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Week-long hiatus at Depp, Heard-Party has disadvantages for both sides

Legal experts say Johnny Depp’s lawyers received a gift when his bombastic libel trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard was adjourned this week.

But some also noted that the break could give the Heards’ side a boost, as the jury will have several days to chew on their harrowing testimony.

Without immediate cross-examination to question her credibility, Heard’s story “remains marinating in her mind and perhaps solidifying that … this really happened and this is the truth,” said Sandra Radna, a family law and divorce attorney from New York, on Monday .

“Maybe it doesn’t matter what Johnny Depp’s team does after that, it can’t change them,” Radna said of the jury, “because now they’ve been sitting with this for a week.”

However, veteran trial counsel Jill Huntley Taylor said the loophole will give Depp’s attorneys “a lot of time” to think about Heard’s testimony and “plan their cross-examination of her really meticulously.”

“I think there’s a real strategic advantage to that,” Huntley Taylor told the Post.

Johnny Depp's legal team could benefit from the week-long hiatus in his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, legal experts say.
Johnny Depp’s legal team could benefit from the week-long hiatus in his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, legal experts say.
EPA/ELIZABETH FRANTZ/POOL

The trial was adjourned on May 5, after Heard’s second day on the witness stand, as she described some of the extreme abuse she allegedly suffered at Depp’s hands.

Her testimony will continue on May 16 when Judge Penney Azcarate returns from a pre-scheduled conference.

In the meantime, Depp’s attorneys can spend the week “finding things to ask that would discredit her testimony,” said California entertainment attorney Mitra Ahouraian.

“Johnny’s team will make a switch based on what they heard in her statement,” Ahouraian told The Post.

Depp's lawyers have extra time to plan their cross-examination of Heard, according to an expert.
Depp’s lawyers have extra time to plan their cross-examination of Heard, according to an expert.
Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via REUTERS

A source close to Depp told The Post that his lawyers “definitely see it as an advantage to have a week and a half to prepare for cross-examination and to analyze Ms Heard’s testimony so far under direct examination.”

However, the stars’ attorney, Jeffrey Movit of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, said that a legal team “generally wants to present their entire case without interruption, rather than have it chopped up and divided and spread out over time.”

“While the jury has time to consider Ms. Heard’s testimony, they may forget parts of it,” Movit noted. “Furthermore, her testimony will be clearly separated in time from that of the other witnesses in support of her case.”

The break could also benefit Heard's team as their story is now "Marinating in their minds" of the jury, claimed another expert.
The break could also benefit Heard’s team, as her story is now “marinating” in the jury’s mind, another expert claimed.
EPA/JIM LO SCALZO/POOL

Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post, in which she described herself as “a public figure who depicts domestic violence.” .

The Pirates of the Caribbean star wasn’t named in the play, but he says it still ruined his reputation, damaged his career and cost him tens of millions of dollars in work.

Heard’s attorneys are not allowed to consult with the actress this week because she is still on the witness stand, in what Huntley Taylor, the trial counsel, described as “a challenge for her and for her.”

Heard will testify further on May 16 when the trial resumes.
Heard will testify further on May 16 when the trial resumes.
EPA/JIM LO SCALZO/POOL

The jury, which is not seized, is also at risk of hearing about the case on its week off given the amount of attention it receives, the experts warned.

Bottom line, Radna said, “You never know what’s going through a jury’s mind.”

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Rosner.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/09/week-long-break-in-depp-heard-party-has-drawbacks-for-both-sides/ Week-long hiatus at Depp, Heard-Party has disadvantages for both sides

JACLYN DIAZ

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