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Johnny Depp is set to take the stand today in a blockbuster climax to his $50 million defamation suit with ex-wife Amber Heard that has already seen more than its fair share of explosive revelations.
Entering its marathon seventh and final week week, the Pirates of the Caribbean star – who last took the stand two weeks ago – is expected to be called again to undergo cross-examination as a rebuttal witness by Heard’s team of lawyers.
There are conflicting reports of which day the 58-year-old actor will take the stand, with some claiming it will be as soon as today.
Heard herself took to the stand last week to be cross-examined by Depp’s firebrand lawyer Camille Vasquez, who stole the show with her tough questioning of Heard, 36, and tender treatment towards Depp.
Judge Penney Azcarate, presiding over the dramatic Fairfax County case in Virginia, gave each side a total of 61 hours and 15 minutes to present their cases.
As of Monday morning, Heard’s legal team had 8 hours and 14 minutes left, and Depp’s lawyers had 18 hours and 30 minutes left.
Entering its marathon seventh and final week week, the Pirates of the Caribbean star (right) – who last took the stand two weeks ago – is expected to be called again to undergo cross-examination as a rebuttal witness by Heard’s (left) team of lawyers
Actor Johnny Depp arrives in the courtroom on Wednesday, May 18. Johnny Depp is set to take the stand today in a blockbuster climax to his $50 million defamation suit with ex-wife Amber Heard
Depp is expected to be the third witness to speak today, following an anatomy expert and an IPV expert during the last week of the trial, which began on April 11.
Closing arguments for the trial will be heard on Friday, after seven weeks of allegations of drug abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse and death threats.
The move to summon Depp back to the stand has been seen as a brave one by Heard’s team, as his last performance was deemed to be likable and credible in his declaration that he was never abusive towards Heard during their relationship.
Civil attorney Katherine Lizardo said: ‘There is a risk that he is going to have more time being likable on the stand, when it’s actually Amber Heard’s time to present her case.’
She said Depp had a ‘very unique personality,’ and appeared genuine and smiled often, potentially making him appealing to the jury.
The suit kicked off when Depp sued heard for defamation, demanding $50 million in damages from his ex-wife after she penned a Washing Post op-ed in which she claims she described herself as ‘a public figure representing domestic abuse.’
Depp’s lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name, as it falsely portrayed him as a domestic abuser and cost him his lucrative film career, including the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie franchise.
Heard’s team have called a litany of former lovers and friends and witnesses to testify to Depp’s alleged nature as a jealous and drunken abuser who can only blame himself for his nose-diving Hollywood career.
Closing arguments for the trial will be heard on Friday, after seven weeks of allegations of drug abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse and death threats
The move to summon Depp back to the stand has been seen as a brave one by Heard’s team, as his last performance was deemed to be likable and credible in his declaration that he was never abusive towards Heard during their relationship
Since Heard concluded her testimony in a Virginia courtroom Tuesday, her lawyers have presented witness testimony from people who were once close to Depp but shunted from his orbit.
They’ve included Depp’s former longtime agent, the actor Ellen Barkin and Heard’s sister.
Depp has testified that he never struck Heard and that he was the victim of abuse inflicted by his now ex-wife.
Heard´s lawyers counter that Depp did abuse her, both physically and sexually, and that he can’t deny what happened because he was often too intoxicated to remember.
Jurors heard recorded testimony from a mutual friend of the couple, iO Tillett Wright, who said Depp confided to him that he hated sobriety.
‘He wanted to get sober for Amber,’ Tillett Wright said. ‘He didn´t enjoy being sober. It wasn´t fun, and that it was distressing and exhausting and very hard to do. He really, really resented having to be sober.’
Heard herself took to the stand last week to be cross-examined by Depp’s firebrand lawyer Camille Vasquez, who stole the show with her tough questioning of Heard, 36, and tender treatment towards Depp
Actress Ellen Barkin told Johnny Depp’s defamation trial that he once threw a bottle of wine at her and called him a ‘controlling, jealous man’
During her testimony, Henriquez said that during Heard and Depp’s relationship, if the actor was drinking or using drugs, there was ‘almost always a fight’
Tillett Wright said Depp’s personality turned mean and paranoid when he was using alcohol or drugs.
Actor Ellen Barkin, who dated Depp for a few months in in the 1990s, said during her deposition that Depp was ‘always drinking or smoking a joint’ or doing other illegal drugs.
Barkin said that Depp was controlling, jealous and angry. She said Depp would often ask her: ‘Where are you going? Who are you going with? What did you do last night?’
Amber Heard´s sister, Whitney Heard Henriquez, said she personally witnessed Depp hitting Heard. Depp has testified he never struck Heard.
Henriquez testified the fight occurred in March 2015 – a month after Depp and Heard’s wedding – when Heard found evidence that Depp had already had an extramarital affair.
Henriquez recounted that an inebriated Depp blamed Heard for forcing him into the extramarital encounter.
However, Henriquez acknowledged on cross-examination that she sided with Depp at times in their disputes, and said she worked to keep the couple together even after she watched her sister be physically assaulted.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s caustic relationship
February 3, 2015
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard marry in a private civil ceremony at their LA home, four years after they met as co-stars on the set of The Rum Diary. The couple celebrate with a lavish reception on an idyllic private island in the Bahamas that Depp bought in 2004 for $3.6 million.
April 21, 2015
Heard breaches Australia’s biosecurity laws when she and Depp fail to declare their two Yorkshire terriers when they arrive Down Under on a private jet for the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Heard admits falsifying quarantine documents and is placed on a $1,000 one-month good behavior bond.
May 23, 2016
Heard files for divorce after 15 months of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences. Four days later a judge issues a temporary restraining order against Depp over domestic violence allegations. Pictures of Heard’s alleged injuries hit the tabloids but the LAPD finds no evidence of a crime.
August 16, 2016
Depp and Heard reach a $7 million divorce settlement which the actress promises to give to charity. Their marriage was ‘intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,’ the former lovers say in a statement. ‘There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm’.
December 18, 2018
The Washington Post publishes an op-ed by Heard, an ambassador for women’s rights at for the American Civil Liberties Union, urging support for women who suffer domestic violence. ‘Two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,’ reads the headline.
March 1, 2019
Despite not being named in the article, Depp files a $50 million defamation suit in Fairfax Circuit Court, Virginia saying it implied he was an abuser and got him fired from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Depp dismisses Heard’s abuse allegations as a ‘hoax’ and claims he was actually the victim of her violence.
August 10, 2020
Heard countersues for $100 million, claiming vengeful Depp and his lawyer Adam Waldman targeted her with a vicious smear campaign, using media allies and internet trolls to amplify false stories about her and derail her acting career.
November 1, 2020
Depp faces an uphill battle to save his reputation after he loses a libel battle with a British tabloid that labeled him a ‘wife beater’. A judge in London’s rules that The Sun’s 2018 article was ‘substantially true’ and that the father-of-two had attacked Heard a dozen times, causing her to fear for her life on three occasions.
April 11, 2022
After lengthy delays due to the Covid pandemic, the former flames finally lock horns in Fairfax County, Virginia where the Washington Post servers that published the disputed op-ed are based. The trial is expected to last six to seven weeks and celebrities tipped to give evidence include James Franco, Paul Bettany and Ellen Barkin.