Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial is taking place in Fairfax, Virginia.
epp is suing Heard, his ex-wife, for alleged defamation over an op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post in 2018, in which she describes herself as “a public figure who depicts domestic violence.” Heard countered by accusing her ex-husband of allegedly organizing a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment.”
Depp has sought $50 million in damages; Heard has demanded $100 million and immunity from Depp’s claims. The process should take a total of six weeks.
The trial began Monday (April 11) at the Fairfax County Courthouse with jury selection. Seven judges were selected, along with four alternates to fill in should one or more of the original judges drop out.
On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the first witnesses took the stand, either in person or via video testimony. Witnesses included Depp and Heard’s former marriage counselor, Depp’s sister, some of his friends, and Heard’s former assistant.
The evidence presented so far includes texts allegedly broadcast by Depp about Heard that contain offensive language.
On Wednesday (April 13), Depp’s longtime friend Isaac Baruch was asked by Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft: “Remember Mr. Depp ever told you he was hoping Amber Heard’s decomposing body would decompose in the damn trunk of a Honda Civic?”
Baruch pointed to a monitor showing the message and said, “Yeah. Well, I’m saying yes – I see it here, so obviously yes was said. It was written.”
video of the day
Bredehoft then asked him if Depp called Heard “c**t” via text.
“Well, it’s written there, so yes, I could see that,” said Baruch, also reading from a monitor in front of him. He disputed Bredehoft’s specific characterization of Depp’s words, adding, “That’s not what he’s saying — he’s like, ‘That shit ruined such a fucking cool life we’ve had for a while.'”
The next day, Thursday (April 14), a video testimony from Amber Heard’s former assistant, Kate James, was played in the courtroom as testimony.
James was questioned about a text Depp allegedly sent to James in August 2016 which, according to the transcript introduced as evidence, read: “Thanks honey… I’m disgusted I ever friggin’ touched that scum… Back on Tuesday!!! And then… dish!!! Gonna hit you when I come back dolly… Come by and get a patch of purple and we’ll fix her saggy asshole, well and good!!! Loves… J.”
During interrogation, it was implied that “a purple stain” is a way of referring to red wine.
When asked if James understood that the text was referring to Heard, James initially said it was not her job to speculate.
She was then asked about previous statements she had made during the 2020 trial between Depp and The Sun in the UK, where she was asked if the text was about Heard. On that occasion, according to a transcript read in evidence in Virginia, she replied: “Yes. Yes.”
In her final testimony, shared on videotape on Thursday, James said on the occasion she was “just trying to be pleasant in court with no idea what on earth is going on.”
When asked if the answer she gave in the UK was truthful or if it was just pleasant, James said: “Just pleasant.”
On Thursday (April 14), a video testimony from Heard and Depp’s former marriage counselor, Dr. Laurel Anderson aired. She spoke to the couple about their past sessions.
When asked if Heard had ever reported physical violence by Depp to her, Dr. Anderson yes. When asked if she saw photos, she said she saw them but can’t remember when. When asked if there had been “violence by Mr Depp towards Amber,” she said, “Yes, you are right.”
“He had been well controlled for I don’t know 20, 30 years and they were both victims of abuse in their homes but I thought he had been well controlled for decades,” she added. “And then he was triggered with Ms Heard and they were involved in what I saw as mutual abuse.”
allegations of sexual assault
During opening statements on Tuesday (April 12), Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, alleged that Depp once sexually assaulted Heard with a liquor bottle.
Depp shook his head in court when Bredehoft recounted the alleged incident. His attorney Camille Vasquez denied the allegations of sexual assault in court. A spokesman called the claims “fictitious” in a statement to The Independent.
Depp’s friend thrown out as a witness
Gina Deuters, who is married to one of Depp’s employees and is a close friend of the actor herself, testified in person on Thursday (April 14).
Answering questions about Depp’s drug and alcohol use, she told the court she saw him occasionally use weed and cocaine and that she saw him drink alcohol. Deuters testified that she never saw Depp violent or angry after using any substances or drinking alcohol.
At one point during her testimony, Heard’s legal team asked permission to contact Judge Penney Azcarate. The judge consulted with the attorneys and then ordered the jury to rest briefly.
Judge Azcarate then asked Deuters: “Have you watched the trial in the past week?”
Deuters replied: “I’ve seen clips of it on the internet, yes.”
The judge then confirmed that Deuters had viewed clips of witness statements, after which she told Deuters she was excused.
Deuters was then ordered out of court, and Judge Azcarate said she would order the jury to drop Deuter’s testimony.
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