Johnny Depp, Amber Heard: a decision that could turn against him during a legal battle

Amber Heard’s legal team may be planning for Johnny Depp to return to the helm, but experts say there’s a reason that could work against her.

Amber Heard recalling Johnny Depp to the stand could be a ‘risk’, in part because of his sympathy when he first testified in the defamation lawsuit he filed against his ex-wife, sources have said. legal experts.

Sources close to Heard said The post office last week that his legal team could ask Depp to testify again as they argued alongside him in the ongoing court battle in Fairfax, Va.

But such a plan could backfire, as the actor, who had already been on the witness stand for four days, came across as credible and sympathetic to the jury, experts said. Giving him a second round at the helm could unintentionally hurt Heard’s case.

“There’s a risk he’ll spend more time being sympathetic on the stand,” civil attorney Katherine Lizardo said, “when it’s actually time for Amber Heard to present her case.”

Seattle defamation attorney Bruce Johnson agreed that Depp’s apparent sympathy could be a problem for Heard.

“It’s a huge risk if he’s a good witness and he’s going to perform well again,” Mr Johnson said. The post office.

Halim Dhanidina, a criminal defense attorney and former California judge, said Depp’s “very unique personality” likely led him to appeal to the jury the first time around.

“He didn’t really strike me as someone who was roleplaying or fabricating,” he said. “The jury is going to want to know if they can rely on testimony not based on the intelligence of the witness, but on his sincerity.”

Depp, 58, is suing his 36-year-old ex-wife for $50m (A$70m), accusing her of defaming him when she called herself a ‘public figure representing domestic violence’ in a 2018 Washington Post editorial.

Heard filed a $100m (A$134m) countersuit, claiming it was Depp who defamed her by accusing her of lying about the alleged abuse.

His side are now presenting their case, concluding Heard’s fourth day on the stand on Tuesday, and continuing to call witnesses until closing arguments, scheduled for May 27.

“Right now, we’re hearing Amber Heard’s side of the story,” Ms. Lizardo said.

“Calling on your opponent to speak on your behalf seems counter-intuitive.”

Mr Dhanidina noted that Depp could try to get the “advantage” if he had the chance to address the jury again.

“If he landed with the jury and if the jury likes him, then more time before the jury is good for him,” he said. “Maybe it’s something that [Heard] does it out of necessity but [Depp] himself can benefit from it.

Jurors, however, would not receive an explanation as to why Depp is back on the stand, which could “confuse them”, Ms Lizardo added.

“Most of the time when you’re cross-examining it comes across as hostile,” she said. “A jury might think, ‘OK, he’s back on the stand. Are they harassing him again?

Libel barrister Mr Johnson also said Heard’s team needed to consider whether calling Depp again would attract the jury’s attention, as some jurors were reportedly spotted falling asleep while as the trial extends into its fifth week.

“You’re putting on a performance for a jury and you don’t want to drag it out too long,” Mr Johnson said. “In any long trial, that’s a consideration.”

Some of the pundits, however, said Heard’s legal team could try to get the better of Depp if they put him back on the stand.

“I would suspect they would want to cut [Depp] at the waist,” Virginia libel attorney Jeremiah Denton said. The post office.

“He behaved reasonably well in his first appearance at the helm, so I guess they feel they must necessarily attack his credibility – it could be his memory, his veracity [or] covering something that hasn’t been covered,” Denton said.

Dhanidina said Heard’s lawyers might be able to surprise Depp with their questions, as they “will likely have new topics and new areas to cover,” including topics they weren’t authorized to discuss. question the first time.

But the more time Depp has on the stand, the more opportunity he has to slip up and contradict something he has said previously, the experts all agreed.

“The more a witness talks, the more likely they are to say things that could be easily contradicted,” Mr Johnson said. “Even if they try to be honest, we all have memory lapses.”

Mr Dhanidina said he could not predict which side would benefit the most from Depp’s second stint at the helm, but if it happened it would certainly grab the attention of the world.

“Buckle up, because this is going to get really, really interesting,” he said.

“Any time you have a party questioned by the other side, it can be very, very difficult to predict who is going to win and whether it looks like a chess match or a knockdown fight,” Mr Dhanidina said. . “And we don’t really know what we’re going to get.”

Representatives for Depp and Heard both declined to comment.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been reproduced with permission

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