Watch CBS News

"We were really prepared": Meet the lawyers behind the Johnny Depp defamation trial

Meet the associates behind Johnny Depp trial
Attorney Camille Vasquez on Depp win: "I think the pressure of it all made us probably over-prepare" 08:34

The highly publicized defamation trial between actor Johnny Depp and actress Amber Heard was watched by millions, sending Depp's young legal team to the forefront of conversation. Despite the newfound fame, one of Depp's attorneys, Camille Vasquez, says she just wants to continue her practice as a lawyer. 

"When I look at myself in the mirror, I see an advocate," Vasquez told "CBS Mornings" co-host Gayle King during an exclusive interview. "I was born to do this. I really feel that way."

The 38-year-old attorney, who is a partner at the law firm Brown Rudnick's litigation and arbitration practice group, said she is "doing her best" at handling the recent attention, calling it "overwhelming and surreal."

"I've had so many pinch me moments," Vasquez said. 

Last month, a jury found Heard liable in a civil suit for defaming her ex-husband Depp in an op-ed published in The Washington Post. Depp was also found liable for a statement his attorney made to the Daily Mail calling her claims a hoax. Depp was awarded a total of $15 million in damages and Heard $2 million. Depp's $15 million judgment was reduced to $10.35 million because Virginia law caps punitive damages at $350,000.

Heard told a court last week that she will appeal the $10.35 million settlement she was ordered to pay her ex-husband. Depp's team also filed an appeal.

Johnny Depp's attorney discusses decision to file appeal in defamation case 02:16

The trial proceedings were televised despite pleas from Heard's legal team to exclude cameras from the courtroom. Vasquez told King that the cameras were "important to the client."

"For Johnny, it was about finally being able to tell his story," she said. "I think he came into this case thinking he had nothing else left to lose, Gayle, and I think for him, it was, he had to put it all out there."

The team behind Depp in the publicized case were all mostly under the age of 40, Vasquez said. She described the group as "young and strong" — qualities she says were necessary in terms of the case's success.

"They resonate with a younger audience and you need those perspectives," Vasquez said. "I think young people have a fresh perspective on especially these issues, the issues that we were discussing in this case: abuse, MeToo."

Jessica Meyers, 34, who executed the direct examination of Depp during the trial, echoed the sentiment saying that Depp's young legal team "was actually an asset." 

She said it was her first time doing a direct examination.

"There was a level of nerves," she told King. "I think I kept waiting for this overwhelming sense of nerves but I think, you know, once you get up there, it just feels kind of natural and you just do what you do."

Sam Moniz, 32, another lawyer at Brown Rudnick on Depp's case, said the team has "a lot of raw talent" and collaborated to tell Depp's side of what happened. 

"It was more of a gradual process of realizing that our story was coming in," Moniz said of his experience. "Things can go wrong at any moment and they never went wrong and we told the story we set out to tell."

Vasquez added that pressure surrounding the case "made us probably overprepare."

"We were really prepared and I think that can't be understated," she said.

CBS News has reached out to Heard and her legal team about the appeals. They said they're not commenting at this time.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.