Spectators were quick to voice their amusement when a loud siren they believed to be an Amber Alert disrupted closing arguments in the defamation trial between actor Johnny Depp and his former spouse, actress Amber Heard.
Friday brought about the end of the six-week trial, rooted in a $50 million defamation suit filed by Depp claiming that a 2018 op-ed — written by Heard on the topic of domestic violence and her alleged experience as a victim — had damaged his career and reputation. Heard countersued for $100 million, arguing that she had not mentioned Depp by name in the article and that he was smearing her by claiming she had been violent with him.
But as Heard attorney Ben Rottenborn attempted to tie the actress’ case into a neat bow, loud alerts began to go off on mobile phones around the courtroom.
“There appears to be an Amber Alert,” Judge Penney Azcarate explained as the alarms continued to go off, attributing the sounds to the statewide alerts that go out when a child has been reported missing. “People are getting it on their phones that haven’t silenced them.”
“Amber Alert. There is an amber alert going off in the court during Amber Heard’s closing. You can hear all the alerts going off while Rottenborn is trying to figure out what is happening. An Amber Alert…during her closing….. I can’t,” legal commentator Emily Baker replied, adding the hashtag: #JohnnyDeppAmberHeardTrial.
“So the whole court room has their phones going off with this alarm and the judge announces: it’s just an Amber alert. You can’t make this sh** up. Whether it was or not doesn’t really matter,” another tweeted.
Patrick Bet-David added, “‘There appears to be an Amber alert’ during Amber’s attorneys closing argument. Very strange timing!”
“Too bad someone couldn’t go back in time and give Johnny Depp an Amber Alert,” @thatumbrellaguy tweeted.
“The fact an ‘Amber Alert’ kept going off, interrupting during Rottenborn closing statement ….Is somehow Poetic Justice,” @tokyodiiva said. “The best director in Hollywood can’t write this sh**.”
Law & Crime Network later clarified the situation by explaining that while the judge had initially believed the alarm to be an Amber Alert, it had in fact been a storm warning for Fairfax, Virginia, and the surrounding area.
“Courtroom moment,” @LawCrimeNetwork’s tweet read. “An alert that was mentioned as an ‘AMBER Alert’ while #AmberHeard’s attorney delivered closing arguments was actually a storm warning.”
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) May 27, 2022