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British Tabloid THE SUN Is Claiming That Johnny Depp’s Alleged “Misogyny” Is The Source Of Ex-Wife’s Abuse

LONDON (AP) — Lawyers began their closing arguments Monday at Johnny Depp’s libel case against a British tabloid that accused him of abusing ex-wife Amber Heard — a high-stakes celebrity trial in which the reputations of both former spouses are at stake.

Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the newspaper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, at the High Court in London over an April 2018 article, which called him a “wife-beater.” He strongly denied being violent to Heard.

Summing up for The Sun, lawyer Sasha Wass said the newspaper’s defense “is one of truth – namely that Mr. Depp did indeed beat his wife.” She said there was “overwhelming evidence of domestic violence or wife-beating behavior, cataloged over a three-year period.”

“There is no doubt that Mr. Depp regularly and systematically abused his wife,” Wass said in her closing argument. “The characterization that he is a wife beater is entirely truthful.”

Depp’s lawyers will present their closing arguments Tuesday. The case is due to end Tuesday, but judge Andrew Nicol is not expected to deliver his ruling for several weeks.

In her closing arguments, Wass said evidence was presented that Depp abused Heard during their relationship, committing acts of violence fueled by misogyny and unleashed by addiction to alcohol and drugs. She said Depp was “a hopeless addict who repeatedly lost his self-control and all ability to restrain his anger.”

“Permeating all of the evidence in this case is the character of Mr. Depp himself – his well-documented evidence of violence and destruction over his adult life which have occurred when he was under the influence of drink and drugs.”

The Sun’s defense relies on 14 allegations made by Heard of violence by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in settings including his private island in the Bahamas, a rented house in Australia – where Depp’s finger was severed in contested circumstances – and the couple’s downtown Los Angeles penthouse, which was trashed during the couple’s altercations.

Depp, who testified on the stand for almost five days, branded the allegations a “hoax” and claimed Heard was the aggressor during their volatile relationship, which he likened to “a crime scene waiting to happen.”

He acknowledged using a wide variety of drugs including marijuana, cocaine and opioid painkillers, but denied drugs made him violent.

Several current or former employees gave evidence backing his version of events, and former romantic partners Vanessa Paradis and Winona Ryder gave witness statements saying he had never been violent to them.

Wass said those witnesses were “tainted” because they relied on Depp for their livelihoods and had “come to court to lie for their boss.”

During four days in the witness box last week, Heard stood by her allegations, claiming Depp flew into jealous rages and became a “monster” under the influence of alcohol and drugs. She accused him of slapping and hitting her and throwing bottles at her “like grenades,” and claimed that she often feared for her life during their relationship.

Heard’s evidence was backed by witnesses including her sister Whitney Henriquez, who said she had seen Depp hit Heard “multiple times” during a fracas at the couple’s Los Angeles apartment in March 2015.

On Friday, Depp’s lawyers played a video, filmed years before Heard and Depp met, that showed a friend of Henriquez saying “I can’t believe Amber beat your ass.” Depp’s lawyers said that was evidence of Heard’s violence, but her sister said they had only had a verbal altercation.

In her summation, Wass said Depp and Heard were driven apart by “a clash of cultures and a clash of generations.”

“He created a misogynistic persona of (Heard) as the stereotype of a nagging woman,” Wass said. She said Depp branded Heard “a gold-digger, a shrew and an adulterer” in order to discredit her. He also used crass language about women in texts to friends that were read out in court – despite his stated aspiration to be a “Southern gentleman.”

She said Depp glamorized drug culture and had a “clique of aging male rabble-rousers,” but also aspired “to be the Southern gentleman with a young and beautiful wife.”

Wass said a Southern gentleman required “a supplicant wife” — and Heard, a quarter-century younger than Depp, was not prepared to fulfill that role.

“Ms. Heard tolerated the violence and the abuse because she loved Mr. Depp and she believed she was capable of getting him better,” the lawyer said, but her attempts to help Depp “banish his Monster” only triggered his resentment.

 

 

By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press

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