The Aquarius star was set to be the opening witness in the defense case, as Deadline exclusively revealed last week. However, as is not uncommon in such investigations, the events have led to a shift in approach. After the testimony of forensic psychologist Dr. Shannon Curry on behalf of Depp on April 26, Heard’s legal team led by Elaine Bredehoft and Ben Rottenborn decided to appoint clinical and forensic psychologist Dr. Dawn Hughes in the stands in Fairfax County, VA first on Tuesday.
Heard will follow Hughes’ testimony in the defense case this week, we were told. Heard representatives had no comment on the schedule change when Deadline reached out to them today.
Heard and Hughes’ respective testimonials come in what is now the fourth week of a planned five-week trial that began on April 11. Washington Post opinion on domestic violence, the much-delayed proceeding will go dark next week as Judge Penny Azcarate attends a previously arranged conference.
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Hired by Depp and his lawyers after a meet-and-greet dinner at the former Pirates of the Caribbean star’s Los Angeles home, the non-board-certified Curry told the court last week that she believes Heard has Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder. That estimate is based primarily on a single 12-hour session between Curry and Heard late last year.
Under heavy pressure from Heard’s side, Curry was relatively calm under cross-examination. Still, Heard’s team has ensured that Curry’s take on Borderline Personality Disorder is word for word the same as the labels Depp has heard Heard slam on audio tapes played before the jury and Azcarate based on arguments between the pair.
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Cited as an expert in “treating victims of intimate partner violence,” Hughes has made her own evaluation of Heard, we understand. In the stands after the Depp side ends their share of the case, Hughes will provide insight into that evaluation in what is expected to be a clear contradiction to Curry’s views on the actress’s mental health.
The change in the witness schedule comes as Heard moved to Shane Communications over the weekend to get her media and PR needs out of the controversial process. Replacing precision strategies, as first reported in the New York Post on Sunday, CEO David Shane comes to this trial who is well versed in most things Depp does. The well-known flack was working with Depp’s ex-business executives The Management Group when the actor sued them in a $25 million fraud case. That January 2017 action suddenly ended with a confidential settlement in July 2018, just weeks before it was due to go to trial.
Back in hearing Monday morning, the Fairfax County Courthouse heard from Depp’s former CAA agent and current talent manager Jack Whigham. Under questioning by Depp’s side via a live video link, the fit and booty Whigham outlined in court how Depp struck a $22.5 million deal to appear in the still-unmade sixth pirates of the caribbean movie. (UPDATED, 09:10: Hesitant under a sharp cross-examination from Bredehoft, Whigham admitted that “it would be fair to say I haven’t seen a document” about Depp’s entry Pirates 6 and “I haven’t even written $22.5 million on a page.” At one point, Whigham tried to shift responsibility to Depp’s former attorney Jacob Bloom. A nice move was that a few years ago, Depp successfully sued the now-retired Bloom for millions the attorney made from the actor’s deals.)
The Pirates 6 figure and statement are particularly noteworthy as Depp claims Heard’s op-ed “destroyed” his career and cost him high-paying roles.
Heard’s team has been pushing to prove Depp had already been sidelined pirates movies starring Disney after his problematic behavior in the 2017 episode Dead men don’t tell stories† They also confirmed with Depp himself during the actor’s testimony that he would not be going back to the franchise even if Disney paid him “$300 million” and more.
On Monday, Whigham, director of Range Media Partners, said the optional $22.5 million payout agreement for Depp on Pirates 6 had “closed” with the help of CAA overlord Bryan Lourd and others before Heard’s op-ed was published. Whigham called the opinion “catastrophic” for Deep’s continued career prospects and went on to say that in early 2019 he learned that Disney was “moving in a different direction” and would no longer work with the previous Oscar nominee on the silent yet unmade film.
Whigham opened the ledger and also told the court how the allegedly tied up Depp got $8 million for City of Lies in 2017, $10 million for his performance in 2017 Murder on the Orient Express$13.5 million for 2018 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and $1 million for the indie of 2019 Waiting for the barbarians†
Earlier today, while both Depp and Heard were watching, the court heard from another Depp guard.
Travis McGivern told the jury and others present at a March 2015 incident where Heard allegedly threw a Red Bull can at her then-husband in a dispute at their downtown LA residence. Later that same evening, McGiern said Heard hit Depp with a “closed fist” as the dispute continued.
McGivern acknowledged Depp’s frequent drug use a decade or so ago and remarkably stated that cocaine has an effect on Depp unlike almost anyone in history. “It evens him out,” said the guard. McGivern also told the court that he had seen Heard “pushing” Depp, but was not necessarily physically abusive.
Still in the service of the pirates actor, the bearded McGivern spoke to the Virginia court via a sometimes glitchy video link from LA. The comments McGivern made today are similar to what he said to a UK court in 2020 during Depp’s failed libel suit against Rupert Murdoch’s The sun tabloid for calling the actor a “wife beater” in print.
The trial continues on Monday with a cross-examination of Whigham. More witnesses from Depp’s side will also participate in the proceedings later today, before their case is expected to be concluded.