Depp sued Heard, his ex-wife, for alleged defamation over an op-ed she wrote in 2018 in The Washington Post, titled: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” While Depp was not named in the op-ed, he claims her allegations made it difficult for him to land movie roles.
Heard countersued her ex-husband, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment.”
Depp has asked for $50m in damages; Heard has asked for $100m and immunity against Depp’s claims.
The trial in Depp’s suit began on 11 April. The first four weeks of testimony have painted a harrowing portrait of the former couple’s tumultuous relationship as the jury heard testimony from both actors as well as a string of other people who knew them.
Heard testified on 4 and 5 May before the court entered a week-long break, with proceedings set to resume on 16 May.
Here’s a look at what comes next:
When will there be a verdict?
Before the court went dark on 5 May, Judge Penney Azcarate alerted jurors that closing arguments will take place on 27 May.
Before then, Heard’s team will finish presenting their defence before Depp’s team has a chance to offer a rebuttal.
Judge Azcarate indicated that jury deliberations will begin as soon as closing arguments are finished on 27 May.
It’s impossible to say how long it will take the jury to deliberate on Depp’s claims of defamation, especially given the mountain of evidence presented.
Longer court days ahead with proceedings starting at 9am
Since the start of the trial, the proceedings have begun at 10am US eastern time each day with a 15-minute break in the morning and a lunch lasting between one and two hours.
Following another 15-minute break in the afternoon, the trial usually adjourns for the day at around 5pm.
However Judge Azcarate has said that following the weeklong break, proceedings will begin every day at 9am eastern time and could run until 5.30pm on some days.
She cited the 27 May date of closing arguments as the reason for the longer days ahead.