WARNING: This article contains allegations of physical and sexual violence that some readers may find distressing.
Court proceedings in the defamation trial opposing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard will be on hiatus this week. Judge Penney Azcarate is attending a conference and informed both parties and the jury of the break at the start of the trial.
Heard is being sued by Depp for $50m for implying he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Although she didn’t name him, he claims her allegations impacted his ability to work.
At the end of last week, both sides issued statements of confidence in how proceedings are going.
Heard will continue giving testimony on 16 May. She has already spoken extensively about her troubled relationship with Depp and detailed alleged physical fights. The court heard a harrowing account of an alleged sexual assault on Heard during a brutal and bloody altercation in Australia in 2015.
According to reporting by Law & Crime, Depp will also be called back to the witness stand as part of Heard’s case. The jury will also hear from Whitney Henriquez, Heard’s sister, and actor Ellen Barkin, with whom Depp had a brief relationship in the 1990s.
ICYMI: Trial shown body cam video of Amber Heard domestic violence call
The court in the trial between Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard was shown body camera footage from LAPD officers from a domestic violence call at the LA penthouse where Ms Heard was staying on 21 May 2016.
This was the last confrontation between Depp and Heard before she took out a restraining order against him and filed for divorce.
It is expected that Heard will testify about this night at the Eastern Columbia Building and the steps taken to end the marriage when the trial resumes on Monday.
Testimony recap: Isaac Baruch, Depp’s friend and neighbour
Isaac Baruch, a long-time friend of Johnny Depp, was the second person to testify at the trial when it began in mid-April. Having known the actor since they were teenagers, Mr Baruch played in bands with Depp and worked for him at The Viper Room nightclub in Los Angeles before becoming an artist.
Later Mr Baruch took up residence in one of Depp’s five penthouses at the Eastern Columbia Building in Downtown Los Angeles and therefore was present for some of the incidents described in court.
ICYMI: Heard only gave ACLU half of promised $3.5m donation, court told
Terence Dougherty, the chief operating officer and general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), appeared at the couple’s multi-million dollar defamation trial via a pre-recorded deposition filmed in December of last year.
Mr Dougherty said that $350,000 was paid directly by Ms Heard, $100,000 was paid through Mr Depp, $500,000 was paid through a donor-advised fund, and that $350,000 was also paid via a donor-advised fund – for a total donation of $1.3m.
ICYMI: Court told Heard ‘wanted to add more detail about Johnny Depp’ in op-ed
Amber Heard purportedly wanted a section pointing to her relationship with Johnny Depp put back into her 2018 op-ed on domestic violence after edits were made by lawyers to remove references to the marriage, the jury in the couple’s defamation trial learned during testimony from the chief operating officer of the ACLU.
The op-ed is at the very centre of the trial.
Terence Dougherty, the chief operating officer and general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), appeared in court via a pre-recorded deposition filmed in December of last year. He spoke about how in-house counsel for the ACLU helped draft and review Ms Heard’s op-ed.
Gustaf Kilander has the details.
Actors release duelling statements expressing confidence in trial progress
Following incendiary testimony by Ms Heard last Thursday, in which she claimed Mr Depp sexually assaulted her, a spokesperson for Mr Depp said in a statement released to media outlets that “as Mr Depp’s counsel correctly predicted in their opening statements last month, Ms Heard did indeed deliver ‘the performance of her life’ in her direct examination”.
A spokesperson for Ms Heard told The Independent that “as evidenced by the statement just released, Mr Depp’s defamation claim is falling apart so rapidly that his counsel are turning from prosecutor to persecutor”.
Gustaf Kilander has more on what Team Depp and Team Heard had to say at the close of week four of the trial.
Key revelations so far in the trial
Court will resume at 9am on 16 May with Judge Penney Azcarate again presiding, as Ms Heard continues her testimony for a third day.
A lot has already been revealed about the couple and their lives, both together and apart. Here’s what was learned by the end of week four of the trial.
‘Actual malice’, strong testimony, and the court of public opinion
Clémence Michallon spoke with three lawyers to get their opinions on the Depp v Heard trial so far.
Depp to return to witness stand
The actor has already testified as part of the prosecution against Heard. The court is currently on a hiatus midway through her testimony as part of the defence case.
Law & Crime reports that Depp will be called back as part of Ms Heard’s case. Other testimony will be given by Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez and actor Ellen Barkin.
Tears, sex scenes and James Franco: Depp v Heard trial – Week 4
Death threats, taunting Depp fans, shirts branding her a liar: What Amber Heard faces during trial
In 2018, Amber Heard wrote about ‘culture’s wrath’ for women who speak out about sexual violence. More than three years later, that wrath is playing out both within and outside of the courtroom, writes Rachel Sharp.