Johnny Depp’s attorneys seen entering courthouse amid jury deliberations
Some of Johnny Depp’s lawyers and one member of his security team were seen entering the courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, where a jury is currently deliberating in a trial of dueling defamation lawsuits between the Pirates of the Caribbean star and his ex-wife, Amber Heard.
Law & Crime Network, one of the media outlets covering the trial, reported Tuesday morning that one of their correspondents saw members of Depp’s legal team and a security team member enter the courthouse.
No official information has been confirmed as to why the individuals came into the courthouse. However, it was speculated the reason might be due to a jury question. Law & Crime Network correspondent Angenette Levy provided the update that the individuals included two now-famous members of Depp’s legal team, Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez, who have both had viral moments of praise on social media from Depp supporters amid the televised trial.
Depp was not among those spotted at the courthouse Tuesday, and it’s unclear if he is even in the United States at this time since he performed in the U.K. with rock musician Jeff Beck at a concert over the weekend and again on Monday night. The fact that he would appear as a surprise appearance for the shows even as deliberations are ongoing arguably speaks to the fact that the trial itself has been a defacto image-restoration attempt by Depp.
Judge Penney Azcarate previously stated that neither Depp nor Heard are required to appear in person, though they have the option to do so when the verdict is eventually read aloud. Jury deliberations began Friday after both sides of the trial rested their cases.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million for defamation for domestic abuse claims she made against him that he says are false and hurt his career. Heard is counter-suing her ex-husband, also for defamation, for $100 million.
Depp’s lawsuit centers around an op-ed Heard wrote in 2018 for the Washington Post in which she describes herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Depp wasn’t named in the piece, but he claims the article references a past — and allegedly false — domestic abuse allegation she made against him via filing a restraining order against him.
While Heard maintains she was abused by Depp, Depp claims just the opposite: he was abused by her and not the other way around.
Jurors are currently deliberating on the case, the trial for which concluded last week after six weeks of testimonies and arguments from both legal teams.
Update May 31 12:45pm CT: Broadcast from the courtroom indicated the jury had a question pertaining to one of the jury instructions about whether the op-ed headline was considered the allegedly defamatory statement in question — in and of itself —or the entirety of the article. The judge’s revised instruction was that the allegedly defamatory statement in question was the headline and not the entire op-ed. The headline in question, from the Washington Post article that is attributed to Heard, reads, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”
Jury deliberations are ongoing.