Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez Gains Iconic Status After Grilling Amber Heard

“Be a Camille Vasquez in a world of Amber Heards.”

It’s just one of an avalanche of social media posts this week praising the attorney as she questioned Amber Heard in the Virginia civil defamation trial in which the actress faced ex-husband Johnny Depp.

After spending several days on the stand making troubling allegations of sexual and physical violence against Depp, Heard faced a counterattack from Vasquez on Monday and Tuesday. And the attorney maintained a long tradition of defense attorneys throwing the kitchen sink at women who accuse men of molesting them.

Among other things, Vasquez accused Heard of making allegations of sexual assault, editing a photo of herself with a red spot on her face in May 2016, being “jealous” of Depp and verbally abusing her ex-husband on multiple occasions. The cross-examination was punctuated by several tense moments between Vasquez and Heard: angry jokes from both women, objections from the actress’ legal team, and at least two long flings between attorneys from both camps and the judge.

But even more remarkable than the court drama: the personality cult that Depp fans built around Vasquez in a few hours.

“Does the courthouse have a coroner on site? Because they’re going to need one when our Queen Camille Vasquez is done with Amber Heard and her career [sic] Praise will be the queen,” said a viewer of the trial on Twitter.

Another Dork fanatic took the time to photograph Vasquez’s face on what appeared to be a medieval warrior, with a gavel and scales of justice behind her. Next to the photo was the sentence: “Camille the Great”.

That Depp fans are a force to be reckoned with was a hallmark of the trial, with his supporters praising the actor and ridiculing every move made by Heard and her legal team. But the women who defend famous men accused of sexual misconduct and abuse tend to get trashed online.

These men weren’t Johnny Depp.

“Johnny Depp is winning on social media — so his attorney is doing the same,” Juda Engelmayer, a crisis communications expert who was Harvey Weinstein’s spokesman during his New York sex crimes trial, told The Daily Beast. “In the past, women who have defended men accused of sex crimes have faced online hate. But Camille Vasquez seems to have benefited from Johnny’s praise.”

Vasquez did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Heard declined to comment.

As for Depp Stans, the actor has already won his $50 million defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife, accusing Heard of “devastating” his career with a 2018 Washington Post op ed. In the piece, which didn’t mention Depp’s name but came two years after she filed for a restraining order against him, Heard identified herself as a domestic violence survivor. Heard is suing Depp for $100 million and alleging defamation after at least one of his ex-lawyers claimed her report of a pattern of abuse was a “hoax”.

Depp has not been charged with any sex crimes and has even said that he himself is the true survivor of Heard’s domestic violence.

With 11.9 billion views (and counting) on ​​TikTok under the hashtag #justiceforjohnnydepp, Depp fans didn’t hold back tearing at Heard during her first statement on the stand. That dynamic unfolded in the courtroom on Tuesday.

“There’s an ongoing smear campaign, an orchestrated smear campaign,” Heard told Vasquez.

“An ongoing negative publicity campaign? You have no evidence of that,” Vasquez shot back, to which Heard replied, “Just look for me, you’ll see.”

The memification — Depp as a hero, Heard as a strident liar — has extended to Vasquez, whose name has become a hashtag amassing 221.2 million views on TikTok. Videos there praised her for “grilling” Heard during two days of cross-examination by cutting out snippets of the live-streaming process.

“Camille Vasquez [sic] an angel sent from above to fight evil. Brilliant today, can’t wait for tomorrow,” one Instagram commenter wrote on Monday.

Depp fans’ fascination with the Los Angeles-based attorney predated her cross-examination of Heard. But after Heard stepped down from the stands Tuesday afternoon, Vasquez was seen laughing and hugging Depp and a fellow attorney in a state that could best be described as jovial.

Depp fans went into overdrive.

“That hug! You guys know that Camille Vasquez really cares about Johnny,” one Twitter user said after the incident.

Men accused of sexual assault or sexual harassment have long tended to bring a female attorney into their legal team to interact with alleged victims. But Engelmayer said he was struck by the relative absence of traditional calls to believe women, which became standard practice with the #MeToo movement.

“At the end of the day, it’s about kindness,” he said. “People always want to love Johnny Depp. He’s been there for 35 years. If he supports someone, these people want to support him.”

Halim Dhanidina, a criminal defense attorney and former California judge, warned that the online fascination with Vasquez speaks to the theatrical nature of this trial – and not necessarily to the intentions of the people deciding the case.

Brendan Smialowski/Pool/AFP via Getty

“It’s hard to tell if the public reaction online is the same as that of the individual jurors,” Dhanidina told The Daily Beast.

At least one defender couldn’t help but note the contrast to her own experience.

Donna Rotunno, who represented Weinstein in his 2020 sex crimes trial in Manhattan, has come under scrutiny for her decision to represent the disgraced movie mogul.

She conceded the key difference: Depp is not charged, much less the pattern of serial robberies Weinstein was trying to disprove. Still, the Chicago-based attorney called it “utter and utter hypocrisy” that Vasquez was admired for her litigation skills while being condemned as “too harsh.”

“People are so willing to hop on a bandwagon because people don’t worry about being canceled for it,” she told The Daily Beast.

And even if the social media star doesn’t ultimately impact the jury for Depp’s team, it could well impact Heard and her own legal team, suggested Dhanidina, the former judge.

“It’s an uphill battle for Amber Heard because the public doesn’t like her – and even likes Johnny Depp’s attorney more,” he said. “That must be messing with your head a bit.” Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez Gains Iconic Status After Grilling Amber Heard


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