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Legal counsel representing Johnny Depp in a blockbuster defamation lawsuit with fellow actor and ex-wife Amber Heard says a closing statement from Heard’s team could dramatically change the way the jury sees the case.
On Tuesday, they asked Judge Penney Azcarate to tell the jury to disregard the statement and provide them with clearer instructions during their ongoing deliberations.
Depp’s attorneys argued that Heard’s attorney, Benjamin Rottenborn, told the jury that his final verdict in the case would send a message to “all victims of domestic violence everywhere.”
The language could potentially cause jurors to weigh in on domestic violence as a social issue and drift away from the facts of the case, Depp’s attorney argued.
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“Such an argument from Ms. Heard’s attorney misguides the jury to decide the case ‘on the basis of passion and prejudice’ and a specific jury instruction is required to remedy this impropriety,” they wrote. declared.
The statement in question came during closing arguments when Rottenborn told the jury that a decision against Heard “sends the message that no matter what you do as a victim of abuse, you always have to do more.”
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“No matter how honest you are about your own imperfections and your own shortcomings in a relationship, you have to be perfect for people to believe you. Don’t send that message,” Rottenborn said.
In response, Judge Azcarate told Depp’s attorneys that she would not grant the motion because the jury had already begun deliberations.
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The jury deliberated for nine hours over two days and is expected to resume on Wednesday.
Depp is asking for $50 million in the case because he claims Heard defamed him when she called herself a “public figure representing domestic violence.” Heard is seeking $100 million in a countersuit as she claims Depp and his legal team called her allegations a hoax.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.