Johnny Depp trial live: Amber Heard to testify as first defence witness next week as petition to remove actress from Aquaman 2 gains traction

Depp v Heard trial: Most dramatic moments so far

The third week of testimony trial in Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard has concluded in Fairfax, Virginia.

Heard is being sued by Depp for $50m (£38.2m) for implying he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed.  Although she did not name him, he claims her allegations made it difficult for him to land movie roles.

On Thursday the court heard from Depp’s security guard Starling Jenkins, who gave his account of an incident in which faeces was found in the couple’s bed. Mr Jenkins said that Heard described the incident as a “practical joke gone wrong”.

Further testimony came from Terence Dougherty, general counsel and COO of the ACLU, who explained the group’s history with Heard regarding donations and the preparation of her op-ed in conjunction with her lawyers.

Heard is yet to testify and provide her own account of the relationship, but is expected to take the stand next week. Much anticipated testimony from Elon Musk, who dated Heard, and actor James Franco, whom Depp believed had an affair with her, will not happen, a source told The Independent.


Recap: ACLU says Heard has not donated all of promised sums

The ACLU’s Terence Dougherty told the court on Thursday that his organisation had not received all of the promised $3.5m donation from Ms Heard’s $7m divorce settlement.

She was put forward as an ambassador for the ACLU following the pledge to provide such a large donation but he added that the full amount hadn’t been sent by the time of the deposition, although she is due to pay the rest of the sum within a 10 year period.

“Ms Heard spoke with such clarity and expertise on issues of gender-based violence, that [ACLU representatives] decided she would be an appropriate person to ask to become an ACLU ambassador,” Mr Dougherty said.

As Gustaf Kilander writes, the ACLU’s support for Ms Heard lead to the article at the centre of the trial involving Mr Depp:

Gino Spocchia2 May 2022 09:00


Heard fires PR team over ‘bad headlines’ days before taking stand

Amber Heard fired her public relations team on Thursday (28 April) over the onslaught of “bad headlines” amid the ongoing trial.

On Sunday (1 May), it was reported that Heard, who is being sued by Depp over a 2018 op-ed implying he abused her, had terminated her working relationship with crisis PR firm Precision Strategies last week.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, the New York Post reported that Heard had grown frustrated with the bad press she was getting since the trial began last month.

Read the full story here:

Maanya Sachdeva2 May 2022 07:30


Petition to remove Amber Heard from Aquaman sequel nears 3 million signatures

The petition to remove Amber Heard from Aquaman 2 is nearing its goal of three million signatures as the defamation trial brought by Johnny Depp continues.

The DC sequel, in which Heard stars as Aquaman’s (Jason Momoa) love interest Mera, concluded shooting earlier this year, with director James Wan confirming the film was wrapped up in January. Aquaman 2 is scheduled for release in March 2023.

On Monday (2 May), and at the time of writing, the petition had surpassed 2.9 million signatures. It was set up by fans who claim that Heard “has systematically crusaded to ruin Depp in Hollywood” since the couple divorced in 2016.

Read the full story here:

Maanya Sachdeva2 May 2022 06:58


Recap: Depp laughs at penis question

Mr Depp laughed in court on Thursday after his bodyguard was asked if he had seen the actor’s penis when accompanying him to Australia in 2015.

“I think I would remember if I’d seen Mr Depp’s penis,” the bodyguard, Macolm Connelly said, prompting laughter from Mr Depp and other court attendees.

It came after lawyers for Ms Heard said Mr Depp was trying to urinate “in the foyer” of the property and “had his penis out” at the time.

Sravasti Dasgupta reports:

Gino Spocchia2 May 2022 06:00


Recap: What did Depp say during his testimony?

While Ms Heard will take the stand on Monday, her former husband has already done so.

Mr Depp first took the stand on Tuesday 19 April, then kept testifying every day up until the end of Thursday 21 April. Proceedings paused on Friday 22 April, then over the weekend, and picked up again on 25 April.

Here’s everything we know from his testimonies:

Gino Spocchia2 May 2022 04:30


Lawyers for Heard believe she will prevail

When jurors heard about The Washington Post article in court on Thursday, it was the first time the story had been mentioned in detail in the three weeks of testimonies and statements.

That is, despite the trial being about Mr Depp’s claims he was defamed in the article, which did not mention him, but Ms Heard’s alleged experience of being a victim of abuse.

Her lawyers reportedly believe that in the end, if the jury does decide Mr Depp is right, she will still prevail because of the importance of the issue of domestic violence, and also because it did not name him.

She is expected to testify herself next week in court. Mr Depp has already done so.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Gino Spocchia2 May 2022 03:00


‘The Deppites and the Heardians’

“For the Deppites and the Heardians, it feels as if a member of their own tribe or family are in peril in court”, writes Sean O’Grady of fans of their pair.

“The fans feel their pain, not because they have to to, as parties to the arguments, but because they want to”.

Gino Spocchia2 May 2022 01:30


Will James Franco and Elon Musk testify?

While Ms Heard’s legal team had included James Franco and Elon Musk on its list of potential witnesses ahead of the trial, with both appearing via video link, neither will now stand.

On Thursday morning, nearing the close of the third week of the trial, The Independent received confirmation that neither the Tesla CEO nor the actor are expected to take the stand. No reasoning was provided.

Gino Spocchia2 May 2022 00:00


Recap: Couple’s agent says Depp didn’t lose out from article

The pair’s former agent said Mr Depp did not lose out on film roles as a result of an article Ms Heard wrote in 2018, despite accusing her of causing him to lose out on film roles.

When asked if Mr Depp’s off-screen reputation was impacted by the article, talent agent Christian Carino said “no.”

Depp didn’t lose any film roles as a result of Heard op-ed, couple’s agent says

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s former agent has testified that Mr Depp did not lose out on film roles as a result of an article Ms Heard wrote in 2018.Mr Depp is suing his ex-wife for $50 million. Ms Heard did not name Mr Depp in the article, but his lawyers have said that the article made it difficult for him to land film roles.When asked if Mr Depp’s off-screen reputation was impacted by the article, talent agent Christian Carino said “no.”Click here to sign up to our newsletters.

Gino Spocchia1 May 2022 22:30


Recap: What happened in court this week?

On Thursday, the jury heard from Terence Dougherty, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who, drafted The Washington Post article at the centre of the lawsuit and trial.

The campaign group published the piece, which was on the subject of sexual assault, under Ms Heard’s name, reflecting her role as an ACLU ambassador on gender violence issues. 

Mr Dougherty recalled how there was push-and-pull between lawyers for the ACLU and Ms Heard, who allegedly wanted to restore deleted lines about her marriage with Mr Depp to the piece.

The final version, however, did not mention Mr Depp by name. He went on to sue his former wife for $50m, leading to today’s trial.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Gino Spocchia1 May 2022 21:00

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