Washington: After weeks of explosive testimony and three days of deliberations, the jury returned a split verdict on Wednesday in the blockbuster libel case between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard.
And while the jury found each defamed the other, Depp celebrated the verdict as a victory and Heard said she was disappointed “beyond words”.
Here are some of the key moments from the blockbuster trial, which featured domestic abuse allegations and counterclaims:
– Cut off fingertip –
Hours of testimony during the six-week trial were devoted to a gruesome incident that took place in March 2015 in Australia, where Depp was filming the fifth episode of “Pirates of the Caribbean”.
The tip of Depp’s right middle finger was severed during a heated argument with Heard at their rented house.
Depp said it happened when Heard threw a bottle of vodka at him.
Heard said she doesn’t know how it happened, but it may have been when he smashed a wall phone.
The two agreed, however, that Depp used his bloody finger to scribble cryptic messages on the walls, lampshades and mirrors of the house.
– Poop on the bed –
Among the many bizarre incidents cited during the trial was a story of feces being deposited one day on Depp’s side of the couple’s bed.
Depp said he was shown a picture of “human feces” on the bed after he and Heard got into a fight at his 30th birthday party.
Heard tried to blame it on their dogs, Depp said, but “they’re teacup Yorkies, they weigh about four pounds each.”
Heard said a dog had intestinal problems after eating Depp’s marijuana as a puppy.
As for the dogs, Heard accused Depp of once holding one of them out of a moving car window while “howling like an animal.”
The dog was unharmed.
– Witnesses –
Both sides presented several witnesses, although testimony from billionaire Elon Musk, Heard’s ex-boyfriend, and her co-star James Franco ultimately did not materialize.
But there were celebrity appearances.
Kate Moss, Depp’s former girlfriend, has denied a long-running rumor that he threw the British model down a flight of stairs.
Moss said by video link that never happened.
Actress Ellen Barkin, another ex-girlfriend, testified that Depp was jealous, controlling and “often drunk”, and once threw a bottle of wine in a hotel room.
Other witnesses have included bodyguards, agents, business executives, doctors, friends, relatives and even the former doorman at the luxury penthouse resort where the couple once lived in Los Angeles.
Doorman Alejandro Romero likely spoke for many involved in the case when he said, “I’m so stressed. I don’t want to deal with this anymore.”
– The proof –
Audio and video recordings of heated and rude arguments between Depp and Heard were entered into evidence.
In a video recorded by Heard in their kitchen, Depp is seen screaming, breaking windows and pouring himself a huge glass of red wine.
Depp and Heard submitted photos of injuries they claimed were inflicted by the other.
Heard’s attorneys also presented photos purporting to show Depp passed out after drinking excessively or using drugs.
Text messages between Depp and various people were posted in which he described in foul and violent language what he would like to see happen to Heard.
Depp’s attorneys downplayed the texts, saying he just had a colorful way of writing, similar to that of his late friend, journalist Hunter S. Thompson.
– Depp fans –
Depp fans lined up for hours each day to secure coveted seats in the public gallery for the trial held in Fairfax, Virginia.
While the onlookers were generally well behaved, Judge Penney Azcarate threatened to evict them at one point during Heard’s testimony.
“If I hear one more noise, I will empty the gallery,” warned Azcarate. “Understood?”
Depp fans also led a massive social media campaign in support of the actor with the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp.
Heard said she had received thousands of death threats. “People want to kill me and they tell me that every day,” she said.
The trial was followed online by millions of people tuning in to the live streams. Many of them generated memes or animated GIFs in real time, most often praising Depp and ridiculing Heard.
– Damaged Hollywood careers –
Three-time Oscar nominee Depp and Heard claimed their careers were damaged.
Heard, who starred in ‘Aquaman’, one of the highest-grossing films of all time, said she had to fight to keep a role in ‘Aquaman 2’ and alleged Depp tried to so that Warner Brothers cut it from the sequel.
Heard’s legal team introduced an entertainment industry expert who estimated she suffered $45-50 million in lost film and television roles and endorsements.
An industry expert hired by Depp said he lost millions from the abuse charges, including a $22.5 million salary for a sixth “Pirates” installment.
But Tracey Jacobs, Depp’s former agent, said there was never a formal deal for another “Pirates” movie.
Jacobs also said the actor’s star started going dark since 2010 due to “unprofessional behavior” that included alcohol and drug use. (AFP)