Amber Heard to testify soon in defamation claims against Johnny Depp
Amber Heard, the ex-wife of Johnny Depp, may testify as early as Wednesday in front of a Virginia jury that is hearing the multi-million dollar defamation claims the actors filed against each other following their short-lived marriage.
On Tuesday, Depp’s attorneys rested their case after arguing that Heard libeled the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star when she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse.
Heard’s side began their response by calling to the stand a psychologist who said the actress suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to physical and sexual abuse by Depp.
The 58-year-old Depp is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million. Heard has counter-sued for $100 million, saying Depp smeared her by calling her a liar.
Over four days of sworn testimony, Depp said that “Aquaman” star Heard was the abuser in the relationship and once threw a vodka bottle that severed the top of his right middle finger.
“At the end, I was broken,” Depp said.
Heard has denied injuring Depp’s finger and said she only threw things to escape when he was beating her.
In their cross-examination, Heard’s attorneys introduced text messages and audio recordings of Depp using graphic language and insulting Heard.
“Let’s drown her before we burn her,” he said in one text message to actor Paul Bettany, adding “I will fuck her burnt corpse afterward to make sure she is dead.”
The case hinges on a December 2018 opinion piece in the Washington Post. The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyer told jurors it was clear Heard was referencing him. The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2017 after less than two years of marriage.
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Depp, once among the biggest stars in Hollywood, said he never struck Heard or any woman and that Heard’s allegations cost him “everything.” A new “Pirates” movie was put on hold, and Depp was replaced in the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise, a “Harry Potter” spinoff.
Heard’s attorneys have argued that she told the truth and that her opinion was protected as free speech under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.
A state court judge in Fairfax County, Virginia, is overseeing the trial, which is expected to last until late May.
Less than two years ago, Depp lost a libel case against The Sun, a British tabloid that labeled him a “wife-beater.” A London High Court judge ruled he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.
Depp’s lawyers have said they filed the U.S. case in Fairfax County, outside the nation’s capital, because the Washington Post is printed there. The newspaper is not a defendant.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Alistair Bell)