A lawyer for Johnny Depp tried to discredit his ex-wife Amber Heard’s abuse allegations during Tuesday’s cross-examination by confronting her with audio recordings of the couple’s arguments, as well as text messages and love letters the lawyer had suggested the woman show. Heard of being an unreliable witness.
As Ms. Heard finished her testimony in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia, attorney Camille Vasquez challenged Ms. Heard’s claims that she only ever hit Mr. Depp in defense. Ms Vasquez played footage of an argument some years ago in which Ms Heard admitted “I started a physical fight” and called Mr Depp a “baby”.
Ms. Heard testified that in this incident she only hit him because he was trying to “burst” into the bedroom, where she was trying to hide from him.
“I accused him of being a baby because he complained that I hit him when he tried to get through the door I was trying to barricade,” she testified Tuesday.
Ms Heard, 36, is in a tense legal battle with Mr Depp, 58, over competing defamation lawsuits and has spent several hours during the trial sharing their accounts of repeated physical abuse during their relationship, as well as multiple sexual assaults. Mr Depp has denied ever hitting or sexually assaulting her and has accused her of being the perpetrator in the relationship.
Mr Depp sued Ms Heard three years ago over a comment published in the Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure who advocates domestic violence”. Ms Heard countered Mr Depp, saying his former lawyer defamed her by calling her abuse allegations a hoax.
During part of her questioning, Ms Vasquez questioned a report on the aftermath of an incident in Australia in 2015 in which, according to Ms Heard, Mr Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle and hit her while intoxicated with MDMA. Ms Heard testified that she had a bruised jaw as well as cuts on her arms and feet from broken glass on the floor after Mr Depp’s attack.
“There isn’t a single medical record that reflects the treatment of any of these injuries, is there, Ms. Heard?” asked Ms. Vasquez.
“I didn’t seek treatment,” Ms. Heard replied.
Mr Depp has testified that he was the person who was injured that night when Ms Heard threw a vodka bottle, hit his hand and severed part of his finger. Ms Heard said he injured his finger by smashing a wall-mounted phone in anger; Ms Vasquez pointed to a lack of photographic evidence of the broken phone or the injuries Ms Heard said she sustained that night.
Ms Heard said the documentation of the abuse was incomplete because she only started taking pictures of her injuries “on the side” when she wanted to show a friend or her mother. She never imagined a lawsuit like this, she said.
Ms Vasquez also provided a declaration of love that Ms Heard wrote to Mr Depp about two months after the incident in Australia, which included the line: “I have seen in you the true bones of friendship and respect.”
Ms Heard said the couple were on a “honeymoon period” at the time.
As in Mr Depp’s testimony, Ms Heard’s cross-examination included a broadcast of insults she had hurled at him during the altercation. In one recording, Ms Heard can be heard calling it a “sell out” and a “joke”. She admitted on the stand that she called him “horrible, ugly things,” noting that he called their names as well. (In their lawyers’ cross-examination of Mr Depp, they circulated several text messages to others in which he referred to Ms Heard, using insults and profanity, including being labeled a “worthless hooker.”)
The focus of the case is the comment, and Ms Vasquez tried to establish that even if Ms Heard did not mention Mr Depp by name in the article, it was clear that the issue was their relationship. Ms Heard confirmed that when she said she was a “public figure representing domestic violence”, she was referring to the granting of a restraining order against Mr Depp in 2016.
Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard
In the courtroom. A defamation case involving formerly married actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is currently pending in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia. Here’s what you should know about the case:
At one point, Ms. Vasquez focused on the article’s headline: “I spoke out against sexual violence — and faced the wrath of our culture. That needs to change.” Ms Heard denied writing the headline, testifying that the Washington Post did not consult her about it and said she had no intention of publishing her allegations of sexual assault in that op-ed. When she tweeted the op-ed, Ms Heard testified that she didn’t know what the headline said.
“Not very careful about what you publish, are you, Ms. Heard?” asked Ms. Vasquez.
“I just didn’t catch the title,” she said.
After Ms Heard left the booth, the jury heard a recorded testimony from iO Tillett Wright, a former friend of the couple, who said he never saw either of them hit the other. But he said he saw injuries to her scalp in 2015, shortly after a fight in which Ms Heard said Mr Depp pulled out her hair.
Throughout Ms Heard’s testimony, which took place over four days of the hearing, Mr Depp averted his focus from his ex-wife on the witness stand, often staring at a screen in front of him. On Monday, Ms Vasquez said he looked away from her because he promised her she would never see his eyes again.
But during Tuesday’s relay, one of Ms Heard’s lawyers, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, asked her why she thought Mr Depp avoided looking at her.
“Because he’s guilty, because he knows he’s lying,” Ms Heard said. “Why else can’t he look at me?”