Khaleej Times - City Times

Depp in starring role at defamation trial

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Testy at times, rambling and poetic at others, Johnny Depp has embraced a familiar role at his defamation trial against his former wife Amber Heard — the leading man.

During three days on the witness stand, the three-time Oscar nominee has sought to convince a jury that the allegation­s of domestic abuse made against him by Heard are untrue and have destroyed his career.

Lawyers for the 36-year-old Heard have hammered away at the 58-year-old Depp’s history of drug and alcohol use in a bid to undermine his credibilit­y.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star has mostly kept his cool under cross-examinatio­n by Heard’s lawyers but has shown the occasional flash of anger. Asked by her attorney Ben Rottenborn to answer a “simple yes or no question,” Depp snapped back: “Nothing is simple in this case.”

Depp has also gotten the hang of the back-and-forth of the Virginia courtroom where high-powered lawyers for both sides are constantly interrupti­ng each other to complain about hearsay. “That’s hearsay I guess,” Depp said of one of his own comments, drawing laughter from a gallery that includes some of the actor’s fans. “I’m learning.”

At other times, the actor has waxed lyrical during his frequently long-winded answers.

Asked about the domestic abuse allegation­s against him, Depp compared it to “running between drops of lava.”

“You’re trying to run between raindrops that kill you and destroy you.”

Depp has turned up for the trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court with his hair tied back in a ponytail, earrings and chunky rings. He has favoured three-piece suits in court and wore an all-black ensemble on Thursday — black suit, black vest, black shirt and black tie. Heard has gone mainly for black pant suits and a change of hairstyle each day.

She has remained mostly stoic during Depp’s testimony, listening attentivel­y, whispering with her lawyers and taking notes on a yellow legal pad. She did noticeably flinch when a video was shown on Thursday of an angry Depp slamming cabinet doors in their kitchen. She was also clearly distressed when an audiotape was played during which she pleaded with Depp not to cut himself with a knife.

Heard’s attorneys have alleged that Depp would become a physically and sexually abusive “monster” when he was drunk or on illegal drugs and have questioned him extensivel­y about his substance use.

There have been enough references to celebritie­s during the trial’s first week to fill a tabloid.

The trial resumes on Monday. AFP

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