With Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard paused until next week, attention has shifted to the actor’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, and her flirtatious interactions with the disgraced movie star.
While in court, Vasquez has been seen hugging Depp and wild rumours started to circulate that the two were in fact dating with TMZ asking her pointedly if the pair were an item outside the courthouse this week.
“The people want to know, are you dating Johnny Depp? It’s all over the internet. Can you set the record straight, yes or no?” a reporter asked.
Vasquez laughed, but didn’t reply (for the record, the Daily Mail reports that she is dating a British realtor).
On Twitter, Depp supporters have rallied around Vasquez with people calling her a “Queen” and declaring, “WE LOVE YOU!!!”
But a body-language expert says Vasquez’s friendly interactions with Depp are designed to cast him as a “romantic hero.”
“It looks flirtatious but that’s probably the point,” expert Judi James told the Daily Mail this week. “If a picture paints a thousand words, these ‘words’ look straight out of the pages of (romance book publisher) Mills & Boon.”
A photo of Vasquez hugging Depp has helped validate his claim that it was Heard who was the abuser during their five-year relationship. “For Depp’s loyal fans, these dramatic rituals will seem like validation. ‘If this smart, beautiful woman thinks he is OK, then maybe he is’ will be the implied message,” James said.
“When someone is trying to clear their name in court the behaviour of their legal teams and the way they interact with them will send out very strongly influential non-verbal messages to a jury and, in a case this size, the rest of the world,” she added.
James compared Vasquez’s exit to a “Kardashian coming out of a nightclub.”
Vasquez vigorously cross-examined Heard earlier this week. During one viral moment, the attorney showed the jury a knife Heard had given Depp for his birthday that she had engraved with the words “till death” in Spanish. “That’s the knife you gave to the man who was hitting you? … This is the knife you gave to the man who would get drunk and violent with you?” Vasquez asked.
“I wasn’t worried he was going to stab me when I gave it to him that’s for certain,” Heard heatedly replied.
“But you gave it to him while he was abusing you, allegedly,” Vasquez fired back.
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Vasquez aimed to further cast doubt on Heard’s testimony when she brought up the couple’s 2015 fight in Australia during which the actress alleged that Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle and repeatedly struck her, pointing out “there is not a single medical record” to back up her claims.
The 37-year-old lawyer picked apart Heard’s accusations of violence and used photographic evidence from various red carpet premieres and photo shoots to prove that after those alleged incidents, she showed no signs of visible injuries.
Vasquez accused Heard of mocking Depp, when she played an audio clip of her saying, “Tell the world, tell them … I, Johnny Depp, a man, I am a victim too of domestic violence.”
Depp’s attorney also got Heard to admit that she hadn’t donated her $7 million divorce settlement to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union — as she had promised to do.
“I made the pledge, I want to be clear that I haven’t been able to fulfill the pledge because I’ve been sued,” Heard answered.
British TV host Piers Morgan shared the testy exchange between Vasquez and Heard on Twitter, writing, “If she’s lying about paying money to charity, why should we believe anything else she says?”
Depp, 58, is suing Heard for $50 million, saying she smeared him in a 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post when she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse.
Heard, 36, is countersuing for $100 million, claiming that Depp defamed her by calling her a liar.
When he took the stand last month, Depp was forced to admit his past drug use, but he alleged that Heard abused him and severed the tip of his finger.
“She has a need for violence. It erupts out of nowhere,” Depp said.
According to her bio, Vasquez is an attorney with the firm Brown Rudnick in Orange County, Calif., and specializes in “plaintiff-side defamation suits.”
“Camille is adept at formulating offensive and defensive litigation strategies for private clients,” her web page says.
Testimony is scheduled to resume Monday.