Amber Heard's defense rests case: What comes next in Johnny Depp defamation trial

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Amber Heard's defense rests case: What comes next in Johnny Depp defamation trial
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Amber Heard's defense rested her case Thursday after an exhaustive six-week trial.

The Aquaman star returned to the stand in Fairfax County, Va., as a rebuttal witness for her defense ahead of closing arguments. A visibly emotional Heard countered claims previously put forth by her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, and his defense, testifying that she has been truthful in alleging that Depp physically, sexually, and verbally abused her during the course of their relationship.

On Wednesday, Depp retook the stand to deny the allegations again, accusing Heard of violence towards him and calling her allegations "unimaginably brutal, cruel, and all false." Witnesses have included model Kate Moss, Depp's ex-girlfriend; actress Ellen Barkin, Depp's former lover and costar; Jessica Kovacevic, Heard's talent agent; and many more.

So what comes next?

While the court has typically been in session Monday through Thursday, closing arguments are scheduled for Friday, May 27. Depp and Heard's lawyers will summarize key evidence shared thus far for the seven jurors in hopes of persuading them to reach a verdict in their favor.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images (2) Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Once closing arguments conclude, jury deliberations will begin. From there it's up to the jurors to weigh the defamation components. It's likely that the process will need to resume Tuesday following the Memorial Day weekend.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she detailed her experiences as a domestic violence survivor and advocated for change for victims. To prove defamation, Depp's lawyers must show that Heard knowingly and maliciously lied in the piece, that the article was clearly about Depp, and that her statements caused him damages or harm. Though she did not mention Depp by name in the op-ed, his lawyers have argued that the references to him, and Heard's previous abuse allegations, are clear due to the public nature of their careers.

Heard has filed a $100 million countersuit in response, claiming that Depp and his counsel — namely his attorney Adam Waldman, who characterized Heard's allegations as a "hoax" in a 2020 interview with Daily Mail — defamed her.

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