FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A hand surgeon testified Monday that Johnny Depp could not have lost the tip of his middle finger the way he told jurors in his civil suit against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
The finger injury that occurred between Depp and Heard in Australia in March 2015 was one of several issues in the lawsuit. Depp says he was injured when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him. Heard has said she never saw exactly how it happened, but that it happened one night when an angry dork sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle.
Depp is suing Heard for defamation in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 comment she wrote in the Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure who advocates domestic violence.” His lawyers say he was defamed by the article, although he never mentioned his name.
Depp has denied ever hitting Heard and says she was the perpetrator of the relationship. Heard has testified about more than a dozen counts of physical abuse she allegedly suffered at Depp’s hands.
On Monday, surgeon Richard Moore testified about the severed finger when jurors saw gruesome photos of the injury. He said Depp described having his palm on a pole when it was hit by the bottle.
Moore, who did not treat Depp, testified that Depp’s description was unlikely, in large part because his fingernail remained intact. Moore said the fingernail was exposed when Depp described the placement of his hand and was damaged. Moore also said the rest of his hand would have had other cuts from the glass, which shattered on impact.
While Depp told jurors Heard severed his finger by throwing a vodka bottle, at the time of the accident he was telling people and texting that he did it to himself. He once said the finger had been pinched between solid accordion doors.
Depp now says he lied to protect Heard. Moore testified that pinching the finger in accordion doors would be consistent with the injury.
The process is now in its sixth week. Monday’s testimony was relatively mundane in a trial that has given an ugly glimpse into the couple’s toxic relationship. There was an expectation that Heard’s attorneys would call Depp to the witness stand Monday, but that didn’t materialize. Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, said at the end of the day Monday that they are still debating whether to call him.
The jury had already heard extensively from Depp and Heard – each on the witness stand for four days and subjected to grueling cross-examination.
Also on Monday, a psychiatrist testified that Depp’s behavior fits the pattern of someone whose drug and alcohol abuse contributes to domestic violence.
Depp’s attorney, Wayne Dennison, questioned the ethics and credibility of the psychiatrist’s opinions because he had never examined Depp.
Later Monday, Dennison questioned another Heard witness, entertainment expert Kathryn Arnold, at length about her claim that Heard lost a potential $40 million to $50 million when another Depp attorney called Heard’s abuse allegations a “hoax.” Heard has filed counterclaims against Depp based on these statements.
Arnold said she compared Heard’s career to “comparable” stars like Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa and Zendaya to show where Heard’s career would have gone had Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman not defamed her.
Dennison scoffed at the idea that Heard was in the same league as these stars during his questioning. He also turned down Heard’s role as Mera in the superhero film series Aquaman, saying that the forthcoming Aquaman sequel is more of a “buddy comedy” than a film in which Heard will play a romantic lead.
Heard “was on the brink of a great career,” Arnold said.
The trial has attracted increasing public attention over its duration. People camped out overnight, fighting for places in line as they tried to get one of the 100 courtroom seats allocated to the public. During a morning break, a woman professed her love for Depp and asked when he would acknowledge that he was the father of the baby she was holding.
She was removed from the courtroom.