“The jury has the case now”: Judge denies Johnny Depp's lawyer's motion to strike 'inappropriate argument' in Amber Heard's closing statement

Judge Penny Azcarate refused to strike the "inappropriate argument" motion filed by Johnny Depp's team against Amber Heard (Image via Getty Images)
Judge Penny Azcarate refused to strike the "inappropriate argument" motion filed by Johnny Depp's team against Amber Heard (Image via Getty Images)

The Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial entered the second day of jury deliberations on Tuesday, May 31. The jury deliberated for two hours on May 27 after closing arguments from both Depp and Heard’s team came to an end.

Judge Penny Azcarate later sent the jurors home and asked them to continue the deliberations after the Memorial Day holiday. Although jurors returned to the Fairfax County court on Tuesday, they failed to reach a verdict before the court adjourned.

It was also announced that the deliberations would continue on Wednesday, June 1. During Tuesday’s session, Johnny Depp’s legal team filed a motion to strike an “inappropriate argument” made by Amber Heard's lawyers during their closing statement.

However, Judge Azcarate refused to take up the motion and clarified that she can no longer consider the filing as the case has already been given over to the jury.


A look into the Johnny Depp’s team’s new motion against Amber Heard

Johnny Depp's attorney Ben Chew filed a motion to strike part of Amber Heard's lawyer's closing argument (Image via Getty Images)
Johnny Depp's attorney Ben Chew filed a motion to strike part of Amber Heard's lawyer's closing argument (Image via Getty Images)

On May 31, Johnny Depp’s legal team asked Judge Penny Azcarate to strike up part of the closing argument made by Amber Heard's lawyers, claiming that certain statements were “inappropriate” in nature.

During Friday’s closing arguments, Heard’s attorney Benjamin Rottenborn requested jurors to deliver a verdict against Heard to send a message to “every victim of domestic abuse everywhere.” He said:

“Ruling against Amber here sends a message that no matter what you do as an abuse victim, you always have to do more. No matter what you document, you always have to document more.”

He further added:

“No matter whom you tell, you always have to tell more people. No matter how honest you are about your own imperfections and your own shortcomings in a relationship, you have to be perfect in order for people to believe you.”
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Rottenborn also told jurors that a verdict against Amber Heard would make them “an accomplice” to Johnny Depp and his alleged “global humiliation” campaign against the Aquaman star.

In Tuesday’s motion filed by Depp’s legal team, his attorneys said that Rottenborn's closing arguments were similar to asking jurors “to decide the case based on passion and prejudice” and “a larger social objective” instead of the evidence presented in the court during the six-week long trial.

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Depp’s lawyers requested that the judge strike Rottenborn's statement from the record and ask jurors to disregard his remarks. They also asked her to make a “minor modification” to the jury verdict form to closely mirror the language in the jury instructions provided by the judge.

However, Judge Azcarate refused to take up the motion and told Depp's attorney Benjamin Chew that Rottenborn's remarks would stand “for now” as the case has already been handed over to the jury:

“I’m not ignoring you but I am kind of ignoring you because the jury has the case now and it's out of my hands.”

Johnny Depp filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard and sued her for libel after she claimed to be a survivor of domestic abuse in a Washington Post op-ed in 2018.

Depp’s legal team mentioned that the article damaged the actor’s public image and negatively affected his career despite him not being directly mentioned in the story. Heard countersued Depp for $100 million, claiming that he assaulted her on numerous occasions during their relationship.

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