Johnny Depp’s bizarre court behavior could jeopardize $50m defamation case
According to legal commentators, Johnny Depp’s snickering and allegedly irreverent demeanor in court might endanger his $50 million defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star has captured the hearts of social media followers and fans, who appeared to be delighted by his witty quips and demeanor during the high-profile trial. However, legal experts caution that Depp’s ‘smartass’ remarks – including laughing about his drinking – may make him appear ‘unsympathetic’ to those who will ultimately determine his destiny: the jury.
The actor’s laughter and joking throughout Heard’s testimony may have made him less ‘likable,’ according to two top defamation attorneys in Virginia, where the case is being heard. They also anticipated that both parties would lose their claims since neither has satisfied the guideline for maligning yet.
The trial, which is being held in Fairfax County Court, is now on hold for a week, but will resume on Monday with Heard, 36, continuing to give testimony.
Depp, 58, is suing his ex-wife for $50 million after she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse in a Washington Post op-ed in 2018. Although Depp’s name was not included in the article, he claims it lost him $40 million in acting opportunities, including his renowned part as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie.
Meanwhile, Heard, 36, is counter suing for $100 million, saying that Depp’s claims have tarnished her and wrecked her profession.
The jury heard stunning testimony during the first four weeks of the hearing, including charges that Depp headbutted Heard and sexually attacked her. Minor gaffes from witnesses and even Depp himself have provided some comic relief on the stand during the trial.
Johnny Depp Can't Stop Laughing During Court Case
Johnny Depp Can't Stop Laughing During Court CasePosted by Ben Shapiro on Friday, 6 May 2022
When questioned about his drinking habits during his evidence, Depp remarked, ‘Isn’t happy hour any time?’ In court, he was also observed shaking his head dismissively and snickering and chuckling at several of Heard’s assertions.
However, according to Virginia lawyer Lee Berlik, the Hollywood star’s laughter during Heard’s hard and emotional testimony might be damaging his case.
Berlik explained that they don’t have a lot of celebrity trials in Fairfax, Virginia. In a regular case when no one knows the parties and someone is suing his wife for $100 million, one does not want to watch that guy grinning and laughing to himself and making smartass remarks on the witness stand.
One wants the jury to sympathize with your client, and they must be liked to do so. Though one acts as if this is all for fun and games, he or she may turn off a lot of individuals. However, he is not sure how Johnny Depp being Johnny Depp changes that. When ordinary people approach the courthouse, they are not greeted by 100 shouting fans. He believes it will turn some people off on the jury, but will it turn everyone off?
He proceeded Amber Heard was sitting up straight, concentrating on Depp, and making a neutral look but online people have been alleging she’s giving him the evil eye.
On the other side, Steven Krieger, a defamation lawyer located in Virginia, believes Heard’s stoic demeanor might cause her troubles as well. He added that it wouldn’t surprise him if at least one jury thought each of their emotions were improper, not believable, or in some manner unpleasant.
As for Depp, you don’t want to look to a jury to be joking, smirking, or not taking this seriously. As for Heard, you don’t want to be looking straight ahead with a blank expression. Both should strive to look compassionate, humane, and sympathetic to the sufferer.
If one is preparing their clients for a jury trial, one should have some physical disposition in between what they’ve been doing. Because of the explosive accusations made by both parties, the case has received a lot of media attention.
However, Berlik explained that he believes both parties will lose their claims since none has met the minimum level.
If the jury finds ‘only a single act of abuse by Johnny Depp against Amber Heard,’ and if they perform their jobs well, they will very likely find her op-ed to be true, and Depp will almost certainly lose his case.
Berlik continued most of what he has heard so far is about all kinds of specifics about all kinds of occurrences with fingers being hacked off and people peeing in beds and using cocaine. However, there isn’t much in the op-ed, and he had anticipated Heard’s counsel to cautiously teach the jury on what this case is actually about.
Berlik called Heard’s complaint a “knee jerk response” based on statements by Depp’s lawyer that appeared to be a rejection of her op-ed. According to Berlik, the statements listed in Heard’s complaint lack the same sting of a really slanderous insult. He claimed that if the jury ignores the famous members, the two sides will leave with nothing.
Krieger also thinks Depp and Heard will face very challenging slander charges. In this case, Depp holds the burden of proof and must persuade the jury that he was not abusive, which basically means he must prove a negative.
‘How do you demonstrate a negative?’ ‘It’s quite difficult,’ Krieger added. Then there’s the issue of calculating the potential harm, presuming one party wins.
Krieger expressed that part of Depp’s damages may be the money he lost as a result of losing his position in Pirates of the Caribbean, but there’s also assumed damages to one’s reputation if Depp can establish that the words had a detrimental influence on him in his career.
Yet, if his reputation was already harmed as a result of his drug addiction troubles or anything else happening in his life, it’s uncertain how much more harm the defamatory words caused. The fact is that one can only establish reputational damage if one already had a good reputation.
One point of contention among those following the case is how the jury will respond to proof that Heard, who has professed to be a victim of abuse, struck Depp.
An audio tape in which she admits to ‘striking’ Depp yet denies ‘punching’ him was among the evidence presented to the jury. In his testimony, Depp revealed how Heard had hit him in the face in self-defense of her sister.
Krieger believes this may be a ‘mitigating element’ for the jury, but adds that even if the jury believes Heard was also abusive, they may still rule in her favor. He stated, if the jury discovers that she abused Johnny, it will obviously muddy the waters since a jury may determine that Amber’s evidence about how she was mistreated is less credible if she also abused Johnny.
The jury will have to determine who is more believable, and they may throw up their hands and declare they can’t figure it out, thus indicating that the plaintiff failed to meet his burden of proof.
The same jury of seven individuals that resolves the case will have to decide how much money to give Depp or Heard if they win. But there’s no telling what that money may be if anything at all.
Berlik remarked that they’re going to do anything they want. Perhaps it will be founded on an estimation with logical accuracy. Sometimes it will be based on their instincts. He adds, this is why jury trials are dangerous. And, regardless of the verdict, the case will very definitely be appealed to the Virginia Supreme Court, which means you won’t hear the last of Depp versus Heard.