Jury goes home for second day; Depp remains in U.K. for concerts


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Some of Johnny Depp’s fans remain committed to staying at the Fairfax County Courthouse, even when the actor is across the globe.

On Tuesday night, Depp played his third U.K. concert with Jeff Beck, whom he started appearing with at shows over the weekend. Meanwhile, the jury resumed deliberations in his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard; though after about seven hours they went home and will resume their work Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Even though Depp was nowhere in sight, some of his loyalists — who have been a fervent presence throughout the lengthy trial — showed up early in the morning to wait in line to get in the courtroom, knowing there was little chance they would see the actor in person.

“Johnny’s not here, so a lot of people are like, ‘meh,’” said Francesca Shanks of Luray, Va., who settled in with a book outside the courtroom. “I’m here to support him and hope he gets the verdict he deserves.”

Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million for defamation after she wrote a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post that referred to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. Heard countersued Depp (who denied all allegations of abuse) for $100 million for defamation after his attorney called her claims a hoax.

Depp’s daily appearance in the courthouse has led to a circus outside of it. While the scene quieted a significant amount on Tuesday, the frenzy didn’t disappear completely. A gigantic “Pirates of the Caribbean” pirate ship appeared on the street, and dozens of news cameras lined up outside. Court TV and Law & Crime started “verdict watch” on their respective streams. Someone set up a cluster of microphones in front of the courthouse in case the verdict is reached, and the attorneys want to have a news conference.

A handful of fans and curious observers sat in the hallway outside courtroom 5J, where the seven-week trial has been taking place, and compared notes on what they knew about Depp’s status. When Depp’s legal team walked by, one reporter asked whether the actor was still in the country, and attorney Camille Vasquez replied he was not.

Another fan reported that Vasquez told them earlier that the actor “might” return Wednesday if deliberations continued.

Depp’s representative did not return a request for comment on whether he will return for the verdict; Heard’s representative declined to comment on the record whether the actress will be in attendance.

Jhoane Garcia of Fairfax lives nearby, and has shown up frequently throughout the trial, and waved to Depp’s attorneys as they walked by. Lately, she said, she has found herself as drawn to the actor’s legal team as to Depp himself. “I’m going to stay here only because I wanted to say hello — they’re going to leave after the verdict,” she said. “And I just wanted to say goodbye.”

Fans debated whether they would commit to spending Wednesday at the courthouse. At least one had to work, but another admitted she always tells herself she won’t come back, and then winds up returning anyway.

Shanks, who said she slept in her van overnight to guarantee entry to the courtroom, was just glad she was there for one more day to support Depp, whether he was in attendance or not. She said the trial had solidified her view that Depp, despite being a celebrity, is just a regular person who goes through hard times: “He still seems like he’s one of us.” Evidence such as his vulgar text messages did nothing to change her view, she said.

There was only one break in deliberations during the day, when the jurors asked whether a question on the verdict form was about the op-ed’s headline (“Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”) or the entire op-ed. The judge clarified that it was specifically about the headline.





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