes Heard “may have downplayed her role in the volatility of the relationship too much,” given that the actress admits to physically abusing Depp in audiotapes shown in court. Fiset also points out that Heard is just that: an actress.
“It seemed a bit rehearsed and focused on his audience, the jury, which might annoy the jury because it seemed a bit contrived and sometimes it felt like he was going overboard,” he explains.
Libel attorney Jeff Lewis, who gives Heard “high marks” for her testimony in direct examination, thinks some of it could work.
“For Amber Heard to prevail, all she needs to do is convince the jury that at least one act of violence occurred,” he explains to Yahoo. “Amber’s account of sexual violence, in particular, was dramatic and riveting to the jury.”
Lewis continues: “That said, the cross-examination was masterfully done: short quibble-proof questions that destroyed Heard’s credibility. The questions in particular about the audio of her taunting Johnny Depp that no one would believe he was the victim of the violence was very strong and Heard’s response to that line of questioning was weak.”
Lewis believes Heard made a mistake by “being combative with Depp’s lawyer.”
“For example, to suggest that Depp’s lawyer doesn’t really understand cocaine as well as Amber Heard? That could be true, but that particular issue, that Amber is more experienced with drugs, may not convince the jury,” he shares. . “Direct questioning was very good for Heard, but cross-examination wiped out any progress she made.”
Lewis gave Depp’s lawyers points for pulling out the knife Heard gave the actor in the midst of their volatile relationship.
“What victim of domestic violence would give such a gift? And having that knife in court, rather than a mere photo, was good advocacy by Depp’s legal team,” he adds.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed he wrote in the Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse”. Heard countersues Depp for $100 million.
Fiset had an interesting take when asked if Heard potentially made any mistakes.
“The alleged abuse is so abhorrent that she set a very high bar to prove its truth, which may leave a jury confused about what it would take to prove that she was a survivor of domestic abuse as she claimed in the opinion piece. She they could have detailed much milder events to overcome their ‘abuse’ hurdle,” he explains. “Given the vast disparity in each side’s story, the jury is out on what determines to be domestic abuse within the relationship and what [Amber’s] the ‘truth’ was written in the op-ed. This trial has become a he said, she said battle over these horrible accusations.”
As for how Heard’s time on the stand compares to her ex-husband’s, both attorneys note the Johnny Depp factor.
“They are both passionate about their case. Johnny Depp, okay Johnny Depp, and he was sincere in his testimony, but I felt like he was definitely on trial on a quest to clear his name and regain traction in his career.” Fisset says. “Amber Heard’s testimony felt a bit rehearsed, but she has a lot to lose in this case and she may have just been more nervous.”
Adds Lewis: “The jury reportedly hung on Depp’s every word. The courtroom laughed along with his jokes. The jury noted Depp’s behavior off the stand as he scribbled on the attorney’s table and it is a way that Depp connects with the jury in a way that Heard hasn’t been able to connect in. Depp is quite friendly with his attorney and the jury can see and observe how he treats others and will take those moments off the witness stand into account in assessing his credibility. he was very vulnerable and open with the jury and not defensive. he was well prepared to testify.”
However, Lewis points out that some of Heard’s witnesses have been very convincing, in particular, the testimony of her former makeup artist. Melanie Inglessis said she covered up bruises and a split lip allegedly suffered by Heard in December 2015 after a violent fight with Depp.
“Any time a third party offers corroborating testimony in a ‘he said, she said’ case, that testimony will be important to a jury,” he says.
Whether Depp or Heard will prevail in the courtroom remains to be seen, but experts believe every star has a chance to win.
Entertainment lawyer Domenic Romano, founder and managing partner of Romano Law, gives Heard a slight edge: “At the beginning of his testimony, Depp emphasized that he was looking for ‘the truth.’ been overwhelmingly negative for Depp, especially in regards to his alleged drug and alcohol use. Depp has little to gain and a lot to lose by pursuing this case.”
However, Depp is still winning over the public and potentially the jury.
“If the jury is on the same side as the general public, then Depp has a very good chance of winning. However, what has been presented in the case and what elements Depp would have to show to prove libel should weigh in favor of Amber Heard. In my opinion, she will have a narrow victory in her defense and probably won’t win her countersuit,” says Fiset.
Lewis says “things are going very well for Depp” who “has an opportunity to offer rebuttal testimony before closing arguments” which are scheduled for May 27, after which the jury will begin deliberations.
“Heard’s best strategy seems to be on the damage side: that Depp’s career was in decline before his op-ed was published and that Heard wasn’t the real cause of any damage to him,” he explains. “I would also expect Heard’s attorney to summarize during closing arguments any third party corroboration to the claims of violence – the make-up artist and her sister in particular. For Depp’s part, I expect the audio of her mocking him for not being believed, the gift of the knife and the dozens of discrepancies in the timeline that will be presented in the closing arguments”.
In the end, it may not matter who wins, at least to the public.
“Amber faces a lot of criticism during this case,” adds Fiset. “I think most of the public has a choice about who they’re rooting for and the facts and evidence may not be the driver of those feelings.”
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