Amber Heard’s now-famous opinion column on domestic violence was written for her, and the actress wanted to include details of her marriage against the advice of a lawyer, a jury has been told – as more than Details of the day Johnny Depp cut his finger were also revealed in court. .
Jurors in the libel suit brought by Depp versus Heard listened to testimony from Terence Dougherty, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who told the court that a staffer wrote the first version of the Washington Post article under the name of the actress and that adjustments had been made to avoid making a direct link with her ex-husband.
The editorial, which was published in December 2018, did not mention Depp by name, but he told the court it was clearly about him and it ruined his Hollywood career. Although he was the catalyst for this whole affair, very little testimony so far relates to the column itself – but rather to the “soap” of the stars’ personal lives that Heard’s lawyers had predicted would happen. ‘it would become opening day.
Mr Dougherty was the first witness on Day 11 of evidence in the case, which also included testimony from Depp’s business manager Edward White, his security guard Malcolm Connolly and driver and assistant Starling Jenkins III.
Here are some of the key moments from the 11th day of testimony:
• The court was told details of how Amber Heard’s opinion column and those involved were written – and when it was timed to coincide with the release of her hit movie Aquaman for maximum publicity
• Doubts have been raised that the amount of her $7million divorce settlement, which she pledged to donate to the ACLU and a children’s hospital, will actually go to organizations
• Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk weighed in on donation talks, with Mr Dougherty saying he believed the billionaire helped Heard’s payments
• Jury heard details of Depp’s $160,000 one-time wine bill – though now said to be closer to zero
• Depp’s security guard told court he would sometimes see marks on Depp’s face, not Heard’s – and identified one in a photo
• Catch up on what has been said so far in our live coverage of the trial as it happens
The day began with Heard’s connection to the ACLU, and the court heard that she had been announced as an ambassador for the organization at the same time the Washington Post article was published.
During his testimony, Mr. Dougherty answered questions about the back and forth that occurred between the first draft and the publication of the column.
How was the Washington Post editorial set up?
Mr. Dougherty told the court that it was actually an ACLU staffer who wrote an early draft of the article and sent it to Heard. “I tried to pull together your fire and rage and a really interesting analysis and turn it into an op-ed,” the staffer said in an email.
Heard reviewed it with his attorneys, and ACLU attorneys also reviewed it at various stages — all to make sure it didn’t violate a nondisclosure agreement Heard had signed as part of his divorce.
During those discussions, Heard sent back an edited version approved by his attorneys that “specifically castrated much of the copy regarding his marriage,” according to an email from another ACLU employee who coordinated with the actress.
According to the email, Heard was looking for a way to restore a deleted passage in the article. Mr Dougherty testified that “the language that ended up in the final editorial was very different from the original language” in the draft.
It was also timed to coincide with the release of Aquaman, in which Heard co-starred with Jason Momoa, to capitalize on publicity, the court heard.
Where did the $7 million divorce settlement go?
After Depp and Heard broke up, the actress has pledged to split her $7 million divorce settlement between the ACLU and a children’s hospital in Los Angeles.
However, doubts have been cast over the donations, with the court hearing saying the ACLU has so far only received $1.3 million of the $3.5 million pledged; hospital details were not given.
Mr Dougherty testified that the organization expected the money to arrive over a 10-year period, but that Heard had not made any contributions since 2018. However, Heard’s lawyer pointed out that this coincided with the filing of the lawsuit against Depp – an expensive undertaking.
He also told the court he believed tech entrepreneur Elon Musk – who was in a relationship with Heard after splitting from Depp – paid $500,000 of the $1.3 million the organization received. “Yeah, we don’t know that with absolute certainty, but that’s our organization’s understanding,” he said.
“Everything is moving…I could see the bone”
Despite discussing serious incidents and allegations, live video-link evidence from security guard Malcolm Connolly provided lighter moments during Thursday’s hearing.
He detailed what he saw in March 2015 the day he showed up at Depp’s rented house in Australia and found the actor had seriously injured his finger – an injury the actor told him. -even described as “grotesque” and which came up several times during the trial. already.
He told the court he arrived in ‘chaos’ and Heard was ‘screaming’ and calling Depp, who was nursing his hand, a ‘cowardly f******’ as he left. He says he drove Depp to his own apartment and later they went to the hospital.
“The actor’s finger was just a mess” and like a “cartoon”, he told the court. “Everything is moving…I could see bones.”
Asked by one of Heard’s legal team if Depp was trying to urinate on the floor when he arrived at the house, Mr Connolly replied ‘no’. After being told repeatedly that the actor was trying to urinate and ‘pulled his penis out’, he interrupted: ‘I think I would remember if I had seen Mr. Depp’s penis’ – this which had the actor and others in the courtroom laughing.
‘He entered a door, or a door entered him’
Mr Connolly told the court he had never seen any physical injuries on Heard. When asked if he had seen any on Depp, he said yes. It “started with a scratch every now and then, but it kept going,” he told the jury.
Elaborating, Mr Connolly said he saw marks such as scratches, a big lip or bruising around the eye socket.
“It was getting more regular. Not every week, but it was definitely happening,” he said.
The court was shown a photograph of Depp and Heard’s honeymoon on the Orient Express from Bangkok to Singapore. Mr Connolly said he took the photo and it showed swelling under Depp’s left eye.
“He walked into a door, or a door went into him,” Mr Connolly said, when asked what his interpretation of the swelling was.
Heard alleges that Depp was violent on that trip, which he denied.
One more thing we learned on day 11
Depp’s business manager Edward White told the court when he started working with the actor in 2016 his financial situation was “difficult” but plans were in place to turn things around.
The court was told at some point towards the end of his marriage to Heard, Depp had a $160,000 wine bill – but that’s down to “virtually zero” now.
When will Heard speak?
According to Court TV, which is filming the trial live, Heard is expected to start giving evidence next week – which makes sense as it’s halfway through.
They also say star witnesses who were scheduled to testify – such as Musk, James Franco and Paul Bettany – may no longer appear.
Depp vs. Heard: The Context
Depp is suing his ex-wife for $50m (£38.2m), over the op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, which her lawyers claim falsely implicates that he physically and sexually assaulted her. Heard has issued a counterclaim for $100m (£76.4m).
The former couple began dating after meeting on the set of 2011 film The Rum Diary and married in Los Angeles in February 2015.
The UK lawsuit against The Sun – what happened?
Why are Depp and Heard in court again?
Heard’s Washington Post article didn’t mention Depp by name, but was headlined, “I spoke out against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath.” Depp told the court it was clear the article was about him and he wanted to clear his name.
The trial in Fairfax County, Va., has now been going on for three weeks and is expected to last six weeks in total, with a one-week break in May.
In opening statementsThe actor’s lawyers said his ex was preparing for “the performance of a lifetime” during the trial, while his legal team said the case would expose the “real” person behind the “fame” and ” pirate costume”.
The trial does not sit on Fridays and therefore continues on Mondays.