Transcript for Celebrity lawyer on the Depp-Heard trial
- Today marks day 20 of the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial. Just a quick refresher for anyone who may not have been watching, Depp has sued his ex-wife for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed that she wrote in the Washington Post. He claims the article, which did not name him, defamed him. Heard is countersuing Depp for $100 million. And joining us now to unpack the day's events and testimonies is celebrity divorce attorney Chris Melcher. Chris, thanks so much for joining us again. So first things first, Depp was supposed to take the stand today. He did not. What could have possibly caused that kind of shift in strategy?
- Well, Amber's side has limited time. The judge literally has a clock that's taken care or monitoring the time that each side is using, and the time is coming up to finish this trial. So calling Johnny Depp in Amber's case would have been a bad choice. There's really nothing he could say that would help her. So we're probably not going to see him take the stand in her case. They're going to decide and let us know first thing in the morning. But Johnny's side can call him as a witness, so I anticipate we'll see him back on the stand to finish off his case this week.
- And there's been tremendous backlash on social media for Amber Heard. How do you think that this might impact the willingness of victims of abuse to come forward in the future?
- Well, it's a real problem, because with the #MeToo movement, we're supposed to support and believe the victim, to encourage them to come forward in a very difficult thing to claim abuse. But it's Johnny's allegation that Amber has lied about her claims of abuse and has actually used the #MeToo movement to get support for these false claims. So if true, she's done tremendous damage to that movement.
But we're also seeing that we have to balance the need to protect the victim versus the need of due process for the accused. And unfortunately, there's been examples where we have made conclusions about people without the facts. So that's one thing we're learning from this case is we do need to step back, let the facts develop before we come to conclusions about people.
- And supermodel and Depp's ex-girlfriend Kate Moss is expected to testify virtually. One would assume that having an ex testify isn't the best idea. But what kind of benefit could her testimony bring to Depp?
CHRISTOPHER MELCHER: Well, Linsey, this came up because Amber Heard had claimed that she was trying to protect her sister Whitney when Amber punched Johnny in the staircase incident, and referencing something about Kate Moss, a prior girlfriend, that Amber alleges that Johnny tried to push down the stairs, and that's why she thought Johnny was going to push the sister down the stairs. Now, Johnny says that never happened and is apparently bringing in Kate Moss as a witness on Wednesday to testify that there was no incident where Johnny ever tried to push her down the stairs.
- And the judge had said that she would like this wrapped up by Memorial Day weekend. We always ask you this when you come on, so for the record, do you still think that Johnny Depp has the more compelling argument here?
- Yeah, Linsey, I think so because of the evidence. And that's where I'm basing my opinion or conclusions on is the trial testimony and the evidence that came in. There's a lot of inconsistency with Amber's statements. They just don't add up or make a lot of common sense to me. So of course, none of us were there, and the jury is going to have to determine in this he said/she said dispute what happened. But again, the recount of what Amber says, the evidence, it just does not add up, in my mind.
- Social media really seems to be playing more of a role when it comes to these celebrity court cases, whether it be Britney Spears or Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Do attorneys count on the support or plan for the fallout that their clients could receive once all is said and done?
- Well, Linsey, we have to. The traditional advice by lawyers is, don't say a word until you go to court. Well, court might take years. But we know that reputations can be damaged in moments on social media. So we're seeing a need to react quicker and get the statements out. Both sides have definitely been playing that game for a long time and pushing their narratives in social media.
But then we have these whole group of folks on social media who have dedicated a lot of time. And they're not necessarily fans of either side, they're more fans of justice. And they're going through the evidence and putting out their documents to show what really happened. I call that crowdsourcing of information. It's extremely powerful and useful to the attorneys on both sides.
- And lastly, does someone have a right-- you know, we're looking at this particular case involving Amber Heard. But to go on the record and say, I was abused, this is what the abuser did, but not name their abuser without the risk or penalty of then being sued, in this case, by an ex-husband?
- Well, Linsey, this is so hard because what we're seeing here is claims being made by both sides about statements that were made in the media. So Amber Heard made a statement, and Johnny says, that's defamatory, I'm suing you. And then Johnny's attorney comes out and says, Amber lied. Well, she's suing then for this statement about her lying. So at some point, you know, people need to recover from whatever happened and move forward.
And unfortunately, I mean, this was 2015, 2016, this couple divorced and got a settlement, and we're still hearing about in 2022. It's a total shame. But people do need to think about what they're saying in the public eye, and they need to be accountable for that, too.
- Chris Melcher, as always, we thank you so much for your time and expertise.
- Thanks, Linsey.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.