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Johnny Depp's lawyer questions Amber Heard's abuse claims as cross-examination in libel trial continues

Lawyers for Johnny Depp questioned the truthfulness of his ex-wife Amber Heard's claim that Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle as Heard was cross-examined Tuesday following her testimony in Depp's libel suit against her.

Lawyer focuses on ex-couple's March 2015 fight in Australia as trial enters 5th week

Actors Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, watch the jury arrive in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., on Tuesday. Depp sued Heard, his ex-wife, for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in the Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a 'public figure representing domestic abuse.' (Brendan Smialowski/The Associated Press)

WARNING: This story contains details of intimate partner violence.

Lawyers for Johnny Depp questioned the truthfulness of his ex-wife Amber Heard's claim that Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle as Heard was cross-examined Tuesday after her testimony in Depp's libel suit against her.

Depp is suing Heard in Virginia's Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post describing herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse."

His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name. The trial is now in its fifth week.

Depp's lawyer, Camille Vasquez, questioned Heard about a variety of incidents in which she says she was assaulted by Depp.

Questioning was particularly intense over a March 2015 fight the couple had in Australia, shortly after they were married, while Depp was shooting a fifth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Judge Penney Azcarate speaks to lawyers from the bench at the trial on Tuesday. (Brendan Smialowski/The Associated Press)

It was during that fight that Heard says she was sexually assaulted. Depp, on the other hand, says he was the victim, and that he lost the tip of his middle finger when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him.

Vasquez questioned why Heard never sought medical attention, even though she said her feet were cut by broken glass and she was bleeding after the attack.

"You're the one who assaulted someone with a bottle in Australia, isn't that right, Ms. Heard?" Vasquez asked.

"I didn't assault Johnny in Australia. I didn't assault Johnny ever," Heard responded.

Vasquez then questioned why Heard wrote a series of love notes to Depp in the months after she was assaulted.

Heard has said she believed Depp had hit rock bottom after the Australia fight and was committed to sobriety. She has said most of the assaults occurred while Depp was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

"When things were good, they were really good," she said.

Court sees 2016 deposition

The jury also saw a recording of a deposition Heard gave in 2016 in connection with her divorce in which she appeared to inadvertently admit that she had tipped off the celebrity news outlet TMZ about aspects of her initial divorce proceedings.

Heard testified to the jury that she was taken aback when paparazzi swarmed her courthouse appearance seeking a temporary restraining order and that she tried to avoid publicity as much as possible.

During the 2016 deposition, though, Heard put her hands to her lips as though she mistakenly blurted something out after she said she wanted Depp to learn of the divorce filing "from some other source other than TMZ, which was alerted …"

"You slipped up there, didn't you, Ms. Heard?" Vasquez asked.

"That's not what I'm talking about," Heard responded.

Actor Johnny Depp appears in the courtroom during a break at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse, May 17, 2022. (Brendan Smialowski/The Associated Press)

During redirect examination, Heard, said she "asked my team to file in the most discreet way, literally to put it under a stack of papers and file it at the end of the day so it kind of had more of a shot of being missed by the paparazzi and by TMZ."

The redirect questioning of Heard lasted only a few minutes, as Depp's lawyers objected to nearly every question that Heard's lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, tried to ask.

There was also testimony about Heard's $100 million US counterclaim against Depp. She says she was defamed by Depp's lawyer, Adam Waldman, when he called Heard's accusations a hoax.

Heard has said the accusations hurt her career, but Vasquez pointed to a series of negative articles about Heard that preceded Waldman's comments.

The jury also heard an audio recording of a verbal fight between the two in which each belittled the other's acting career. Heard laughed mockingly at Depp's career-making role in the '80s television show 21 Jump Street.

"Hey, at least I didn't do, like, a teeny show where I'm a heartthrob. God that would be, like, embarrassing," Heard said.

Depp responded with dismissive commentary about Heard's biggest film role to date, shouting "Aquaman!" in a mocking way to denigrate the superhero film. 

And Heard took offence when Vasquez suggested that she only got the role in Aquaman with Depp's help.

"Excuse me?" Heard said. "No, Ms. Vasquez, I got myself that role by auditioning."


Support is available for anyone who has been abused or assaulted. You can access crisis lines and local support services through the Ending Violence Association of Canada databaseThe Canadian Women's Foundation's Signal For Help is a silent, one-handed gesture to use in a video call to indicate that you are at risk of violence at home. ​​If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911.

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