Johnny Depp trial is driving a new online economy. This ex-LA prosecutor is all in

Anousha Sakoui, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

In 2021 she earned $270,000 from her YouTube channel, or about $22,500 a month from about a million views, more than she took home as a deputy district attorney, she says. As the trial reached its apex this week, the channel was estimated to generate up to $109,000 a month, according to Social Blade, which bases its estimate on advertising rates.

She makes money from ads that run her channel, merchandise, subscriptions to exclusive content, as well as super-chats or super-stickers (digital images that fans can pay to pop up in the live chat feed).

The most anyone has paid for a super-chat message is $400, she says.

"I didn't think people would be interested in hearing days of video depositions and expert testimony, and I was wrong," Baker says.

Depp sued his ex-wife for $50 million for allegedly defaming him in a Washington Post op-ed in 2018. Heard is countersuing Depp over comments from his then-attorney for calling her allegations of domestic abuse a hoax. The case is taking place in Virginia, where the Post's servers are hosted.

The case has been controversial and Heard in particular has become the target of online hate from those who question her domestic violence allegations against one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Baker wants to bring a more compassionate perspective.

"I hope that as a female attorney streamer that has worked in the criminal context, I can bring not just sensitivity to the topic but also asking the appropriate questions if the evidence doesn't match the testimony in the most compassionate way possible," Baker says. "There's just a way to have that conversation without being hateful."


Baker is in a message group with about 20 other LawTubers who all help one another navigate the new technologies they have to learn, she says. They also appear on one another's channels, often providing subscriber boosts.

Among other prominent LawTubers are Alina "Alyte" Mazeika, who runs the channel Legal Bytes and is a member of the California Bar and D.C. Bar; Nick Rekieta, a Minnesota lawyer whose channel Rekieta Law has 435,000 subscribers; Kentucky-based defense attorney Larry Forman, who has the channel name The DUI Guy+ on YouTube, and was among LawTubers who queued overnight to attend the trial in person. The case has been used by some attorneys to launch their online careers.

Virginia attorney Rob Moreton combined his passion for woodwork and law to create a video on his channel, Law & Lumber, that he titled "Woodworker Attorney DEBUNKS Amber Heard's 'Broken Bed' Testimony!" — a reference to Heard's allegation that Depp assaulted her on a bed, breaking its wooden frame. Depp has denied Heard's allegations of domestic abuse. The video has more than a million views.

On the internet, larger audiences bring more criticism. Baker says she has been called biased, accused of profiting off domestic violence, or told that she lacks professionalism with her purple hair and profanity. But she avoids exploitative coverage and has not monetized certain videos for ad revenue, she says. She hopes that she is bringing compassion to the topics she covers and that as LawTube has been boosted in recent weeks, viewers have a plethora of new options.

With the Depp-Heard fight concluding this week, Baker already has her eye on her next big case: the trial of "The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City" star Jennifer Shah, whom the U.S. government has charged with running a nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme. Shah has pleaded not guilty.

"Everyone has a different take and people get to look for the type of commentary and community that's a best fit for them." Baker says. "Choice is always a good thing."


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