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Devil’s Advocate: Meet The French Lawyer Who Defended The Worst 20th Century Rogues

Jacques Vergès took on the cases of Klaus Barbie, Carlos the Jackal and Slobodan Milosovic. Now, he makes the case for himself.

Jacques Verges (dalbera)
Jacques Verges (dalbera)
Jean-Gabriel Fredet

PARIS - "She would say to me: ‘You are as cold and dangerous as this snake,"" Jacques Vergès recalls, proudly pointing to the rattlesnake-shaped, crystal lamp adorning his desk. "It is a gift from Cheyenne Brando. She was fond of me, but she also feared me." Vergès recounts how Marlon (Brando) asked him to defend his daughter, Cheyenne, after her half-brother killed her lover. "She eventually killed herself," Vergès says curtly.

France's most controversial lawyer loves being provocative. He revels in his ambiguous reputation of a lawyer for terrorists, and the label of an "enlightened bastard." Every time the role of fascinating monster gets too heavy for him to bear, the man who worked on behalf of the Algerian National Liberation Front, Klaus Barbie and a number of Cambodian dictators transforms himself into a "Serial Defender." For the past month, Vergès has been performing a play about his life to remind people that "I can sometimes be a different person", and to say that for him defending people is a way of life. His empathy will always allow him to understand the silence of an assassin, of his fellow creature, of his brother.

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Ideas

Yes, Her Too: A Feminist Reading Of The Depp Vs. Heard Case

The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation suit has become a Hollywood media (sh*t) storm, but there are troubling real consequences in the way domestic violence is being portrayed, when the victim is less-than-perfect.

Fans welcome Johnny Depp with "Justice For Johnny" signs at the defamation trial against Amber Heard.

Catalina Ruiz-Navarro*

First the background: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met in 2012. They started a relationship when Depp was still with Vanessa Paradis, and eventually married in 2015. Fifteen months later, Heard filed for divorce, accusing Depp of domestic violence and asking for a restraining order.

In the lawsuit, Heard said, ”I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.” They then made a million-dollar settlement, and soon after, Heard asked for the restraining order to be dropped.

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