Lawyers for Johnny Depp aimed on Monday to undercut Amber Heard’s credibility, placing front-and-center in their opening salvo on cross-examination an audio recording of Heard saying that people would never believe that she was the abuser in their relationship.
The testimony came after Heard wrapped up her case, detailing over several days on the stand violent altercations in which she says she was beaten and raped by a belligerent Depp. Heard has testified that her ex-husband coordinated a campaign to smear her once she publicly alleged that he abused her.
Asked about the recording of herself encouraging Depp to “tell the world” and “see what a jury and judge thinks” of his claim that she abused him, Heard responded she was in disbelief that Depp would make such a “preposterous” position in the defamation trial.
“Or, like you said, who’s going to believe Johnny Depp, a man, is a victim of domestic violence?” questioned Camille Vasquez, representing Depp.
Heard replied, “With all due respect, I wasn’t saying it because he’s a man but because he’s a man who beat me up for five years.”
The central question of the trial in Virginia state court is whether Heard defamed her ex-husband in an op-ed published in The Washington Post that didn’t name Depp but correlated with their time together. She described herself in the column as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Depp sued for $50 million over the piece, alleging that he’s being boycotted by Hollywood over what he’s called a hoax orchestrated by his ex-wife, who countersued for $100 million.
The trial has rarely touched on specifics of the disputed op-ed, mainly exploring intimate details of the former couple’s relationship through clashing accounts of physical altercations and Depp’s drug use. Heard has presented numerous photos she took of herself after fights with Depp documenting instances of abuse.
After Heard wrapped up her direct testimony Monday, Depp’s lawyers challenged why photos of Heard after alleged instances of abuse don’t show any visible injuries. The questions revolved around altercations in March 2013, when Heard said Depp hit her with a fist full of rings, and in May 2014, when Heard said that Depp had broken her nose.
Vasquez showed the jury a photo taken the night after Heard said she broke her nose, questioning why it didn’t look like she was injured. “That’s why I’m wearing makeup,” Heard responded.
After Vasquez asked whether she’s displayed photos of the injury without makeup, Heard said, “I’d very much like to,” which prompted Depp’s lawyers to object.
Heard’s testimony has been repeatedly cut short by objections from Depp’s team. The judge called for private talk with lawyers on both sides after Heard continued to reference evidence that wasn’t allowed into the trial.
In another contentious exchange, Heard was questioned on whether she followed through on her pledge to donate the entirety of her $7 million divorce settlement with Depp to the American Civil Liberties Union and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
“I use pledge and donation synonymously with one another,” Heard replied. “They are the same thing.”
After Vasquez asked the question again, the actress said, “That’s how donations are paid.”
Heard has maintained throughout the trial that the donation was expected to paid over a 10-year period but that she had to stop paying due to litigation costs. The ACLU has corroborated Heard’s testimony.
Before cross-examination, Heard continued to present her case that Depp defamed her by calling her accusations a hoax. She was asked about a statement from Adam Waldman, one of Depp’s lawyers who was thrown off the case after leaking to the press information covered by a protective order, claiming she “set Mr. Depp up by calling the cops.” The claim concerns a visit from law enforcement to the couple’s house in which Heard refused to press charges against Depp for domestic violence.
“This couldn’t be more false,” Heard said of Waldman’s statement. “If I wanted a hoax, why wouldn’t I cooperate with the police? Wouldn’t I say something to the police? Wouldn’t I do more damage to the house than just knock over things you saw pictures of? It makes no sense.”
Heard also testified that she was almost dropped from Aquaman 2 after Depp started denying the abuse allegations. She said action sequences featuring her character were cut.
According to Heard, she agreed to a three-picture option for her character in Aquaman. She was paid $2 million to reprise her role in Aquaman 2, which was the last movie under her contract.
Trial will continue with cross-examination of Heard on Tuesday.