Johnny Depp could lose libel case even if Amber Heard fails on the stand, legal experts say

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Actress Amber HeardLast week’s “performance” at the helm – as Johnny Depp’s legal team called it – was widely criticised. But that might not be enough to give her ex-husband Depp a victory in his defamation lawsuit against her, experts told Fox News Digital.

Trial consultant and body language expert Susan Constantine analyzed Heard’s turn on the witness stand and gave him a credibility boost.

“She’s not truthful and most of what she says is a lie,” Constantine said in her estimate.

“It’s so bad acting, I don’t know how she’s going to get a movie role after this.”

“It’s so bad acting, I don’t know how she’s going to get a movie role after this,” said trial consultant and body language expert Susan Constantine.

Amber Heard testifying on May 5, 2022 against her ex-husband Johnny Depp.
(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via Reuters)

Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post identifying herself as “a public figure representing domestic violence.”

Although the piece doesn’t refer to Depp by name, he claims it destroyed his career and turned him into a Hollywood pariah.


Heard is counter-suing for $100 million, accusing Depp and his former attorney of conspiring to defame her by calling her abuse allegations a “hoax.”

Heard spent two days on the stand last week recounting alleged acts of verbal, physical and sexual abuse by Depp which she says left her with a broken nose, black eyes and bruises.

Amber Heard testifies on May 4, 2022 in Johnny Depp's defamation lawsuit against her.

Amber Heard testifies on May 4, 2022 in Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against her.
(Elizabeth Frantz/Pool/Reuters)

In excruciating detail, Heard described how Depp allegedly raped her with a bottle of Maker’s Mark in a drug-fueled rage during a trip to Australia in March 2015.

But many critics called her tearless sob and melodramatic tone inauthentic.

Heard’s facial expressions and body movements are incongruous and so exaggerated that they are “out of balance,” Constantine said. She added that the ‘Aquaman’ star recounts too many superfluous details that trauma victims wouldn’t usually remember, especially six or more years after the fact.


“Liars give you too much information,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean everything Heard said isn’t true, Constantine noted.

“I think when she described the headbutt she was telling the truth,” she said, referring to Heard’s allegation that Depp threw her head and choked her unconscious during of an argument in 2015 in their penthouse.

Photos of evidence showing injuries sustained by Johnny Depp after his ex-wife Amber Heard allegedly punched him in the face in March 2015.

Photos of evidence showing injuries sustained by Johnny Depp after his ex-wife Amber Heard allegedly punched him in the face in March 2015.
(Photos of proof)

“I think he was verbally degrading at times,” she added.

First Amendment attorney George Freeman, director of the Media Law Resource Center, said Depp had a steep climb to win the case. The ‘Black Mass’ actor not only has to prove Heard’s statements are false, but that she knew they were false when she made them, Freeman said.

“When a public figure sues, it’s much harder to win,” said First Amendment attorney George Freeman.

He must also convince the jury that his accusations have in fact damaged his reputation.

“When a public figure is suing, it’s a lot harder to win,” Freeman explained. “He has to prove what was going on in her head, that she knew she was lying.”

Photos of evidence showing Amber Heard with a black eye, a suspected broken nose and a tuft of hair on the floor.

Photos of evidence showing Amber Heard with a black eye, a suspected broken nose and a tuft of hair on the floor.
(Photos of proof)

A private person need only prove negligence or recklessness to prevail in a defamation case.

Heard’s lawyer, Ben Rottenborn, argued that Depp also had to prove that Heard was actually referring to him in the op-ed. If he does, the jury need only find that Depp verbally assaulted Heard once for him to lose his libel suit, the attorney said.

But civil and matrimonial lawyer Marilyn Chinitz disagreed, retorting that the op-ed clearly referred to Depp and a domestic violence complaint heard publicly against him two years prior.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in court.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in court.
(Evelyn Hockstein/Pool via AP)

The ‘London Fields’ star, with bruises on his face and paparazzi, went to a Los Angeles courthouse to seek a restraining order against Depp in May 2016, accusing him of punching her in the face. the eye with a mobile phone.

“It’s a clear line to say that Depp physically assaulted her even though she didn’t use her name,” she said.

Chinitz added that the case will come down to Heard’s cross-examination and whether Depp’s legal team can undermine it to the point that the jury won’t credit any part of his testimony.

The trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia passed away this week for a pre-scheduled break but will resume on Monday with Heard back on the witness stand. Once his testimony is complete, his lawyers plan to recall Depp to the stand along with his ex-girlfriend, Ellen Barkin, and Amber’s sister, Whitney Heard, but not necessarily in that order, according to a source close to his team. .

Both sides accused each other of physical and verbal abuse and presented witnesses, audio recordings and photographs that bolstered their respective claims.

Actor Johnny Depp and wife Amber Heard attend the film's red carpet event

Actor Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard attend the red carpet event for the movie ‘Black Mass’ at the 72nd Venice Film Festival in northern Italy on September 4, 2015.
(Manuel Silvestri via Reuters)

Depp, who called Heard the abuser in their relationship, testified that she threw a bottle of vodka at him, severing the tip of his finger in an infamous explosion in Australia in 2015.

“I think they both damaged each other in this lawsuit,” said Chinitz, who represented Tom Cruise and Michael Douglas in their respective divorces. “You don’t get a favorable feeling about any of them.”

Heard’s countersuit, alleging Depp defamed her by calling her abuse claim a hoax, suffers similar hurdles, criminal and civil attorney Mark Bederow said.


Heard’s team must prove that Depp, and not his lawyer, was in fact behind the derogatory comment.

“But even if one party wins, it will be a Pyrrhic victory,” Bederow told Fox News Digital. “Both of their reputations have been badly damaged in the public arena.

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