Amber Heard says she doesn't blame jury in Depp libel case
Amber Heard says she doesn't blame the jury that awarded Johnny Depp more than $10 million after a contentious six-week libel trial in her first post-verdict interview. “I don’t blame them," Heard told “Today” co-host Savannah Guthrie in an interview clip aired Monday on NBC. "I actually understand. He’s a beloved character and people feel they know him. He’s a fantastic actor.” “Today” plans to air more of its interview with Heard on Tuesday and Wednesday. The interview is airing nearly two weeks after the verdict, which also saw Heard awarded $2 million over her claim that one of Depp's attorneys defamed her. Also read: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: Uphill battle to rebuild images Depp sued Heard for libel in Virginia over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers said he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name. The verdicts brought an end to a televised trial that Depp hopes will help restore his reputation, though it turned into a spectacle that offered a window into a volatile marriage and both actors emerged with unclear prospects for their careers. Guthrie pressed Heard on her credibility and what it meant to jurors in the clips released Monday. “There’s no polite way to say it. The jury looked at the evidence you presented. They listened to your testimony and they did not believe you," she said. "They thought you were lying.” Heard responded, “How could they not come to that conclusion? They had sat in those seats and heard over three weeks of non-stop, relentless testimony from paid employees” and witnesses the actor described as “randos” or random people. Depp, who has not yet done a formal interview about the case, has said the verdict “gave me my life back." Heard said in a statement after the verdict that she was heartbroken, while her attorney said in a separate “Today” interview that her client was “demonized” on social media and she plans to appeal the judgment. “I don’t care what one thinks about me or what judgments you want to make about what happened in the privacy of my own home, in my marriage, behind closed doors. I don’t presume the average person should know those things, and so I don’t take it personally,” Heard told Guthrie. Also read: Depp and Heard face uncertain career prospects after trial “You still couldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation. You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair,” Heard said. The Heard interview will also be featured in Friday's “Dateline” episode.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: Uphill battle to rebuild images
After an explosive six-week libel trial followed by millions on social media and live TV, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard each face an uphill battle: trying to rebuild their images and careers. Depp already has a head start, with a jury verdict Wednesday largely favoring his narrative, that his ex-wife defamed him by accusing him of abusing her. “Depp has a hill to climb. Heard has a mountain to climb,” said Eric Dezenhall, a crisis mitigator in Washington with no involvement in the case. “If Depp keeps his expectations proportional and understands that he’s unlikely to hit his former heights, he can have a solid career if he takes things slowly. After all, he was vindicated in court, not declared a saint.” The challenge for Heard, Dezenhall said, is that rightly or wrongly, some believe she abused and perhaps even tarnished a worthy movement, #MeToo. With a he said-she said edge to the drawn-out trial, the verdict handed down in Fairfax County, Virginia, found that Depp had been defamed by three statements in a 2018 op-ed piece written by Heard, who identified herself as an abuse victim. The jury awarded the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star more than $10 million. Jurors also concluded Heard was defamed, by a lawyer for Depp who accused her of creating a hoax surrounding the abuse allegations. She was awarded $2 million. Given that such cases are notoriously hard to win, was the defamation route the way to go? Some observers with experience in high-profile cases believe Depp's decision to sue — even though it meant dragging his and Heard's personal lives through the mud — was a last-ditch attempt to bolster his star power after his failed London libel lawsuit against The Sun for describing him as a “wife beater." Also read: Depp and Heard face uncertain career prospects after trial “I think the defamation case was a Hail Mary,” said David Glass, a Los Angeles family law attorney with a Ph.D in psychology. Married just 15 months, Depp sued Heard for $50 million over the op-ed for The Washington Post in which she called herself “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” She didn't identify Depp by name and it was published two years after she began making public accusations against him. Heard countersued for $100 million, accusing the star of defaming her via the hoax accusations of attorney Adam Waldman. Many of the waning days of the trial focused on the aftereffects of both claims, with Depp testifying: “I lost nothing less than everything" and Heard accusing him of trying to erase her ability to work. “Now as I stand here today, I can’t have a career,” Heard testified at the close of the trial. “I hope to get my voice back. That’s all I want.” But does a verdict of any kind hold the power to reverse the courtroom accusations: of Depp as a physically and sexually abusive aging drunk and drug addict, and Heard as unhinged and capable of faking bruises allegedly inflicted by the man she said she stayed with out of love? Despite it all, Depp's fan base remains solid. Fans often camped out overnight for the chance to attend proceedings. But unlike rockers and stand-up comedians ensnared in #MeToo moments who can still earn through live shows, Depp and Heard need the crisis-averse studio machines to make big money. Rehabilitation is necessary for both, whether it's dueling traditional sit-down interviews or another secret weapon in their PR teams' arsenals. Also read: Jury sides with Johnny Depp in libel case, awards him $10M Heard, who was in the room for Wednesday's verdict, plans to appeal. Depp, who wasn't in court, said “the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.” Danny Deraney, who's done crisis PR for some of Hollywood’s #MeToo accusers, said men in general are more likely than women to find new work in the entertainment industry "when it comes to forgiveness and when it comes to the things that they’ve done.” He added: “I think it’s going to be easier for Johnny. For Amber, whether she’s innocent or guilty or whatever it is, it’s going to be difficult. I don’t think her career is necessarily over. But I’m sure it’s going to take a nice hit because I think everyone now is going to look at her as a difficult woman to work with, seeing her emotions the way they’ve been, whether wrong or right. I think they’re going to look at that and say, ‘Do we want this on our set?’” Danielle Lindemann, a Lehigh University associate professor of sociology who researches gender, sexuality and culture, said Depp's ability to earn big had already been affected, whether due to his own self-destruction or fallout from Heard's accusations. “But I don’t think he’s 'canceled,'” said Lindemann, author of “True Story: What Reality Says About Us.” The damage to his career is also likely to be a lot less severe in Asian and European markets, where his popularity remains strong. And he is likely to still get work on indie productions like those that helped along his 38-year run. Since the former couple began slinging allegations, Heard has faced intense backlash on social media. She said Depp fueled campaigns to get her fired as an ambassador for L'Oreal and cut as the character Mera from an “Aquaman” sequel, though a production executive testified she remains in the film due out next year. Mads Mikkelsen replaced Depp as Gellert Grindelwald for “Fantastic Beasts 3.” Depp's future is also uncertain in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, something he blamed on Heard's allegations. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer has revealed that two more “Pirates” scripts are in development, but neither will include Depp’s Capt. Jack Sparrow, a role that earned the actor an Oscar nomination. His last appearance in the Disney-owned franchise was in 2017’s “Dead Men Tell No Tales.” Dior has long used Depp to promote a men's fragrance, Sauvage. The fashion house has been silent on the abuse allegations and is still using him in ads. Attorney Brett Ward, a family law specialist in New York, said it could take years to know whether Depp's case will eventually lead to his return as an A-list actor. "And if he doesn’t? I think he’s made a terrible mistake because most people aren’t going to remember his rather distinguished Hollywood career. They’re going to remember this trial. It’s like O.J. Simpson. People know him more for what happened in that trial than they did for his football career.” Dezenhall disagreed. He said the case that captured the world's attention might just be a bellwether for people and corporations facing existential threats to their reputations and livelihoods. The old logic that bringing defamation suits was riskier than any benefits no longer necessarily applies, he said. They're too hard to win because proving malice is so tricky, traditional thinking went. Why publicly recycle the negative when people are likely to forget? Today, he said, the stakes have become too high to avoid such defamation court fights. He wrote on Substack, “If you’re already covered in muck that is suspended online forever, what’s a little more muck if your life has been ruined?”
Depp and Heard face uncertain career prospects after trial
A jury's finding that both Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard, were defamed in a long-running public dispute capped a lurid six-week trial that also raised questions about whether the two actors can overcome tarnished reputations. The verdict handed down Wednesday in Virginia found that Depp had been defamed by three statements in an op-ed written by Heard in which she said she was an abuse victim. The jury awarded him more than $10 million. But jurors also concluded that Heard was defamed by a lawyer for Depp who accused her of creating a detailed hoax surrounding the abuse allegations. She was awarded $2 million. Depp had hoped the libel lawsuit would help restore his reputation. However, legal and entertainment experts said that both actors' reputations have been damaged by ugly details about their brief marriage that came out during the televised trial watched by millions. Also read: Jury sides with Johnny Depp in libel case, awards him $10M “Both of them will work again, but I think it will be a while before a major studio will consider them ‘safe’ enough to bet on,” said former entertainment lawyer Matthew Belloni, who writes about the business of Hollywood for the newsletter Puck. “The personal baggage that was revealed in this trial was just too icky for a studio to want to deal with.” The case captivated viewers who watched gavel-to-gavel television coverage, including impassioned followers on social media who dissected the actors’ mannerisms, their wardrobe choices and their use of alcohol and drugs. Both performers emerge with unclear prospects for their careers. Depp, a three-time best actor Oscar nominee, was a bankable star until recent years, with credits including playing Capt. Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. However, he lost that role and was replaced in a “Fantastic Beasts” spinoff. Heard’s acting career has been more modest, and her only two upcoming roles are in a small film and the upcoming “Aquaman” sequel due out next year. Eric Rose, a crisis management and communications expert in Los Angeles, called the trial a “classic murder-suicide,” in terms of damage to both careers. “From a reputation-management perspective, there can be no winners,” he said. “They’ve bloodied each other up. It becomes more difficult now for studios to hire either actor because you’re potentially alienating a large segment of your audience who may not like the fact that you have retained either Johnny or Amber for a specific project because feelings are so strong now.” Heard, who attended court Wednesday and was stoic while the verdict was read, said she was heartbroken by what she described as a setback for women in general. "I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It’s a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously,’’ she said in a statement posted on her Twitter account. Depp, who was not in court Wednesday, said “the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.” “I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up,” he said in a statement posted to Instagram. Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” The essay never mentioned his name. The jury found in Depp's favor on all three of his claims relating to specific statements in the piece. In evaluating Heard's counterclaims, jurors considered three statements by a lawyer for Depp who called her allegations a hoax. They found she was defamed by one of them, in which the lawyer claimed that she and friends “spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight,” and called police. Also read: Jury's duty in Depp-Heard trial doesn't track public debate While the case was ostensibly about libel, most of the testimony focused on whether Heard had been physically and sexually abused, as she claimed. Heard enumerated more than a dozen alleged assaults, including a fight in Australia — where Depp was shooting a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel — in which Depp lost the tip of his middle finger and Heard said she was sexually assaulted with a liquor bottle. Depp said he never hit Heard and that she was the abuser, though Heard’s attorneys highlighted years-old text messages Depp sent apologizing to Heard for his behavior as well as profane texts he sent to a friend in which Depp said he wanted to kill Heard and defile her dead body. Brett Ward, a family law attorney in New York, said Depp made himself a more believable witness by admitting to drug and alcohol use and that he could be a difficult person. But he said Depp also ran the risk of making those moments more memorable to the public than his film work. “He says he did this for his children. Having watched the whole trial, I don’t think that he did any service to his children by airing all of this dirty laundry,” Ward said in an interview. "But whether this was worthwhile for Johnny Depp, we will know in five years if he reestablishes himself as an A-list Hollywood actor. And if he doesn’t? I think he’s made a terrible mistake because most people aren’t going to remember his rather distinguished Hollywood career. They’re going to remember this trial.”
Jury sides with Johnny Depp in libel case, awards him $10M
A jury sided Wednesday with Johnny Depp in his libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, awarding the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor more than $10 million and vindicating his allegations that Heard lied about Depp abusing her before and during their brief marriage. But in a split decision, the jury also found that Heard was defamed by one Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included roughing up the couple’s apartment to look worse for police. The jury awarded her $2 million. The verdicts bring an end to a televised trial that Depp had hoped would help restore his reputation, though it turned into a spectacle that offered a window into a vicious marriage. Heard, who was stoic in the courtroom as the verdict was read, said she was heartbroken. “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It’s a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously,” she said in a statement posted on her Twitter account. Depp, who was not in court Wednesday, said “the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.” “I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up,” he said in a statement posted to Instagram. Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers said he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name. The jury found in Depp’s favor on all three of his claims relating to specific statements in the 2018 piece. Throughout the proceedings, fans who were overwhelmingly on Depp’s side lined up overnight for coveted courtroom seats. Spectators who couldn’t get in gathered on the street to cheer Depp and jeer Heard whenever they appeared outside. A crowd of about 200 people cheered when Depp’s lawyers came out after the verdict. “Johnny for president!” one man yelled repeatedly. Greg McCandless, 51, a retired private detective from Reston, Virginia, stood outside the courthouse wearing a pirate hat and red head scarf, a nod to Depp’s famous role as Capt. Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series. “I do believe that there was defamation, and I do believe that it did hurt his career,” McCandless said. “I think the jury heard the evidence, and the verdict was just.” In evaluating Heard’s counterclaims, jurors considered three statements by a lawyer for Depp who called her allegations a hoax. They found she was defamed by one of them, in which the lawyer claimed that she and friends “spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight,” and called police. Sydni Porter, 30, drove an hour from her home in Maryland to show support for Heard. She said the verdict was disappointing, but not surprising, and sends a message to women that “as much evidence as you have (of abuse), it’s never going to be enough.” The jury found Depp should receive $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, but the judge said state law caps punitive damages at $350,000, meaning Depp was awarded $10.35 million. While the case was ostensibly about libel, most of the testimony focused on whether Heard had been physically and sexually abused, as she claimed. Heard enumerated more than a dozen alleged assaults, including a fight in Australia — where Depp was shooting a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel — in which Depp lost the tip of his middle finger and Heard said she was sexually assaulted with a liquor bottle. Depp said he never hit Heard and that she was the abuser, though Heard’s attorneys highlighted years-old text messages Depp sent apologizing to Heard for his behavior as well as profane texts he sent to a friend in which Depp said he wanted to kill Heard and defile her dead body. In some ways, the trial was a replay of a lawsuit Depp filed in the United Kingdom against a British tabloid after he was described as a “wife beater.” The judge in that case ruled in the newspaper’s favor after finding that Heard was telling the truth in her descriptions of abuse. In the Virginia case, Depp had to prove not only that he never assaulted Heard, but that Heard’s article — which focused primarily on public policy related to domestic violence — defamed him. He also had to prove that Heard wrote the article with actual malice. And to claim damages, he had to prove that her article caused the damage to his reputation as opposed to any number of articles before and after Heard’s piece that detailed the allegations against him. The case captivated millions through its gavel-to-gavel television coverage, including impassioned followers on social media who dissected everything from the actors’ mannerisms to the possible symbolism of what they were wearing. Both performers emerge from the trial with reputations in tatters with unclear prospects for their careers. Eric Rose, a crisis management and communications expert in Los Angeles, called the trial a “classic murder-suicide.” “From a reputation-management perspective, there can be no winners,” he said. “They’ve bloodied each other up. It becomes more difficult now for studios to hire either actor because you’re potentially alienating a large segment of your audience who may not like the fact that you have retained either Johnny or Amber for a specific project because feelings are so strong now.” Also read:Surgeon: Johnny Depp's severed finger story has flaws Depp, a three-time best actor Oscar nominee, had until recent years been a bankable star. His turn as Sparrow helped turn the “Pirates of the Caribbean” into a global franchise, but he’s lost that role. He was also replaced in the third “Fantastic Beasts” spin-off film, “The Secrets of Dumbledore.” Despite testimony at the trial that he could be violent, abusive and out of control, Depp received a standing ovation Tuesday night in London after performing for about 40 minutes with Jeff Beck at the Royal Albert Hall. Heard’s acting career has been more modest, and her only two upcoming roles are in a small film and the upcoming “Aquaman” sequel due out next year. Also read: Jury sees pics of Heard's swollen face after fight with Depp Depp’s lawyers fought to keep the case in Virginia, in part because state law provided some legal advantages compared with California, where the two reside. A judge ruled that Virginia was an acceptable forum for the case because The Washington Post’s printing presses and online servers are in the county.
Jury's duty in Depp-Heard trial doesn't track public debate
A seven-person civil jury in Virginia will resume deliberations Tuesday in Johnny Depp's libel trial against Amber Heard. What the jury considers will be very different from the public debate that has engulfed the high-profile proceedings. For six weeks, testimony focused on details of alleged abuse that Heard says she suffered at the hands of Depp. Heard has outlined more than a dozen specific instances where she says she was assaulted by Depp. Also read:Surgeon: Johnny Depp's severed finger story has flaws Depp has denied any physical or sexual abuse, and says Heard concocted the claims to destroy Depp's reputation. Depp's legions of online fans have focused on their belief that Heard has been untruthful, and that that will determine the outcome. But the case itself is a defamation claim. Depp sued Heard for libel — for $50 million — in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” That article never even mentions Depp by name, but his lawyers say he was defamed nonetheless. Most of the article discusses public policy as it relates to domestic violence, and Heard's lawyers say she has a First Amendment right to weigh in. In closing arguments, though, Depp lawyer Camille Vasquez argued that Heard's free-speech rights have limits. “The First Amendment doesn't protect lies that hurt and defame people,” she said. Depp's lawyers point to two passages in the article that they say clearly refer to Depp. In the first passage, Heard writes that “two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath.” Depp’s lawyers call it a clear reference to Depp, given that Heard publicly accused Depp of domestic violence in 2016 — two years before she wrote the article. In a second passage, she states, “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.” (Depp's lawyers are also seeking damages over a headline that appeared above the online version of the article, even though Heard didn't write it.) The jury, which has to come to a unanimous decision for a verdict, must decide whether those passages in the Post are defamatory. And the verdict form gives them step-by-step instructions on how to determine that. Heard's lawyers say they have presented a mountain of evidence that Heard was abused. But they say that even if the jury were somehow to believe that she was never abused even a single time, she should still prevail in the lawsuit. That's because libel law spells out several factors that must be considered. First, the alleged defamatory statements have to be about the plaintiff. Heard's lawyers said the article is not about Depp at all. He's not mentioned, and they say the focus is on Heard's experience about the aftermath of speaking out. Those statements remain objectively true even if she wasn't in fact abused, her lawyers contend. Also read: Jury sees pics of Heard's swollen face after fight with Depp Depp's lawyers, though, say the two passages are clear references to Depp, given the publicity that surrounded their 2016 divorce proceedings. In addition, because Depp is a public figure, Heard can only be found guilty of libel if the jury decides that Heard acted with “actual malice,” which requires clear and convincing evidence that she either knew what she was writing was false or that she acted with reckless disregard for the truth. Heard lawyer J. Benjamin Rottenborn said during Friday's closing arguments that Heard carefully reviewed drafts of the article — the first draft was written not by her, but by the American Civil Liberties Union — with her lawyers to make sure that what was written passed legal muster. Rottenborn said that fact alone is sufficient proof that she didn't act with actual malice. As for the abuse itself, Depp's lawyers tried to suggest to the jury that if they think Heard is lying or embellishing any of her abuse claims, that she can't be trusted and that all of her abuse claims must be dismissed as untrustworthy. “You either believe all of it, or none of it,” Vasquez said. “Either she is a victim of ugly, horrible abuse, or she is a woman who is willing to say absolutely anything.” In Heard’s closing, Rottenborn said the nitpicking over Heard’s evidence of abuse ignores the fact there’s overwhelming evidence on her behalf and sends a dangerous message to domestic-violence victims. “If you didn’t take pictures, it didn’t happen,” Rottenborn said. “If you did take pictures, they’re fake. If you didn’t tell your friends, they’re lying. If you did tell your friends, they’re part of the hoax.” And he rejected Vasquez’s suggestion that if the jury thinks Heard might be embellishing on a single act of abuse that they have to disregard everything she says. He said Depp’s libel claim must fail if Heard suffered even a single incident of abuse. “They’re trying to trick you into thinking Amber has to be perfect to win,” Rottenborn said.
Surgeon: Johnny Depp's severed finger story has flaws
A hand surgeon testified Monday that Johnny Depp could not have lost the tip of his middle finger the way he told jurors it happened in his civil lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. The finger injury, which occurred in a March 2015 fight in Australia between Depp and Heard, has been one of several key points of dispute in the lawsuit. Depp says he was injured when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him. Heard has said she never saw specifically how it happened, but that it occurred on a night when an enraged Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle. Depp is suing Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name. Depp has denied he ever struck Heard, and says she was the abuser in the relationship. Heard has testified about more than a dozen separate instances of physical abuse she says she suffered at Depp's hands. In testimony Monday, surgeon Richard Moore testified about the severed finger as jurors saw gruesome photos of the injury. He said that Depp described that his palm was down on a bar when it was struck by the bottle. Also read: Jury sees pics of Heard's swollen face after fight with Depp Moore, who did not treat Depp, testified that Depp's description is unlikely, in large part because his fingernail remained intact. Moore said the fingernail was exposed, as Depp described the placement of his hand, and would have been damaged. Moore also said there would have been other cuts on the rest of his hand from the glass that shattered on impact. While Depp told the jury that Heard severed the finger by throwing a vodka bottle, at the time of the accident he told people and sent text messages saying he'd done it to himself. At one point he said the finger had been pinched between solid accordion doors. Depp now says he lied to protect Heard. Moore testified that getting the finger pinched in accordion doors would be consistent with the injury. The trial is now in its sixth week. Monday's testimony was relatively mundane in a trial that has provided an ugly glimpse into the couple's toxic relationship. There had been an expectation that Heard's lawyers were going to call Depp to the stand Monday, but that did not occur. Heard's lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, said at the end of the day Monday that they are still discussing whether to call him. Jurors had already heard from both Depp and Heard extensively — each was on the stand for four days, undergoing grueling cross-examinations. Also Monday, a psychiatrist testified that Depp's behavior fits the pattern of a person whose drug and alcohol abuse contributes to domestic violence. Depp lawyer Wayne Dennison questioned the ethics and credibility of the psychiatrist's opinions, given that he never conducted an examination of Depp Later Monday, Dennison extensively questioned another Heard witness, entertainment expert Kathryn Arnold, about her assertion that Heard lost out on a potential $40 million to $50 million when another Depp lawyer called Heard's claims of abuse a “hoax.” Heard has filed a counterclaim against Depp based on those statements. Arnold said she measured Heard's career against “comparable” stars like Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa and Zendaya to show where Heard's career would have gone if Depp attorney Adam Waldman had not defamed her. Also read: He said, she said: Accounts from Depp and Heard rarely match Dennison, in his questioning, scoffed at the notion that Heard was in the same league as those stars. He was also dismissive of Heard's role as Mera in the “Aquaman” superhero film franchise, saying that the to-be-released “Aquaman” sequel is more like a “buddy comedy” than a film that will feature Heard as a romantic lead. Heard "was on the precipice of a great career,” Arnold insisted. The trial has drawn increasing public attention over its length. People camped out overnight and squabbled over places in line as they sought to get one of the 100 seats in the courtroom allocated to the public. During a morning break, one woman professed her love for Depp and asked when he was going to acknowledge that he was the father of the baby she was holding in her arms. She was removed from the courtroom.
Jury sees pics of Heard's swollen face after fight with Depp
Jurors in Johnny Depp’s libel trial against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, saw photos Monday of her with red marks and swelling on her face after their final fight before their divorce, and heard testimony about her expertise in covering up bruises with makeup. Heard concluded her direct testimony in a Virginia courtroom with a third day that was centered on the final months of her marriage to Depp. His lawyers began their cross-examination later in the afternoon. The trial is now in its fifth week, and jurors have seen multiple photos of Heard throughout the trial that purport to document the abuse she said she received during her relationship with Depp. Several of the photos shown Monday, though, had not previously been seen by the jury and showed redness and swelling much more clearly than earlier photos. Heard said the marks came when Depp threw a phone at her face. The confrontation in May 2016 prompted Heard to file for divorce two days later. A few days after that, she obtained a temporary restraining order after a courthouse hearing, and was widely photographed leaving the courthouse with a clear red mark on her right cheek. Also read: He said, she said: Accounts from Depp and Heard rarely match The final fight has been a key point in the couple’s ongoing dispute. Depp is suing Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court for libel over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name. Depp says he never struck Heard and that she’s concocting claims she was abused. Earlier in the trial, jurors heard from police officers who responded to emergency calls during that final fight who said Heard’s face looked red from crying but that they saw no visible bruises. Witnesses also testified that they didn’t see bruises on Heard’s face in the immediate days after the fight. Heard, in her testimony Monday, said she didn’t cooperate with officers who responded to the couple’s penthouse, and said her face-to-face interactions with officers were very limited. She also discussed her makeup routine, using a color correction wheel that she called her “bruise kit” to cover up marks on her face. She said she learned over the years to use green shades in the first day of a bruise to cover up redness, and switch more to orange shades as the bruise turned blue and purple. “I’m not going to walk around L.A. with bruises on my face,” she said. On cross-examination, Depp lawyer Camille Vasquez questioned Heard about multiple photos of her that appeared not to show bruises even they were taken within days of alleged abuse incidents. Heard said she used makeup to cover bruises and ice to reduce swelling. “You should see what it looked like under the makeup,” she said. Vasquez also questioned Heard about her $7 million divorce settlement from Depp. Heard pledged to donate the full amount to charity but has so far only donated a portion of it. She testified she’s been unable to fulfill her pledge yet because Depp sued her for $50 million. But on cross-examination she acknowledged that she had received the full $7 million from Depp months before he filed the lawsuit. In her direct testimony, Heard testified she did not want to publicly expose Depp as an abuser in her court proceedings, but had to go to the courthouse to provide testimony to obtain the restraining order, and she was taken aback when she left the courthouse surrounded by paparazzi. “I just wanted to change my locks,” she said about why she went to court to get the restraining order. “I just wanted to get a good night’s sleep.” During Monday’s testimony, Heard also strongly denied an accusation from Depp that she left human fecal matter in the couple’s bed after a fight. Heard said it was the couple’s teacup Yorkshire terrier that messed the bed and that it had a history of bowel problems ever since it had accidentally ingested Depp’s marijuana. Also read: Heard takes stand, accuses Depp of violent sexual assault “Absolutely not,” she said about the alleged poop prank. “I don’t think that’s funny. I don’t know what grown woman does. I was not in a pranking mood.” Heard said, though, that Depp became obsessed with the idea that someone had pooped in his bed. She said it was all he wanted to talk about during that final fight May 21, 2016, even though Depp’s mother had just died and the couple hadn’t spoken in a month. The poop allegation is one of several that Depp’s online fans have particularly latched onto in their social media critiques of Heard. Heard also talked about the op-ed piece itself, saying staffers with the American Civil Liberties Union — for whom she had started work as an ambassador — wrote the first draft. She said she was happy to lend her voice to the debate over domestic violence, and wasn’t intending to reference Depp. “It’s not about Johnny,” she said. “The only one who thought it was about Johnny was Johnny. It was about me, and my life after Johnny.” Heard concluded her testimony by saying that accusations she receives on a daily basis from Depp supporters that she’s lying about the abuse are “torture.” “I want to move on with my life,” she said. “I want Johnny to move on. I want him to leave me alone.”
He said, she said: Accounts from Depp and Heard rarely match
There’s not much room for middle ground in the testimony thus far from Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in Depp’s libel suit against his ex-wife. One of them is lying. Heard has not yet finished telling the jury her side of things. Her testimony will continue May 16 once the trial — which has already stretched on for four weeks — resumes after a one-week break. Then she will face what one can safely assume will be an aggressive cross-examination in a case where both sides have employed scorched-earth tactics going back years to when the suit was first filed. Depp is suing Heard in Virginia for libel over an op-ed she wrote in December 2018 in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” The article doesn’t mention Depp by name, but his lawyers say the article defames him nevertheless because it’s a clear reference to the highly publicized allegations Heard made when she filed for divorce in 2016 and obtained a temporary restraining order against him. Depp says he never physically abused Heard, while Heard says she was assaulted on more than a dozen occasions. Heard says the first time Depp ever struck her was in 2013, when she made the mistake of laughing at one of his tattoos. Heard said there was an older tattoo she couldn’t make out, and Depp told her it said “Wino.” In fact, it used to say “Winona Forever,” a tattoo that Depp got when he was dating actor Winona Ryder. He had it altered to “Wino Forever” when they broke up. Heard said she laughed, and Depp responded by slapping her. Thinking the slap must be a joke, she laughed. Depp responded by slapping her twice more, with the third slap knocking Heard off balance. “It was so stupid, so insignificant,” Heard told the jury. “I thought it must be a joke.” Depp, while he was on the stand, flatly denied it occurred. Also Read: Tasnia Farin to make silver screen debut with Atanu Ghosh's film “It didn’t happen,” he said. “Why would I take such great offense to someone making fun of a tattoo on my body? That allegation never made any sense to me.” Both sides say the worst violence occurred in March 2015 in Australia, when Depp was shooting the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. Heard said Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle — for the first time Thursday she identified a bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon as the offending instrument after she said she saw a photo of the distinctively square bottle — as part of an alcohol-fueled rage. Heard came to Australia after shooting her own film and Depp immediately accused her of sleeping with her co-stars, she said. Depp, for his part, says he was the victim of the violence. He testified that Heard was irate over efforts by Depp’s lawyers to have her sign a post-nuptial agreement, as well as the fact that Depp wasn’t adhering to pledges of sobriety to Heard’s satisfaction. He said he escaped the argument by pouring himself a drink, at which point Heard threw a vodka bottle at him. Depp said he responded by pouring another drink, and this time Heard threw another vodka bottle at him that smashed against his hand while it rested on a counter and severed the tip of his middle finger. Photos of the aftermath show Depp wrote vulgar messages to his wife in blood on the walls of the house. Jurors have also seen contemporaneous text messages Depp sent to others in which he said he cut off his own finger. Depp said he made up that story to protect Heard and avoid police involvement.
Heard takes stand, accuses Depp of violent sexual assault
Actor Amber Heard tearfully told jurors Thursday that Johnny Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle in an alcohol-fueled rage. The March 2015 incident in Australia, where Depp was filming the fifth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie, is sharply disputed and has been a focal point of the four-week civil trial in Fairfax, Virginia. The night ended with the tip of Depp’s middle finger cut off, and him writing vulgar messages in blood on the walls of the house. Depp denies assaulting her in any way and says his finger was severed when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him; Heard said she’d taken sleeping pills after she was attacked and was not awake when the finger was severed. Also read:Depp trial: Psychologist testifies actor assaulted Heard The graphic description of the sexual assault left Heard fighting for her composure as she described it to jurors. She said Depp had been angry as soon as she arrived in Australia, roughly a month after the couple had married in February 2015. He was accusing her of sleeping with co-stars in her movies, including Billy Bob Thornton and Eddie Redmayne, with whom she’d just shot the film “The Danish Girl” — accusations she denied. The fight escalated to the point where he threw her into a ping-pong table, breaking it, Heard testified. He ripped off her nightgown, and Heard said she was naked and exposed as she was assaulted. “I couldn’t get up. I thought he was punching me,” she said. “I could just feel this pressure on my pubic bone.” She thought he was assaulting her with her fist, but later figured out that she was being assaulted with a bottle, and realized that there had been numerous bottles broken in the fight. “I looked around and saw so much broken glass. I just remember thinking, ‘Please God, please don’t be broken,’” she said. Heard described bizarre details in the aftermath of the attack, including seeing her shredded burgundy nightgown used to wrap a raw steak that had been left out. She said that when Depp’s security team finally arrived to tend to his severed finger, Depp was still trying to leave vulgar messages for her, but was trying to write them by urinating on the wall. Much of the trial testimony has been repetitive of a civil suit Depp filed against a British newspaper. A judge there ruled against Depp in 2020, finding that Heard had in fact been assaulted multiple times by Depp. But the sexual assault allegations described by Heard on Thursday were not publicly aired in the U.K trial. Depp is suing Heard in Virginia for libel over an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers say he was defamed by the 2018 article even though it never mentioned his name. Earlier in her testimony Thursday, Heard testified that Depp surrounded himself with an entourage of enablers to shield him from the consequences of his drug and alcohol use. She described an incident that has already come up at trial, a May 2014 plane ride from Boston to Los Angeles. According to Heard, Depp was jealous and irate that she was making a movie with actor James Franco that included a kissing scene. “He hated, hated James Franco,” she said. Also read:Kylie Jenner testifies she warned brother about Blac Chyna As soon as Depp stepped into the private plane, he began berating her, she said. She got up and walked away, but Depp followed her. At one point, he slapped her, Heard testified. Later, she said, he kicked her, and not one person on board intervened on her behalf. “I felt this boot in my back,” she said. “I fell to the floor. And no one said anything. No one did anything. You could have heard a pin drop. I just remember feeling so embarrassed.” Depp, who testified earlier in the trial, described the incident differently. He denied that he’d drank excessively before getting on the plane, and said Heard initiated an argument and pursued him until he felt compelled to hide in a bathroom. But jurors heard a recording Heard made toward the end of the incident, in which it sounds like Depp is howling and babbling incoherently. And the jury has seen a text message Depp sent his friend Paul Bettany shortly after the flight, in which he says he’s going to “properly stop the booze thing” because the flight got “ugly.” He also texted Bettany saying, “I’m admittedly too f——- in the head to spray my rage at the one I love for little reason as well.” Heard has testified that she was physically and sexually assaulted on multiple occasions by Depp, typically when he was drunk or high on drugs. Depp has denied ever hitting her, but Heard’s lawyers have said his denials lack credibility in part because he can’t remember what he’s done when he blacks out. Depp has said Heard greatly exaggerates his drinking, and that he tolerates his liquor well. Friends, family and employees of Depp have taken the stand and backed up his contention. But Heard said that’s part of the problem: She said Depp has a team around him that cleans him up when he gets sick, and enables him to go about his business without acknowledging the consequences of his drinking.
Depp trial: Psychologist testifies actor assaulted Heard
Actor Amber Heard suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from violence she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband Johnny Depp, including multiple acts of sexual assault, a psychologist testified Tuesday. The sexual assaults included being forced to perform oral sex and having Depp penetrate her with a liquor bottle, the psychologist, Dawn Hughes, told jurors at Depp's libel trial against Heard. He accuses her of falsely claiming in a newspaper op-ed piece that she was a victim of domestic violence. Hughes' testimony contradicts that of a psychologist hired by Depp's lawyers, who said Heard was faking her symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered from borderline and histrionic personality disorders. Hughes disputed that Heard suffers from any personality disorder. Hughes was the first witness to take the stand on Heard's behalf after Depp's lawyers rested their case Tuesday morning. Hughes said there is corroboration of many of the instances of abuse, including apologies and admissions made by Depp to Heard and admissions he made to friends in text messages about his bad behavior when he drinks. In some cases, Heard told her therapists about the abuse contemporaneously, Hughes said. Also read: Therapist: Depp and Heard had relationship of 'mutual abuse' Depp has said he never physically attacked Heard, and that she was the aggressor who routinely hit him and threw things at him through the course of their relationship. Hughes, in her testimony, said Heard acknowledged that she did at times push and shove Depp, call him names and insult his parenting. But Hughes said there's a difference in the violence when a smaller person strikes at a larger person, and that Depp's violence was intimidating and threatened her safety, but Heard's violence did not have the same effect on Depp. “That's just physics; that's just proportional force,” she said. Much of the violence, Hughes said, stemmed from Depp's obsessive jealousy. He insisted she avoid nude scenes, if she worked at all, and accused her of affairs with actors Billy Bob Thornton and James Franco. If she did work on a film, Depp would call the director and others on set and say he “had eyes” there who would report to him if she fraternized improperly, Hughes said. Also read: Amber Heard tells court she feared Depp would kill her And Heard, who identifies as bisexual according to treatment notes introduced at trial, also faced scrutiny in her interactions with women. Hughes said Depp on one occasion manually penetrated Heard in anger after witnessing Heard's interactions with a woman. “Amber got accused of women hitting her, and she got accused of men hitting on her,” Hughes said. Heard blinked back tears, and her lips and chin quivered at times as Hughes described the abuse. Hughes said she based her testimony on 29 hours of interviews with Heard, as well as interviews with her therapists and a review of court documents. Earlier Tuesday, Depp's lawyers rested their case, and a judge rejected a motion from Heard's lawyers to dismiss the case. Heard's lawyers argued that Depp had failed to make his case as a matter of law and that no reasonable jury could find in his favor. But the judge, Penney Azcarate, said the standard for dismissing a case at this point in the trial is exceedingly high, and that the case should be allowed to move forward if Depp has provided even a “scintilla” of evidence backing up his claims. Depp and his lead lawyer, Benjamin Chew, patted each other on the back after the judge ruled the case can proceed. Chew argued that the jury has a wealth of evidence to conclude that Heard falsely accused Depp of abuse. In fact, he said, the evidence shows that “Ms. Heard physically abused him. She's the abuser.” Heard's lawyer, J. Benjamin Rottenborn, said the evidence is clear over the last three weeks of testimony that Heard's allegations of abuse are truthful. “We haven’t gotten to put on our case yet,” he said. “This is all evidence that has come in while plaintiff controls the playing field.” Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in Fairfax County Circuit Court after Heard wrote a December 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” The article never mentions Depp by name, but Depp’s lawyers say he was defamed nevertheless because it’s a clear reference to abuse allegations Heard levied in 2016, in the midst of the couple’s divorce proceedings. The judge on Tuesday did say she's reserving judgment on whether the article's headline in online editions should be part of the libel lawsuit because she said the evidence is unclear at this point whether Heard wrote the headline or is responsible for it. The online headline reads, "I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change." Hughes will be cross-examined Wednesday, and Heard is expected to take the stand Wednesday as well.