Johnny Depp 'there for his name': Attorney on Depp-Heard trial closing arguments

ABC News' Trevor Ault speaks with celebrity divorce attorney Christopher Melcher about the closing arguments in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial.
4:15 | 05/28/22

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Transcript for Johnny Depp 'there for his name': Attorney on Depp-Heard trial closing arguments
WEEKS, THE JURY AND THE TRIAL BETWEEN JOHNNY DEPP AND AMBER HEARD IS FINALLY DELIBERATING. TODAY, ATTORNEYS FOR BOTH STARS MADE THEIR CLOSING ARGUMENTS, DEPP IS SUING HERD FOR $50 MILLION IN VIRGINIA OVER A DECEMBER 2018 OP-ED THAT SHE WROTE IN THE WASHINGTON POST, DESCRIBING HERSELF AS A PUBLIC FIGURE REPRESENTING DOMESTIC ABUSE. DEPP'S LAWYERS SAY HE WAS DEFAMED BY THIS ARTICLE, THOUGH HE WAS NEVER MENTIONED BY NAME. HERD FILED A 100 MILLION DOLLAR COUNTER CLAIM AGAINST DEPP AFTER HIS LAWYER CALLED HER ALLEGATIONS A HOAX. SO, TO CUT THROUGH ALL OF THE NOISE, JOINING US NOW IS CELEBRITY DIVORCE ATTORNEY CHRIS MELCHER. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. BEFORE WE GET INTO, DEFY WANT TO PLAY A QUICK SOUNDBITE OF PORTIONS OF THE CLOSING ARGUMENTS FROM BOTH SIDES. FIRST IT WILL BE FROM DEPTHS ATTORNEY, AND THEN FROM HERDS. TAKE A LISTEN. >> BUT STRAIGHT-UP BROUGHT THIS CASE FOR DEFAMATION. MISS HEARD WENT ALL IN. SHE SPUN A STORY OF SHOCKING OVERWHELMING BRUTAL ABUSE. SHE CAME INTO THIS COURTROOM PREPARED TO GIVE THE PERFORMANCE OF HER LIFE. AND SHE GAVE IT. >> IT IS NOT ABOUT WHO IS THE BETTER SPOUSE. IT IS NOT ABOUT WHETHER YOU THINK MISHEARD MAY HAVE BEEN ABUSIVE TO MR. DEPP, IT ISN'T. BECAUSE REMEMBER, IF YOU THINK THAT THEY WERE BOTH ABUSIVE TO EACH OTHER, THAN AMBER WINDS. THEY ARE TRYING TO TRICK YOU INTO THINKING THAT AMBER HAS TO BE PERFECT IN ORDER TO WIN. >> SO LET'S START WITH THAT'S THE TIERNEY, I KNOW BOTH SIDES HAVE ACCUSED EACH OTHER OF PERFORMANCES IN THE TESTIMONY. THROUGHOUT THIS ENTIRE TRIAL, DUMPS ATTORNEY HAVE BEEN MORE AGGRESSIVE. WHAT DID YOU MAKE OF THEIR CLOSING ARGUMENTS? >> I THOUGHT DUKE'S ATTORNEY DID A COMPELLING JOB EXPLAINING THAT WE SPEND OUR LIFETIME CREATING A REPUTATION, AND IT COULD BE TAKEN AWAY FROM US IN A MOMENT. AND THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED TO JOHNNY DEPP WHEN AMBER HEARD CAME OUT AND SAID THAT SHE WAS THE VICTIM OF ALL OF THIS HORRIFIC ABUSE AT THE HANDS OF JOHNNY DEPP WHEN HE IS SAYING NO, THAT HE WAS THE VICTIM, AND SHE WAS THE AGGRESSOR. SO I THINK THAT THEY LANDED THOSE POINTS, AND HE ALSO ESTABLISHED THAT HE IS NOT THERE FOR MONEY HE IS THERE FOR HIS NAME. >> OF COURSE, SOMETHING WE HAVE HAD TO KIND OF STRESS TO PEOPLE'S, THEY HAVE WATCHED MILLIONS OF PEOPLE HAVE WATCHED THE TRIAL LIVE NOW FOR THE PAST SIX, WEEKS IS A FACT THAT THIS IS NOT A CONTEST OF WHO WAS THE WORST PARTNER IN THIS MARRIAGE. IT IS A DEFAMATION CASE, ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT AMBER HEARD LIED, AND UPS ATTORNEYS HAVING TO PROVE THAT, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT EMBER HURTS ATTORNEYS POINTED TO IN THEIR ARGUMENTS. IS HE RIGHT? IF BOTH OF THEM WERE ABUSIVE THAN EVER WINS THIS CASE? >> THAT IS RIGHT. IT IS A HARD CASE FOR JOHNNY. BECAUSE HOW DO YOU DEFINE ABUSE? COULD THAT BE VERBAL ALTERCATIONS THAT THEY HAD, OR UNKIND WORDS THAT HE USED? MAYBE THAT FALLS WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF ABUSE. BUT SHE WENT FURTHER IN HER OP-ED, SHE ACTUALLY TALKED ABOUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE. SO SHE IS RIGHT THAT HE HAS TO ESTABLISH THAT THIS WAS NOT AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP. SO THAT IS A CHALLENGE FOR HIM TO DO. BUT OVER THE COURSE OF THIS TRIAL, WE DID SEE CONSISTENTLY THAT SHE WAS THE AGGRESSOR. AND THESE ARE TAPERED COURTING'S OF HER IN HER OWN WORDS PURSUING HIM IN A VERY AGGRESSIVE AND HATEFUL WAY. >> I KNOW THAT YOU DON'T HAVE A CRYSTAL BALL, THERE IS OF COURSE A LOT TO CHEW ON OVER THE COURSE OF A SIX-WEEK TRIAL, BUT AT ITS CORE IS A RELATIVELY SIMPLE QUESTION. HOW LONG DO YOU THINK THAT THE JURY IS GOING TO NEED TO TALK ALL OF THIS OVER AND COME UP WITH A VERDICT? >> I ANTICIPATE THAT THEY ARE GOING TO COME BACK ON MAYBE THURSDAY, BECAUSE THERE IS A LOT OF EVIDENCE TO LOOK, AT THE LAW HAS TO BE CONSIDERED, AND THEY ARE GOING TO TAKE THEIR JOB SERIOUSLY. TO ME, IT SOUNDS ABOUT THURSDAY IS ABOUT RIGHT. TO GO THROUGH ALL OF THAT INFORMATION. >> YOU TOUCHED ON THE REPUTATION THING JUST REALLY QUICK, CHRIS, EVEN IF JOHNNY DEPP LOSES, DO YOU THINK THAT GIVEN THE PUBLIC'S REACTION TO THIS TRIAL, HE HAS ALREADY WON? >> ABSOLUTELY, TREVOR. HE HAS WON. THERE IS A SEA OF SUPPORT FOR HIM ONLINE, NOT JUST FANS, BUT OTHER PEOPLE WHO SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM. HE DID GET HIS NAME BACK. I THINK THAT HE WILL BE JUST FINE, NO MATTER HOW THIS JURY TURNS OUT. >> OF COURSE, THERE ARE TENS AND MILLIONS

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