Here’s How Johnny Depp’s Lawyer, Camille Vasquez, Just Made Partner

”If I can be an inspiration to young women that want to go to law school and study and work hard, then it was all worth it,” the newly minted legal star told ”Good Morning America”
127

Johnny Depp attorneys Ben Chew and Camille Vasquez were making a victory lap of the morning talk shows on Wednesday, hitting Good Morning America and Today, when a little news got out.

The SoCal-based Vasquez, 37—who became the star legal player of the courtroom drama despite being a mere associate at her law firm of Brown Rudnick—made partner yesterday, according to a statement from the firm. Meanwhile, Today‘s Savannah Guthrie told Vasquez, “I saw someone on social media get a tattoo of your face on your body, which is weird.”

“It’s been surreal, and if I’m honest, a bit overwhelming,” Vasquez told GMA‘s George Stephanopoulos of the newfound attention. “But if I can be an inspiration to young women that want to go to law school and study and work hard, then it was all worth it,” she said.

What’s this young legal eagle’s secret? Vasquez told GMA that something she “focused on in that cross-examination was using [Heard’s] words against her,” adding, “It was very important that every question that was asked was tied to something she had said previously.”

But Vasquez was being somewhat modest, for her methods were as cunning as they were brutal. Here are a few standouts:

1. Aggressive use of objections

While objecting to the way a question from opposing counsel is normal, Vasquez proved herself a true virtuoso of the courtroom objection, attempting shoot down what seemed like every query Amber Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, asked her client during direct examination, as well as during Heard’s answers, most often on grounds of “hearsay,” “lack of foundation,” “non-responsive,” and “speculation.” There’s even a YouTube video called “Camille Vasquez OBJECTION compilation part 1.”

2. The charity donation interrogation

It’s all in the details, not the public statements. When Amber Heard received her $7 million divorce settlement from Depp, she publicly pledged to donate half of it to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and half of it to ACLU. Heard preferred Depp to pay out her settlement directly to her, rather than have Depp make donations on her behalf.

“And that’s because you wanted the whole world to know that you were donating every penny of the $7 million divorce settlement, as soon as you received it,” Vasquez replied, her tone providing ample sarcasm.

But it didn’t work out that way, it was revealed under a tough grilling by Vasquez, who used the novel tools of facts and evidence to discredit Heard. Records showed that she had only donated some of the funds to the ACLU, although donations had been made in her name by Elon Musk. Altogether, $1.3 million had been donated in Heard’s name overall, with $350,000 directly from her, $100,000 from Depp (as part of their divorce settlement) and $500,000 from Musk.

Heard said she had to stop donations when Depp slapped her with his $50 million defamation lawsuit.

Heard testified, “I still fully intend on honoring all of my pledges. I would love him to stop suing me so I can.” That, apparently, was not a winning argument.

3. Calling Amber a liar to her face

Movie lawyers may call witnesses liars to their faces in open court, but it’s rare to catch one in real life since, when they do, it’s often considered out of order. But Vasquez did exactly that when cross-examining Heard, who had repeatedly denied leaking a video of a drunk and disorderly Depp trashing his kitchen to TMZ. “Another liar on the stand,” Vasquez said in response, sounding almost sad.

4. Withholding information

When Vasquez first asked Heard during cross-examination, “Johnny got you the part in Aquaman, didn’t he?” she sounded completely off-base, and Heard responded coldly that she had gotten the part “myself, by auditioning.” But Vasquez knew something we didn’t—and it was revealed later in Depp’s testimony.

That Heard had gotten her Aquaman role completely on her own was not exactly true, Depp said later in the proceedings. In fact, Aquaman was to film in Australia, and the studio had concerns because Heard had gotten in trouble there before—she was prosecuted in 2015 for sneaking her two teacup Yorkies into the country when Depp was filming Pirates of the Caribbean.

“[Heard] asked if I would speak to [the studio],” Depp testified, “so I made a phone call and spoke to three upper-echelon Warner Brothers executives—Kevin Tsujihara, Sue Kroll, Greg Silverman.” As a result, “I can only say that she ultimately got the job in the film. Hopefully, I had curbed their worries to some degree.”

Well-played, Camille.

5. Straight-up Baiting

While Depp has been praised post-trial for being honest about his problems with alcohol and drugs, Heard was also honest about her more casual use of drugs—often of substances like mushrooms or Ecstasy. Vasquez didn’t hesitate to, as she has said, use her words against her. “You like to use drugs on special occasions, don’t you?” she asked Heard, going on to reference all the times Heard admitted to using drugs, including on her 30th birthday at Coachella. Somehow, when Vasquez reiterated Heard’s admissions, they came across in a most unfavorable way.

6. The Closer

Closing arguments are one of the most important tools in a trial lawyer’s arsenal. During the closing arguments for Depp v. Heard, Vasquez went all-out. First, she appeared in court not in her usual dark-colored legal garb, but in a white dress, as if to underscore her client’s innocence. Then, she came down hard.

“There is an abuser in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp,” she said, going on to paint Heard as a liar and a manipulator, calling her a “deeply troubled person” and calling up the personality disorders she had been diagnosed with. Not only was Heard troubled, Vasquez said, but she was “incredibly aggressive, violent, and cruel.” She accused Heard of wanting to “ruin” Depp.

“Lies upon lies,” Vasquez said, noting, that Heard had given “the performance of her life” up on the stand. She used visual evidence to show a lack of marks or bruises on Heard’s person, telling the jury that the evidence and the dates Heard had given didn’t match up.

“Either she’s a victim of truly horrific abuse, or she’s a woman who’s willing to say absolutely anything,” Vasquez insisted.

When it came time for rebuttal arguments, Vasquez still had plenty left in the tank.

“She was either raped by a bottle,” Vasquez told the jury, “or she’s the sort of person who would get on the stand and lie about being raped.”


Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.