Security guard testifies in Johnny Depp libel case against Amber Heard

The lawsuit over Johnny Depp’s $50 Million Defamation Charge against ex-wife Amber Heard resumed Monday with testimony from a man who worked as a security guard for Depp. Travis McGivern described hearing of arguments between the pair as they returned from a trip to Australia in March 2015, “I wouldn’t say every night, but every other night, several times a week.”

Heard has accused Depp of physically and sexually abusing her before and during their short marriage. He then sued her for defamation after she wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in 2018 in which she represents herself as a “public figure who represents domestic violence.”

She never mentioned Depp by name in the op-ed, but his lawyers argued it was a clear reference to allegations Heard made in 2016 when she sought a restraining order against him.

In Monday’s testimony, McGivern said he witnessed “a lot of profanity, a lot of f-bombs,” which he said were typical of “Miss Heard directing her feelings toward Mr. Depp.” He also described an argument in which “I saw Miss Heard from her position throw a Red Bull can which hit Mr Depp in the back.”

“That’s when I got closer to Mr. Depp,” he said. “I didn’t care that I was in the middle of their conversation at the time. I didn’t want my client to be hit by anything else, so I stood right next to Mr. Depp. The verbal attack continued from both of them. Depp gave up on that moment as best he could. He was angry and agitated. At one point, Miss Heard threw something else, either a wallet or some kind of purse or something she had up there. I could knock it away so it didn’t hit him. At one point she spat at him.’

Last week, the jurors heard about the opinion in the middle of the case. Terence Dougherty, general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), testified on Thursday that the group drafted the article under Heard’s name, reflecting her role as an ACLU ambassador on gender violence.

Depp says: the allegations and article contributed to an unfairly ruined reputation that made him a Hollywood pariah and cost him his role in the lucrative movie franchise “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

He testified that he was pulled from the franchise just days after the play was in Post. At the cross-examination, Heard’s attorney pointed to evidence that Disney had made that decision months before the article’s publication.

Depp sued the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia after the article was published. During his four-day testimony in April, he said he had never hit Heard and that he had never hit a woman. He accused Heard of physical and emotional abuse and she has filed a $100 million counterclaim against him.

Dougherty of the ACLU testified that numerous attorneys for the organization reviewed the article at various stages and asked Heard’s attorneys to review the piece as well to ensure it doesn’t violate a nondisclosure agreement she had with Depp in related to the couple’s divorce in 2016.

Depp Heard Lawsuit
Amber Heard speaks with her attorney in the courtroom of the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, May 2, 2022.

Steve Helber / AP

During those discussions, Heard returned an edited version approved by her attorneys that “specifically neutered a large portion of the copy related to her marriage,” according to an email from Jessica Weitz, an ACLU employee who worked with Heard. coordinated.

However, according to the email, Heard was looking for a way to restore a deleted passage in the article.

The various drafts of the articles were not shown to the jury, so it’s not clear how much personal detail was in the first draft and how much Heard’s lawyers had cut out.

But the final version contains very little about Heard’s personal experiences. There is no mention of Depp at all. In addition to the passage about “a public figure who represents domestic violence,” she writes in another passage, “I had the rare vantage point of seeing in real time how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”

Much of the article discusses legislative priorities for domestic violence prevention advocates. Other passages refer to parts of her personal life that have nothing to do with Depp.

Dougherty testified that “the language that ended in the last op-ed was very different from the original language,” Dougherty said. “It didn’t refer directly to Ms. Heard’s relationship with Johnny Depp.”

While the trial should have ended whether Depp has been defamed in the article, very little testimony in the first three weeks leading up to Thursday relates to the article itself or its contents. Heard’s lawyers predicted at the beginning of the trial that it would be a mud-slinging soap opera that would delve into messy details of Depp and Heard’s personal lives.

However, Heard’s attorneys have said that even if the jury believed she was never abused by Depp, Heard should still prevail in the lawsuit because the article doesn’t deal with Depp, doesn’t defame him, and Heard’s freedom of speech allows her. to contribute ideas on matters of public interest, such as domestic violence.

Much of Dougherty’s testimony also centered on whether Heard fulfilled a promise to donate $3.5 million — half of her $7 million divorce settlement with Depp — to the ACLU. Dougherty testified that the ACLU has awarded her $1.3 million so far and expects the money to come in over a 10-year period, but she has made no contributions since 2018.

Jurors also briefly heard from Depp’s business manager, Ed White. White said he intervened in 2016 to resolve financial problems for Depp, including unpaid taxes and a cash shortfall. When he blamed Heard for an outrageous wine bill containing multiple $500 bottles of Spanish Vega Sicilia wine, Heard’s lawyers responded with a barrage of questions about Depp’s excesses, including spending millions of dollars on the ashes. by journalist Hunter S. Thompson shooting from a cannon.

Depp and Heard met while filming “The Rum Diary,” an adaptation of a Thompson novel. Depp previously testified that he and Thompson were friends, and that Depp actually found the lost “Rum Diary” manuscript when he flipped through Thompson’s papers.

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