Defense witnesses describe Johnny Depp’s behavior as damaging to Amber Heard’s career


Defense witnesses describe Johnny Depp's behavior as damaging to Amber Heard's career

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The jurors in Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s defamation trial heard Thursday from Adam Waldman, one of Depp’s attorneys, whose remarks prompted Heard to counter Depp in 2020 for alleged defamation — one of the complexities in a trial now in its fifth full year Week ends at Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia as the movie stars give mixed accounts of their tumultuous relationship and marriage. Waldman, who was called to the witness stand by Heard’s defense team, did not answer many questions citing attorney-client privilege.

Depp is suing his ex-wife Heard for $50 million, accusing her of defamation over an op-ed she published in the Washington Post in 2018 in which she identified herself as a public figure who advocates domestic violence. Although she didn’t name a perpetrator, Depp claimed the article ruined his reputation and career. He denied all allegations of abuse, instead saying Heard abused him.

Heard is suing Depp for $100 million after Depp’s attorneys said their allegations were false. The counterclaim specifically revolves around several allegations made to the media by Waldman, who described Heard’s allegations as a hoax. She claimed these statements resulted in the loss of career opportunities.

Waldman testified via video testimony Thursday, but declined to answer most questions, including questions about his interactions with the media. However, he refuted a claim that he first reached out to Rolling Stone magazine to write a feature story about Depp’s lawsuit against his former financial executives in 2018. He said Depp contacted the magazine first.

He confirmed that he had made several statements in the media, such as to the Daily Mail, in part: “Amber Heard and her friends in the media use bogus allegations of sexual violence as both a sword and a shield, depending on their needs .” However, he did not want to answer any further questions about his statements. He also testified that he had released two audio recordings for the Daily Mail, although he gave no further details about the recordings.

During cross-examination, he explained why he believes Depp did not abuse Heard — in part by repeating the statements of several witnesses who said they saw no bruising on Heard.

Another Thursday witness, computer programmer and social media forensic expert Ron Schnell, testified that between April 2020 and January 31, 2021, more than 2 million negative tweets were posted towards Heard and that 1 in 4 of those tweets were in some on Waldman referred to Weise — and that negative tweets to Heard continue to reference Waldman. He also said he found a correlation between spikes in the use of negative hashtags towards Heard and the publication of Waldman’s leaked audio.

Heard’s role in the 2018 blockbuster Aquaman wasn’t the boon to her career as it historically should have been, agent Jessica Kovacevic testified Thursday and suggested This negative reporting caused Heard to miss opportunities. “Nobody’s going to say to me, ‘We can’t hire them because of these tweets,’ or whatever. They just don’t want someone who has bad press around them from these allegations,” Kovacevic said. “No one wants that association with their project.”

The defense is also called detective. Marie Sadanaga, who serves as the Los Angeles Police Department’s Domestic Violence Coordinator, to highlight a claim Heard’s team made early in the trial – that the police were negligent in not filing an incident report after they encountered a domestic Engel had reacted to a dispute in Depp and Heard’s penthouse in Los Angeles.

Sadanaga said that even if there is no crime, officials should prepare incident reports if either party fears danger. “We know that when it comes to domestic violence, there are usually a number of incidents that happen, and not all of them are crimes,” she explained. “We document those so in the future if there’s a crime, we can go back and say, ‘There’s been all these other incidents.'”

Earlier in the day, the defense called several of Depp’s former friends and colleagues, who said his behavior had changed as his drug and alcohol use increased.

Bruce Witkin, brother of Depp’s first wife, Lori Anne Allison, said the two were “brothers” until Depp suddenly ended their nearly 40-year friendship four years ago. He “sent me a weird message that I stabbed him in the back,” Witkin said, adding that Depp never explained why he ended the friendship. He said he believed it was related to his testimony in previous court cases.

“He’s pretty much killed everyone in his life, so I was there,” said Tracey Jacobs, an agent who represented Depp for decades and was fired in 2016. Jacobs described Depp as “once the biggest star on earth.” ‘ but said his ‘star has dwindled over the last 10 years’ when he began showing up frequently late to sets and needed an earpiece to provide him with lines. She also testified that Depp asked his talent agency for $20 million in 2016.

Joel Mandel, a former Depp executive, also testified that the actor’s increasing drug and alcohol use, which began around 2010, strained their professional relationship. He also said that Depp had financial problems that peaked in 2015. Depp fired Mandel in 2016 and filed a lawsuit against his company, alleging it had fraudulently and improperly managed his money for two decades, which Mandel denies. The parties reached a settlement in 2018.

The defense also presented some brief recorded video testimonies, including former Heard attorney Michele Mulrooney, who testified that a drunk dork fired her on Heard’s behalf while he used profane insults at her; and psychiatrist Alan S. Blaustein, who said Depp had expressed issues with anxiety and substance abuse to him.

Tina Newman, executive producer at Walt Disney Corp., said she doesn’t know if Depp is being considered for a potential sixth entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, and said she hasn’t heard from any decision-maker at Disney — or outside of it — who have said they won’t be considering Depp for a movie because of Heard’s comment.

Actress Ellen Barkin, a former friend and sexual partner of Depp’s, described the actor in the mid-1990s as “drunk all the time … most of the time” on red wine relationship and recalled Depp’s assistant, whom the actor called “pig.” She also testified that during a fight, Depp threw a wine bottle across a hotel room at a group of people including her.

“He’s just a jealous man,” she said. “Check. … I once had a scratch on my back that made him very, very angry because he insisted that I had sex with a person who wasn’t him.”

Testimony is scheduled to continue on Monday.

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