People cannot peel their eyes away from the screen as two celebrities go head-to-head in court. The Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation trial continues in Virginia state, which is due to last several weeks.
Johnny Depp v Amber Hear – What for?
Johnny Depp, and his ex-wife, Amber Heard, continue to go through a public and tumultuous legal battle, where Depp has sued Heard for an allegedly defamatory statement that Heard made in her 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, claiming to be a domestic abuse survivor. While there was no mention of his name, Depp sued Heard, claiming that the statement implied that he was the domestic violence abuser. Depp is suing for $50 million in damages and denying any allegations of abuse. The burden rests on Depp to prove that the defamatory statement made was false and that, as a result, it has caused serious harm to his reputation.
Depp’s team claim that the article is undeniably about Depp, given allegations of abuse were splashed across headlines two years prior, following a petition for divorce. Depp’s objective is proving the statement is untrue.
Heard’s team claims the article is not about him, but its purpose was social and cultural awareness and change regarding domestic violence. Additionally, her team will argue that she is entitled to freedom of speech under the First Amendment.
Testimony from Depp’s witnesses
The court hears various testimony from family, friends, employees, and others. A long-time friend of Depp, Isaac Baruch, concurred with testimony given by other witnesses, affirming to never having witnessed Depp abuse Heard.
Heard’s former personal assistant, Katherine James, gave testimony on behalf of Depp where she addresses her own experiences of abuse from Heard during employment and testifies that she too, never observed any abuse from Depp.
Other witnesses testifying on behalf of Depp describe Heard as ‘dramatic,’ ‘dominant,’ and an ‘instigator.’
Calling the professionals
Psychologists and Depp and Heard’s private physician, Dr. Kipper, give expert witness testimony, claiming to see no physical signs of abuse or injuries to Heard. Testimonies also include those that refer to the couple’s relationship as ‘mutual abuse,’ but emphasize that Heard would instigate the fighting and violence with Depp.
Dr. Shannon Curry, a clinical and forensic psychologist who worked with Heard said she suffered from multiple personality disorders, and a test administered identified Heard as someone who possesses traits of cruelty, concerns with image, attention-seeking, and suppressed anger.
LAPD police officers were called to Depp and Heard’s penthouse twice on the same night after an alleged fight in 2016. Both police officers, however, reported that they did not see anything to suggest a crime of violence had been committed.
Depp was sworn in
Depp recalls his childhood abuse from his mother, a history of drug and alcohol abuse, and his relationship with Heard. Depp testifies that disturbing comments made about acts of sexual and physical abuse were untrue. He admits that although the couple would argue, he has never hit her. The accusations made have been detrimental to his career, as Disney recently severed their professional relationship with Depp. A theme brought up throughout the trial has been Depp’s use of drugs and alcohol, but witnesses, as well as Depp, have testified that he was never violent or abusive under the influence. He states that he has, however, suffered physical and verbal abuse from Amber.
The trial continues with more witness testimony and Heard’s evidence.