Legal experts break down Johnny Depp, Amber Heard verdict: Here's what happened – USA TODAY

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s libel trial has come to a close with Depp emerging the victor.
A jury awarded the star more than $10 million in damages, essentially agreeing that Heard’s 2018 opinion piece about being a victim of spousal abuse – in which she did not name Depp – had a negative impact on his career.
But the jury also awarded Heard $2 million after one of Depp’s lawyers, Adam Waldman, called Heard’s claims a “hoax” before the trial. Alafair Hall, a spokeswoman for Heard, told USA TODAY that Heard plans to appeal.
Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft discussed the plans to appeal with the “Today” show Thursday, telling host Savannah Guthrie “she has some excellent grounds for it.
“She was demonized here,” Bredehoft said. “A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed, and it caused the jury to be confused.” 
The attorney also alleged social media swayed the jury’s decision despite being advised not to look at the case outside of the courtroom. “They went home every night. They have families. The families are on social media. We had a 10-day break in the middle because of a judicial conference. There’s no way they couldn’t have been influenced by it,” she stated. 
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“Both Depp and Heard were using the court of public opinion, both of them were auditioning for the chance to star in another $1 billion movie,” said criminal defense attorney Joshua Ritter of Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP, a former Los Angeles County prosecutor, after the verdict. “And after this trial, Depp is likely to have that chance again, whereas Heard may struggle to come back.”
In closing arguments, Depp attorneys Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew painted a picture of Heard as the abuser in the couple’s tumultuous marriage. 
Heard’s lawyer J. Benjamin Rottenborn in turn called Depp “a monster” who abused his ex-wife and engaged in an ongoing smear campaign that started when the couple divorced.
But Heard wasn’t believable “and got terrible advice from her attorneys,” said trial attorney Christa Ramey, co-founder of Los Angeles-based civil litigation firm Ramey Law PC. “She looked and sounded phony and rehearsed, like an actress reading a script. … She did a lot to damage her case.”
Depp, 58, sued Heard, 36, for $50 million, alleging she defamed him in her Washington Post opinion column (which is printed in Fairfax County, Virginia) in December 2018. She in turn countersued him for $100 million.
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Both actors dove deep into their mutually destructive relationship on the stand.
Addressing Heard’s assault allegations and his history with substance abuse, Depp told the courtroom, “The only person I ever abused in my life is myself.”
Heard told the courtroom her ex-husband “knows he’s lying, otherwise why can’t he look at me?”
The jury of five men and two women skewed male, which “probably played a role in this verdict,” said Beverly Hills entertainment attorney Mitra Ahouraian, who often deals with defamation issues. “Some men, after the #MeToo movement, have a phobia of being accused of something that’s not true and having their whole life ruined, so if any men on the jury had those concerns, that may have swayed them a bit.”
Ahouraian noted that Depp “gained a lot of goodwill by using the trial to tell his side of the story and rebuild his image” and his win could encourage other celebrities to use the courts as a platform, “assuming there’s some truth to their side.” 
But “most celebrities can’t stomach that kind of an ordeal, which is why they typically settle outside of court. We have never seen a celebrity trial like this one and we may not see it again for a long time.” 
Johnny Depp, Amber Heard libel trial:Your lawsuit FAQs, answered
Here’s a recap of what happened during the trial:
Depp won the defamation lawsuit he filed accusing ex-wife Heard of defaming the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star in a 2018 op-ed, with a Virginia jury awarding him $10.35 million in damages and vindicating his stance that Heard fabricated claims that she was abused by Depp before and during their brief marriage.
Heard also partially won her counter-lawsuit over comments made by Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman, who called her abuse allegations a hoax. The jury awarded her $2 million in damages. 
The jury came to the unanimous verdict Wednesday after 13 hours of deliberations and six weeks of testimony.
Depp said he was “truly humbled” that the “jury gave me my life back” in a statement to USA TODAY Wednesday.
Opinion: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard reduced all of us with their disgusting display
“My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought,” Depp’s statement read. “From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.” 
Heard was present in the courtroom as the verdict was read. In a statement to USA TODAY, Heard said she was disappointed and “heartbroken” by the verdict. “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback,” she said. “It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.” 
Vasquez, who has become internet famous amid the high-profile trial, asked the jury on Friday “to give Mr. Depp his life back” by finding Heard guilty of libel. Heard “ruined his life by falsely telling the world she was a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp,” Vasquez told the jury in closing arguments.
“There is an abuser in this courtroom, but it is not Mr. Depp,” Vasquez said. “And there is a victim of domestic abuse in this courtroom, but it is not Ms. Heard.”
Vasquez and Chew maintained that Depp never abused Heard and that Depp’s career and reputation plummeted following the Washington Post op-ed.
Vasquez called Heard’s testimony “a performance, the role of her lifetime as a heroic survival survivor of brutal abuse,” saying she “went all in” and “spun a story of shocking, overwhelming, brutal abuse.” Vasquez accused Heard of doctoring the photos and said evidence that Heard has embellished some of her injuries is proof that all her claims of abuse are unfounded.
“In Mr. Depp’s world, you don’t leave Mr. Depp,” Rottenborn said. “If you do, he will start a campaign of global humiliation against you.”
Heard’s lawyers Rottenborn and Bredehoft used their two hours in an effort to capture Depp as a “wild animal” who abused drugs and alcohol and said when Heard hit him, she was defending herself.
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.”
Heard took the witness stand Thursday and detailed how her libel lawsuit with Johnny Depp has affected her personally and professionally, tearfully testifying about allegedly being “harassed, humiliated, threatened every single day” from Depp’s fans since the trial began.
“People want to kill me and they tell me that every day,” Heard said through tears. “Johnny threatened … promised me that if I ever left him, he’d make me think of him every single day.”
The “Aquaman” actress continued: “Every single day I have to relive the trauma.”
Heard said she is “not a saint” and “not trying to present myself as one” but decided to go through the libel trial to give voice to those in similar situations. “Johnny has taken enough of my voice,” she said. “I hope to get my voice back.”
The actress also said the experience of going to trial “has been agonizing, painful and the most humiliating thing I’ve ever been through.”
Heard was then cross-examined by Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez. She refuted claims from Depp’s witnesses, including claims that she called paparazzi to photograph her with bruises on her face outside the courtroom when she filed a restraining order in May 2016 and sent TMZ a video of Depp slamming cabinets during an argument.
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Depp was also back on the witness stand Wednesday, testifying as a rebuttal witness. 
The actor disputed a claim made by Heard that Depp had nothing to do with getting her a role in the superhero blockbuster “Aquaman.” When Heard testified, she pushed back on a question from Depp’s lawyers insinuating Depp got her the role.
Depp, though, said that after Heard auditioned for the role, he talked to the studio on her behalf. “Ultimately she did get the job, so hopefully, I suppose, I had curbed their worries to some degree,” he said.
On the stand, Depp also answered a question about what it has been like for him to listen to Heard’s testimony during the trial.
“Insane,” he said, “It’s insane to hear heinous accusations of violence, sexual violence…that she’s accusing me of. (It’s) horrible, ridiculous, humiliating, ludicrous, painful, savage, unimaginably brutal, cruel.”
Depp added that “no human being is perfect” and once again denied the allegations.
Heard previously cited an alleged incident between Depp and Moss during her earlier testimony. During Heard and Depp’s U.K. trial in 2020, the actress claimed that two people told her Depp once pushed Moss down the stairs.
Moss, who dated Depp in the ’90s, denied the claims in testimony May 25.
The model recalled an incident in Jamaica where she and Depp were leaving a room after a rainstorm. Moss testified that Depp left the room first and she followed.
“I slid down the stairs and hurt my back and I screamed because I didn’t know what happened to me and I was in pain,” she testified. “He came running back to help me and carried me to my room and got me medical care.”
Moss added: “He never pushed me, kicked me or threw me down any stairs.”
Attorneys for Heard wrapped up their case Tuesday without calling Depp to the stand. In a win for Heard’s team, Judge Penney Azcarate declined to throw out a $100 million counterclaim Heard filed that alleged Depp’s then-lawyer, Adam Waldman, had defamed Heard when he called her abuse allegations a hoax.
Azcarate said the bar for tossing out a claim before it goes to the jury is high and there was enough evidence to allow it to go forward. She had already ruled Depp could be held responsible for statements made by his lawyer, a principle Depp’s team disputes.
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. 
A Warner Bros. executive also testified Tuesday that Heard’s role in the film “Aquaman 2,” as well as her ability to renegotiate her contract, were not impacted by any statements made by her ex-husband or his representatives.
The video deposition of Walter Hamada, president of DC Films Production, was played in court Tuesday. Hamada said Heard’s role in “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” slated for a 2023 release, was never reduced from how it was originally written in the script.
A severed fingertip on Depp’s hand took center stage at the trial Monday, an injury that Depp said was caused by Heard throwing a vodka bottle at him during a violent 2015 brawl. Heard in turn has testified that during that fight Depp assaulted her sexually with a bottle.
Hand surgeon Richard Moore said on the stand that photographs of Depp’s injury were not consistent with a bottle shattering on or near his hand, noting that the rest of his hand would likely have sustained cuts as a result. Moore said that the injury instead was much more consistent with the finger being pinched between accordion doors — which is what Depp told friends in a text message after the incident.
Depp has since said that he lied about having caused the injury himself in order to protect Heard. The actress has consistently maintained that she never injured Depp during their brief and volatile marriage.
Barkin, the actress who dated Depp for a few months in the ’90s, described the actor as controlling and jealous in a recorded deposition played at the trial May 19. 
“Where are you going?” Barkin said Depp would ask her. The actress described their relationship as largely sexual. “Who are you going with? What did you do last night?”
Barkin added: “I had a scratch on my back once that got him very, very angry because he insisted it came from me having sex with a person who wasn’t him.”
Barkin, who co-starred in the 1998 Depp film “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” said that during filming Depp threw a wine bottle in her direction while he was fighting with some friends in a hotel room. However, she said she didn’t know why he threw the bottle. 
Other recorded depositions played for the jury also characterized Depp as an out of control force whose spending and drinking only escalated after he reached megastardom in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.
Heard’s sister, Whitney Heard Henriquez, testified May 18 that she not only witnessed Depp land blows in a fight with her sister, but that she was forced to intervene in order to protect the actress.
Henriquez said the fight took place in 2015 shortly after the couple married. Heard had discovered that her new husband had cheated on her; Depp countered that Heard had forced him into the extramarital affair, Henriquez said. Her testimony is the first eyewitness account of Depp striking Heard. Depp has denied hitting his ex-wife.
Also Wednesday, a onetime friend of Heard’s, Raquel Pennington, said in a pre-recorded video deposition that while she never saw Depp hit Heard, she often saw Heard with cuts and bruises. After one fight, Pennington photographed Heard’s facial injuries. Heard told her friend that the actor had head-butted her. 
The photos Pennington took showed a swollen nose, a cut lip, and two moderately black eyes on Heard’s face. She also took a photo of strands of hair that she said were ripped from Heard’s scalp.
Heard returned to the stand on May 17  facing stiff cross-examination questioning about both a fight in Australia that resulted in an alleged sexual assault, as well as the more recent Washington Post op-ed at the center of Depp’s libel lawsuit. 
The actress previously testified that he sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle during the fight, and he has testified that she severed the tip of his finger. Both have denied the other’s allegations.
Vasquez said Heard didn’t seem to be scared of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor despite the alleged assault. “This is a man who tried to kill me,” the actress testified in response. “Of course it’s scary. He’s also my husband.”
Vasquez also addressed the op-ed during Heard’s testimony on Tuesday, asking if specific parts of the article were about Depp. Heard said the article was in response to the #MeToo movement rather than specific to her ex-husband.
“When powerful men, in general, do something horrible or something they shouldn’t there is a system in place to protect them, clean up after them, maintain them, keep them afloat,” Heard testified of her op-ed. “It was not about him.”
She later added: “It was a reference to a general larger phenomenon, not just Johnny.”
Heard took the stand on May 16 and described a 2016 fight she had with Depp in which he allegedly threw a phone at her. The fight led to her filing for divorce.
Jurors in the trial were shown photos of Heard’s face after that altercation, which clearly showed redness and swelling. Depp’s lawyers have argued that Heard is concocting claims of abuse, and Los Angeles police officers who testified earlier in the trial did not report seeing evidence of facial injuries.
Heard also testified she became an expert at hiding evidence of abuse, using a make-up color wheel that allowed her to apply different shades of make-up that counteracted the bruising depending on the healing process stage. “I’m not going to walk around L.A. with bruises on my face,” she said.
Heard also rebutted accusations that in retaliation she left human fecal matter in the couple’s bed, saying it was likely the couple’s Yorkshire terrier who had developed bowel problems after eating Depp’s marijuana.
“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.”
A tearful Heard took the stand  to recount how in a jealous rage Depp flung her into a ping pong table and then sexually assaulted her with a bottle that she feared was broken.
“I couldn’t get up,” Heard said, crying. “I thought he was punching me. I could just feel this pressure on my pubic bone.”
The incident took place in 2015, shortly after their marriage and as Depp was starting to shoot the fifth installment of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series in Australia.
Heard said that Depp was angry almost from the moment she arrived at their home, convinced that she was having affairs with some of her co-stars, including Billy Bob Thornton and Eddie Redmayne. Heard denied having the affairs. 
During the fight, Heard said she thought a drunken Depp was assaulting her with his fist, but later figured out that she was being assaulted with a bottle. “I looked around and saw so much broken glass. I just remember thinking, ‘Please God, please don’t be broken,’” she said. 
Heard began her testimony May 4 by recounting details from her childhood and early days in Hollywood, including meeting Depp on the set of 2011’s “The Rum Diary,” and how their relationship progressed from colleagues and friends to eventual romantic partners after filming wrapped. 
The two had “no contact” for a while after filming – Depp at one point called her and invited her to his California home, Heard said, but they didn’t end up seeing each other until the press tour for the film later on. Heard said it was then that they began “falling in love” but kept things under the radar because his split with ex Vanessa Paradis, with whom he shares two children, had not yet been publicized.
“When I was around Johnny I felt like the most beautiful person in the whole world,” Heard said, later adding, “I fell head-over-heels in love with this man.”
As their relationship progressed, Heard said Depp took issues with clothing she wore and expressed concern she was cheating on him with friends. And arguments began to turn ugly, Heard alleged, with Depp tossing around expletives, smashing glass or turning over a table before leaving and coming back as the “wonderful, almost unreal… unbelievably nice, sensitive, warm generous funny man that I loved,” she said. 
Heard suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from violence she suffered at the hands of Depp, including multiple acts of sexual assault, psychologist Dawn Hughes testified May 3. 
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.
Depp has said he never physically abused Heard. Hughes said Heard acknowledged that she did at times push and shove Depp, call him names and insult his parenting.
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.
Depp’s team contends that the prolific actor’s career was torpedoed when ex-wife Heard wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post in 2018 in which she spoke broadly about being a victim of domestic violence.
Depp’s agent, Jack Whigham, told the court that Heard’s piece was “catastrophic” to the actor’s career, specifically linking it to the disappearance of a $23 million deal to appear in a sixth installment of the lucrative “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series. 
Lawyers for Heard countered that it was in fact Depp’s own self-destructive behavior that caused Disney to demur, and not welcome Depp back as Captain Jack Sparrow — not the article. They cited reports of heavy drug and alcohol use, a lawsuit by a crew member in July 2018 who says he was punched on set by Depp, and a separate libel lawsuit Depp filed against a British newspaper in 2018.
Much of the trial so far has been a look into the fraught relationship between Depp and Heard, and not the actual article at the center of Depp’s $50 million lawsuit against her. But on April 28, the article took center stage.
Terence Dougherty, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, told jurors there was a push and pull between Heard and her lawyers, and the ACLU, which drafted the 2018 Washington Post op-ed piece under Heard’s name, reflecting her role as an ACLU ambassador on gender violence issues.
During those discussions, Heard sent back an edited version approved by her lawyers that “specifically neutered much of the copy regarding her marriage,” according to an email from Jessica Weitz, an ACLU employee who coordinated with Heard.
According to the email, though, Heard was looking for a way to have a deleted passage restored to the article.
The final article never mentioned Depp by name. Instead, Heard was identified as “a public figure representing domestic abuse,” and in another passage she wrote, “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”
Christian Carino, a one-time agent for both Depp and Heard, testified April 27 that Heard’s spousal abuse lawsuit resulted in Hollywood agents and producers wiping Depp from a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel, although he provided no evidence for the claim.
“It is something within the industry that is understood,” Carino told the courtroom. Earlier in the trial, Depp told the court that even if Disney offered him $300 million to appear in a sixth movie in the lucrative franchise, he would reject it.
Also appearing on the stand Wednesday were two Los Angeles police officers who responded to 911 calls at Depp’s penthouse in 2016. Both officers indicated they saw no evidence of bruising or battery when Heard met them at the door. Heard’s lawyers countered that the police officers could not have accurately assessed her condition, given dim lighting and their distance from her.
More:Officer responding to Johnny Depp, Amber Heard fight testifies he saw no injuries on actress
Forensic psychologist Shannon Curry took the stand April 26 to testify on behalf of Depp and delivered her opinion that Heard suffers from both a borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder.
Curry said she came to those conclusions after a dozen hours of interviews with Heard as well as a review of her mental health records.
She described those suffering from borderline disorder as being “driven by an underlying fear of abandonment.” Histrionic disorder is associated with “drama and shallowness” and a need to be the center of attention, and noted that sufferers often were people who are physically attractive and “utilize their looks to get that attention.”
Curry’s testimony would seem to support Depp’s contention that Heard was the aggressor in the relationship. Heard’s attorneys countered that Curry had drinks and dinner with Depp at his home before she was hired. Curry said that was part of the interview process.
More:Psychologist hired by Depp’s team says Amber Heard suffers from histrionic personality disorder
During cross-examination on April 25, Heard attorney J. Benjamin Rottenborn played a series of audio recordings of alleged fights between his client and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star.
“The next move, if I don’t walk away … it’s going to be a bloodbath, like it was on the island,” Depp says on the recording. Later, he yells, “You stupid (expletive)” at her.
Depp winced on the stand as the clips were played, while Heard appeared to fight back tears. Depp wrapped up his time on the stand by revisiting a fight that the actor said resulted in a severed fingertip after Heard threw a vodka bottle at him.
Heard’s attorneys countered with text messages from Depp to his physician in which he said “I have chopped off my left middle finger.” Depp said he was joking, adding that music was his first love and a fingertip is integral to playing guitar. “Why would I ruin the only thing that I was really good at in my life besides my children?” he said.
During court on April 21, Heard’s attorneys sought to undermine Depp by spending hours in court focused on the actor’s drinking, drug use and texts he sent to friends — including one about wanting to kill and defile his then-wife.
Depp’s text messages only bolster his ex-wife’s defense, her lawyers said.
“I, of course, pounded and displayed ugly colors to Amber on a recent journey,” Depp said in a text message to Bettany, in July 2013, which was shown to jurors. “I am an insane person and not so fair headed after too much of the drink,” he continued.
Rottenborn focused on another exchange that year between Depp and Bettany in which Depp wrote: “Let’s burn Amber!!!”
Depp has previously apologized to the jury for the vulgar language in the texts and said that “in the heat of the pain I was feeling, I went to dark places.” He apologized again Thursday. 
Rottenborn also showed the jury one of Depp’s texts to Bettany in 2014 in which he referenced whiskey, pills and cocaine. The texts were written during a period in which Depp said he had stopped drinking. And they were sent around the time of a private flight from Boston to Los Angeles, during which Heard said Depp assaulted her while he was blackout drunk.
Heard has said the first time she was assaulted was when Depp slapped her in 2013 after she made fun of a tattoo he had — one that used to say “Winona Forever” when he was dating the actress Winona Ryder that he altered to “Wino Forever” after they broke up.
“It didn’t happen,” Depp said of the alleged assault when he testified on April 20. “Why would I take such great offense to someone making fun of a tattoo on my body?”
Depp also gave a graphic description of a final fight as the couple drifted toward divorce, accusing Heard and her friends of pretending that he was assaulting her. Soon after, Heard sought a restraining order and was photographed with marks on her face.
The fight had started as Depp said he’d realized it was time for the couple to split. The argument intensified, he said, as Depp accused her of leaving human fecal matter on his side of the bed in the penthouse they’d shared. He said Heard kept denying it, blaming it on their small dogs, but he was convinced she was lying.
In court April 19, Depp shared his side of the story, opening his testimony by calling Heard’s Washington Post story “heinous,” adding “I never struck Ms. Heard in any way, nor have I ever struck any women in my life.” 
Depp added he took the stand to prove Heard’s claims have “no truth to it whatsoever,” and because he feels a responsibility to “stand up for my children,” referring to daughter Lily-Rose, 22, and son Jack, 20. 
He also testified primarily about the early years of his relationship with Heard, saying she seemed “too good to be true” at first. He said there were little things though, that gave him indications of a rocky relationship ahead. And within a year and a half, it was as if Heard had become another person. 
In a video deposition recorded Feb. 22 and played in court April 18, per PeopleVariety and The Washington Post, Depp’s doctor and a nurse recalled treating the actor after ex-wife Heard allegedly threw a vodka bottle at him in 2015. 
Dr. David Kipper said he wasn’t aware how Depp had been injured when cleaning his wounds in Australia, where the actor was filming the fifth installment of “Pirates of the Caribbean.” In July 2020, Depp accused Heard of throwing a bottle at him, which severed the top of his middle finger. 
Heard has denied Depp’s claims, saying he may have injured his finger when he smashed a telephone. Heard’s attorneys have also referred to text messages in which they say Depp acknowledges cutting the finger himself. 
Kipper added that Depp told an emergency room doctor he’d cut his own finger with a knife, according to People. 
Kipper said Heard was present and seemed upset but added he did not notice any physical injuries on her and she did not seek medical attention. Lloyd also testified that at one point in Australia, she saw a bruise on Heard’s arm, according to The Washington Post. Both Kipper and Lloyd said on April 18 that they did not witness physical abuse between the couple.
More:Johnny Depp’s friend rejects Amber Heard’s abuse claim as ‘malicious lie,’ says he never saw bruises
Kate James, a former personal assistant to Heard from 2012 to 2015, said she never saw the actress suffer any physical abuse at the hands of Depp — but she said Heard once spit in her face when she asked for a higher salary.
Heard descended into screaming fits of blind rage, sent incoherent text messages at 4 a.m. and was often drunk and high on illegal drugs, James testified in a video deposition that was played in court April 14.
Depp, on the other hand, was very calm, almost shy, “like a total Southern gentleman,” James said.
James said she was hired with an initial salary of $25 an hour and that her duties ranged from picking up Heard’s dry cleaning to talking with the actress’ Hollywood agents.
James said she also was tasked with picking up two copies of any magazine that featured Heard and storing them in the garage to prevent Depp from seeing them. Heard went into a “blind rage” when James failed to place the magazines in the garage, she said.
Isaac Baruch, a longtime friend and next-door neighbor of Depp, testified April 13 that Heard had told him the movie star threw a phone at her and hit her inside the couple’s Los Angeles penthouse.
But Baruch said he never noticed any evidence of abuse on Heard’s face, both when he first saw her in the hallway or the next day in the sunlit lobby of their art deco-style building.
“She’s got her face out like this to show me, and I’m looking, and I inspect her face,” Baruch said of the encounter in May 2016. “And I don’t see anything. … I don’t see a cut, a bruise, swelling, redness.”
Baruch, a painter,  said Depp has financially supported him, providing him with places to live and giving him about $100,000 over the years.
More:Johnny Depp’s friend rejects Amber Heard’s abuse claim as ‘malicious lie,’ says he never saw bruises
Baruch also testified that he saw security video showing Heard’s sister Whitney throwing a fake punch at Heard’s face while the two waited for an elevator in the building where he and Depp and Heard lived. “And then they start laughing,” he said.
Depp’s attorneys argue that the sisters were practicing for a real punch to feign abuse from Depp.
“You’re going to see who the real Johnny Depp is — behind the fame, behind the pirate costumes,” Heard Rottenborn told the jury during opening statements in the civil trial on April 12. “Because Johnny Depp brought this case, all of this is going to come out.”
He argued that Heard was exercising her First Amendment rights as an advocate when she wrote the article, which focused largely on the broad topic of domestic violence. He also pointed out that the article in question never even mentions Depp’s name.
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“Everyone in Hollywood knew exactly what she was talking about,” countered Johnny Depp’s attorney Benjamin Chew. “Today, Johnny Depp’s name is associated with a lie.” Depp’s team argued that the article is an example of “defamation by implication.”
“You’re going to learn that (Heard) is a profoundly troubled person who manipulated people around her, like she manipulated Mr. Depp,” added Vasquez.  
“She can’t back down. She has been living and breathing this lie for years,” Vasquez said. “She’s going to give the performance of a lifetime in this courtroom.”
Contributing: Marco della Cava, Edward Segarra, Hannah Yasharoff and Amy Haneline, USA TODAY; Matthew Barakat and Ben Finley, The Associated Press


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