Serious Trouble
Serious Trouble
Serious Trouble, Episode 1: The Show, The January 6 Committee Hearings, And The Depp/Heard Trial

Serious Trouble, Episode 1: The Show, The January 6 Committee Hearings, And The Depp/Heard Trial

Josh and Ken are back to look at some news we missed.

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Dear readers,

Serious Trouble is not a Trump show — it’s a show about law. But the top legal story this week is about Trump, so that’s how we’re starting: with a discussion of the theory of Trump’s criminality advanced by the January 6 investigating committee.

What would it entail to prove in court that Donald Trump criminally sought to interfere with an official proceeding, and should the Justice Department try? What sort of criminal defense would Trump mount if it got to trial? Would Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani end up on the witness stand?

We also talked about how some of the witnesses in deposition videos presented by the committee seemed to be almost enjoying themselves, especially former Attorney General Bill Barr. Can a deposition be fun? Ken has some thoughts on why it can be a good strategy for lawyers to try to keep things feeling fun and light even when the matters at hand are deadly serious.

And we talked about our ambivalence at having missed the defamation lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard — arguably the most prominent defamation case in decades and also a huge, embarrassing mess. We’ve talked a lot over the years about how hard it is to prove defamation, especially against a public figure — so how did they both prevail on at least some of their claims? And what does the verdict mean for future defamation litigants?

We hope you enjoy the episode. If you have questions or responses, please share them in the comments section below, or you can email us at

And here are some links to documents and statutes we discussed on today’s show — you might find these useful as you listen. We’ll prepare a list like this for you to accompany every episode we release.

Depp v. Heard jury instructions
1.84MB ∙ PDF file
  • Here’s the SNL cold open about the Depp/Heard trial being “for fun”:

We’ll be back with another episode for you next week.

Very seriously,

Ken White, Josh Barro & Sara Fay

Serious Trouble
Serious Trouble
An irreverent podcast about the law from Josh Barro and Ken White.
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Josh Barro
Ken White