Johnny Depp lawyers dismissed Heard case as ‘not Cosby or Weinstein’, new documentary reveals

Behind-the-scenes footage of Johnny Depp’s legal team has captured his attorneys arguing that his defamation case with Amber Heard is “not MeToo” and that the Pirates of the Caribbean star is “not like Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein”.

“This isn’t like Bill Cosby. This isn’t like Harvey Weinstein,” says Mr Depp’s attorney Benjamin Chew.

“We make that point strongly as – in every other case – once you have a credible accusation, you have dozens more.”

Filmmakers were given closed-door access to Mr Depp’s legal team during his high-profile defamation trial with ex-wife Ms Heard, for the new Discovery+ documentay Johnny vs Amber: The US Trial.

The series, released on 20 September, features two episodes: the first showing Mr Depp’s side of the story and the second showing Ms Heard’s. The Aquaman actor’s team did not grant access to the documentary-makers, with her story instead being told by commentators and experts.

In an advance screening of the first episode, seen by The Independent, Mr Depp’s attorneys are seen repeatedly insisting that the case is “not MeToo” and that Ms Heard “lied” about being a victim of domestic abuse as they plan their courtroom strategy.

As the team is driving in a car to the courthouse, attorney Camille Vasquez tells the camera that there needs to be “due process” along with the need to believe victims who come forward with accusations.

“Yeah there’s the MeToo movement, yes you should believe victims that come forward but there also needs to be due process,” she says.

“There needs to be an investigation before we cancel someone and ruin somebody’s life as that’s not fair.”

Later in the episode, Ms Vasquez – who accrued a bizarre online fandom during the trial – is heard questioning whether the case would have even reached court if the gender roles had been reversed.

The legal team discusses audio recordings played in court of the former couple arguing.

In one of the clips, Ms Heard is heard admitting that she was “hitting” Mr Depp as she calls him “a baby”.

“You didn’t get punched; you got hit. I’m sorry I hit you like this, but I did not punch you,” she says in the clip.

“I did not punch you. I was hitting you… I’m not sitting here bitching about it, am I? You are. That’s the difference between me and you. You’re a f***ing baby. You are such a baby. Grow the f*** up, Johnny.”

Camille Vasquez and Johnny Depp embrace in the courtroom (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Camille Vasquez and Johnny Depp embrace in the courtroom (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“Imagine if it was Johnny Depp saying to Amber Heard ‘I’m not punching you, I’m hitting you’,” says Ms Vasquez to her team in the documentary.

“‘Grow up, Amber. Stop being such a baby.’ Guess what? We wouldn’t be here right now if it was a man saying that to a woman.”

She adds: “We wouldn’t be here. This wouldn’t be a case if we had those tapes and the roles were reversed.”

The team discusses that this was an issue that “resonated” with Mr Depp, as Jessica Meyers – another member of his legal team – says: “And now she’s claiming to be a public figure representing domestic abuse.”

Mr Chew fires back at the suggestion: “Give me a break.”

Ms Vasquez told the filmmakers that the team decided to use the audio recordings in court so that Ms Heard would be “the one who really exposed who she was”.

Throughout the episode it becomes clear that Mr Depp’s attorneys believe the argument they presented in the courtroom – that he was the victim of Ms Heard’s abuse and had been falsely accused by her.

At one point, Ms Vasquez refers to Ms Heard as the “particular person [who] lied about abuse and was abusive towards Johnny Depp” and says that they plan to find the “big lies to use her words against her”.

Both Ms Heard and Mr Depp have accused each other of being abusive – and have each denied abusing the other.

As the lawyers prepare for closing arguments, Ms Meyers says to her teammates that no other women “came out of the woodwork” to accuse the Hollywood star of abuse.

“The op-ed was published in the context of the MeToo movement and it’s always struck me that this is a woman who stood up as part of the MeToo movement and said this man abused me,” said Ms Meyers.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard pictured at their defamation trial (Copyright The Associated Press All rights Reserved 2022)
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard pictured at their defamation trial (Copyright The Associated Press All rights Reserved 2022)

“There are no MeToos. There are no other women that said ‘yes he also abused me.’ It’s not like other women came out of the woodwork.”

The new series comes as the legal battle between the two stars continues to rumble on, as they both filed appeals against the verdict in their high-stakes trial.

Mr Depp sued his ex-wife for defamation over a 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post where she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse and spoke of feeling “the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out”.

During the televised trial in Fairfax, Virginia, both Mr Depp and Ms Heard took the stand and accused one another of physical abuse.

One of the most damning accusations came when Ms Heard described in graphic detail how Mr Depp allegedly raped her with a liquor bottle in Australia in 2015. Mr Depp, meanwhile, accused his ex-wife of severing the top of his finger after she threw a liquor bottle at him.

In June, a jury of seven sided with Mr Depp and determined that Ms Heard had defamed him on all three counts.

Jurors awarded Mr Depp $10m in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages, before Fairfax County Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the latter to the state’s legal limit of $350,000.

Ms Heard won one of her three counterclaims against her ex-husband, with the jury finding that Mr Depp – via his lawyer Adam Waldman – defamed her by branding her allegations about a 2016 incident “an ambush, a hoax”. She was awarded $2m in compensatory damages but $0 in punitive damages, leaving the Aquaman actor $8.35m out of pocket.