Amber Heard’s “performance” on the stand last week, as dubbed by Johnny Depp‘s legal team, has been lambasted. But that may not be enough to give him victory in his defamation case against her, experts told Fox News.
Susan Constantine, a trial consultant and body language expert, gave Heard a thumbs down for credibility while analyzing her turn in the witness box. “She is not truthful and most of what she’s saying is a lie,” Constantine said in her estimation. This is such bad acting, I don’t know how she’s going to get a movie role after this.”
Johnny Depp is suing Amber Heard, 36, for $50 million in a defamation lawsuit over her 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she referred to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Although the article did not use his name, Depp claims it destroyed his career and made him a Hollywood pariah. Heard is countersuing for $100 million, claiming that Depp and his former counsel conspired to defame her by branding her abuse claims a “hoax.” Last week, Heard spent two days on the witness stand chronicling Depp’s alleged assaults of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, which she claims have left her with a fractured nose and black eyes.
In gruesome detail, Heard described how Depp allegedly raped her with a bottle of Maker’s Mark in a drug-fueled rage while in Australia in March 2015.
Many critics, on the other hand, have condemned her tearless weeping and exaggerated tone as phony. Heard’s facial and bodily expressions are incongruent and “off the scale,” according to Constantine. She also notes that Heard recounts far too many irrelevant details, which is unusual for trauma victims who typically wouldn’t remember that much – especially six or more years after the fact.
“Liars give you too much information,” she said. That is, everything that Heard has said is true, Constantine added.
“I think that when she described the headbutt, she was being truthful,” she said, referring to Heard’s allegation that Depp launched his head into her and choked her unconscious during an 2015 argument at their penthouse. “I do think he was verbally degrading at times,” she added.
In response to Depp’s filing, George Freeman, a First Amendment lawyer with the Media Law Resource Center, said that he will face an uphill battle in court. The actor must show not only that Heard’s statements are untrue, but also that she knew they were false when she made them.
“When a public figure sues, it’s much more difficult to win,” said First Amendment lawyer George Freeman He must also persuade the jury that her allegations damaged his reputation in fact. “When a public figure sues, it’s much more difficult to win,” Freeman explained. “He has to prove what was going on inside her head, that she knew she was lying.”
To win a defamation case, only negligence or carelessness on the part of the plaintiff is required.
According to Ben Rottenborn, Heard’s attorney, Depp must also show that she was talking about him in the op-ed. If he can do so, the jury only has to find that Depp yelled at her once in order for him to lose his defamation lawsuit, according to his legal counsel.
The op-ed, however, referred to Depp and a domestic violence allegation Heard allegedly made against him two years previously, according to civil and marital lawyer Marilyn Chinitz. “It’s a clear line of saying that Depp abused her physically even if she didn’t use his name,” she said.
According to attorney Chinitz, the case will come down to Heard’s cross-examination and whether Depp’s legal team can bring her credibility into question enough for the jury not to believe a single word she says.
This week’s hearing in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia went dark this week for a pre-planned vacation, but it will resume Monday when Heard returns to the stand. Her attorneys intend to call Depp back to the stand, as well as his ex-girlfriend, Ellen Barkin, and Amber’s sister, Whitney Heard.
Both parties have accused one another of physical and verbal abuse, as well as providing evidence, audio recordings, and photographs to support their claims.
Johnny Depp testified that she threw a vodka bottle at him, injuring the tip of his finger during an infamous Australia blowup in 2015, calling her the abuser.
“I think they’ve both damaged themselves in this lawsuit,” said Chinitz, who represented Tom Cruise and Michael Douglas in their respective divorces. “You don’t get a favorable feeling about either of them.”
In her countersuit, Heard claims that Depp defamed her by claiming her abuse allegation was a hoax, and she’ll face her own challenges to winning, according to criminal and civil attorney Mark Bederow.
Depp’s legal team must show that the actor, not his counsel, made the hurtful remark.
“But even if one party prevails, it will be a pyrrhic victory,” Bederow told Fox News Digital. “Both of their reputations have been severely damaged on the public stage.”
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