During her emotional final stint on the witness stand, actress Amber Heard testified that she has received “hundreds of death threats, daily”—adding up to “thousands” in total—since trial against her ex-husband Johnny Depp began.
“People want to put my baby in the microwave, and they tell me that,” Heard said.
Fiery cross-examination by Depp’s attorney suggested that public outrage stemmed from the exposure of her “lies.”
“I’m a Human Being”
The acrimonious and dueling defamation trials of Depp and Heard have inspired passionate opinions, globally. Depp first sued Heard over her 2018 Washington Post editorial stating that she became a “public figure representing domestic abuse” after she sought a restraining order against her ex-husband.
Heard’s attorneys argue that she had the right to speak on those themes in an editorial that didn’t even mention Depp. The Aquaman actress echoed that First Amendment argument.
“I have a right to my voice and my name,” Heard testified. “I hope to get my voice back. It’s all I want and I’ve said that.”
Heard filed counterclaims against Depp after his attorney Adam Waldman characterized her allegations as “fake,” “fraudulent,” and a “hoax.”
A running theme of trial has been online abuse by Depp’s supporters on social media, who frequently light up Twitter with such hashtags as #WeJustDontLikeYouAmber, #AmberHeardIsAnAbuser, #AmberHeardIsAPsychopath and #AmberTurd, a reference to Depp’s allegation that Heard soiled their bed as a practical joke.
Heard denies the scatological claim, blaming the feces on the Yorkshire terrier with a bowel-control issue from eating Depp’s cannabis. A U.K. judge believed Heard’s account, just as the judge credited 12 of her claims of domestic violence.
Whatever the truth of defecation allegation, it became the punchline of a Saturday Night Live sketch about the trial.
Heard said that there’s a price to the internet’s fun.
“Perhaps it’s easy to forget that, but I’m a human being,” Heard said.
Taking a shot at Depp’s courtroom demeanor, Heard pointedly stated: “I’m not sitting in this courtroom snickering.”
Throughout the trial, Depp avoided eye contact with Heard, often looking down at a computer monitor through tinted glasses and sometimes appearing to crack jokes with his lawyer Benjamin Chew.
Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez offered an explanation for Depp’s lack of eye contact. An audio recording showed Depp promising that Heard will never look at him in the eyes again.
In his defamation case, Depp asserts that Heard is the one who abused him, and she was recorded saying that a judge and jury would not believe the statement that he, “a man,” is the victim of a “fair fight” between the two.
“He Is a Very Powerful Man”
On cross-examination, Vasquez grilled Heard just as vigorously as she did during Heard’s first stint on the stand.
Vasquez, who has garnered a cult following from Depp supporters, asked Heard whether public anger stems from her “lies” being “exposed to the world multiple times.”
In order to illustrated alleged lies, Vasquez showed Heard a photograph of her outside of court one day after the actress obtained her restraining order.
Unlike the first day Heard went to court, she did not appear to have a bruise in that photograph.
Heard suggested that was because she was wearing make-up. Vasquez also grilled Heard about recent testimony by an ex-TMZ staffer who told a jury that the celebrity tabloid got a tip-off about the original, apparent bruise.
After Vasquez rattled off testimony by Depp’s witnesses, Heard said that she expected people to come “out of the woodwork” to protect a “powerful man.” She said that was why she wrote the Post op-ed, which commented broadly on the #MeToo movement. Testimony showed that the editorial, which appeared under her byline, was co-written by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and her legal team.
Multiple witnesses testified that lawyers carefully crafted the editorial to minimize the risk of litigation, and Heard previously testified that the piece was not about Depp, who “ironically” made it about himself through litigation.
Cross-examination, however, suggested something of an about-face on that position.
“I know how many people will come out and say whatever for him. That’s his power. That’s why I wrote the op-ed,” Heard said, turning toward the jury after every question to address them personally. “I was speaking to that phenomenon, how many people will come out in support of him and will fall to his power. He is a very powerful man and people love currying favor with powerful men.”
“I know how many people will come out in support of him”: #AmberHeard testified that she wrote the Washington Post op-ed because #JohnnyDepp is a “powerful man.” @LawCrimeNetwork pic.twitter.com/G4VitSH6DZ
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) May 26, 2022
Questioned by her own attorney on rebuttal, Heard said that what transpired in the Virginia courtroom is exactly what Depp promised.
“He promised me ‘global humiliation,'” Heard said. “You saw those texts.”
Heard’s rebuttal case ended shortly after that exchange. Closing arguments are expected on Friday.
(Screenshot from Law&Crime Network)
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