Amber Heard suffered from PTSD due to ‘intimate partner violence by Mr Depp’, psychologist tells court

Editor’s Note: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault, which some readers may find disturbing

Amber Heard’s legal team called their first witness in the $50 million defamation trial of Johnny Depp against the “Aquaman” actress on Tuesday afternoon.

dr. Dawn Hughes took the position, telling the court that in her opinion Heard’s “report of intimate partner violence is consistent with what we know about intimate partner violence, characterized by physical violence, psychological aggression, sexual assault, compulsive control and surveillance behavior”. †

Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist specializing in interpersonal violence and traumatic stress, was hired to conduct a psychological evaluation of Heard. Hughes told the Fairfax, Virginia courtroom that she went through medical records, psychological records, texts, emails, audio and video recordings of the case and met with Heard’s therapists and the actress’s mother. Hughes said she also met Heard for 29 hours on four visits in September 2019 and January 2021 for the evaluation.

The psychologist said Heard reported some of Depp’s physically abusive behaviors. “He pushed her, he pushed her, he hit her with the front of his hand and the back of his hand, he strangled her, he hit her against the wall, he pushed her and she fell, he kicked her in the back” Hughes said.

She also claimed that there were a number of incidents of sexual assault in the relationship.

“When Mr. Depp was drunk or high, he would throw her on the bed, rip off her nightgown and try to have sex with her,” Hughes said. “There were times when he forced her to give him oral sex when he was angry.”

Hughes referenced an incident where she said Depp accused another woman of hitting Heard, and in response “Depp conducted a cavity search.” She said the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor was drug-seeking and “considered it acceptable to pull off her nightgown and insert his fingers into her vagina to search for cocaine.” She said the incidents often took place in a drug-fueled rage.

Hughes said another incident of sexual assault took place in Australia. She claimed that Depp beat and strangled Heard, told her he hated her and was going to kill her, then “grabbed a bottle on the bar and penetrated her with that bottle.” Hughes said Heard told her she went outside of her body and thought, “Oh God, I hope it’s not the broken one.” [bottle]†

Hughes said: “The second main opinion was that Ms Heard showed very clear psychological and traumatic effects or the exacerbation of trauma from the statements Mr Depp made through his lawyer.”

“I diagnosed Ms. Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Hughes said. She said the cause was “intimate partner violence by Mr. Depp”. Her diagnosis contradicts Dr. Shannon Curry, who was hired by Depp’s legal team to evaluate Heard. Curry testified that Heard did not have PTSD and that the actress “grossly exaggerated the symptoms of PTSD.”

Hughes said she disagreed with Curry’s assessment because “there were flaws in the way she chose to administer it,” she said. She also disputed Curry’s diagnosis that Heard has borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. “I have not diagnosed Ms. Heard with a personality disorder,” Hughes told the court.

Heard also reported to Hughes several injuries she said were sustained from abuse, “mostly bruising, pain, some cuts, vaginal pain from some of the sexual assaults, she reported having some scratches and cuts on her from broken glass.” , she reported that she thought she had lost consciousness twice.”

Hughes said Depp was involved in coercive control. “He didn’t want her to show nudes, he didn’t want her to show boobs, he didn’t want her to work with certain actors because of this excessive jealousy.” As a result, Hughes said Heard’s career has suffered.

During Hughes’ testimony, Heard turned to the jury and appeared to hold back tears as Hughes detailed cases of alleged physical and sexual abuse.

Depp’s legal team rested their case earlier today after 13 days of testimony and more than a dozen witnesses, including bodyguards, Hollywood insiders, doctors and accountants.

Before resting, the Depp team called forensic accountant Mike Spindler to the booth, who said Depp had lost tens of thousands of millions of dollars as a result of Heard’s 2018 Washington Post op-ed.

“I came to the conclusion that Mr. Depp suffered a loss of approximately $40 million in revenue,” Spindler said.

The accounting expert was hired by Depp’s team to calculate the actor’s total lost income from the play, in which Heard described herself as a public figure representing domestic violence, though she did not name Depp.

Spindler said he reviewed “accounting records, court records, testimony and witness statements, and various other documents and evidence related to the case.” He calculated Depp’s lost revenue by analyzing the period from October 2018 to October 2020, after the opinion piece was released.

In another development on Tuesday, Judge Penney Azcarate rejected Heard’s offer to drop the lawsuit.

Heard’s lawyer had argued that Depp did not meet the burden threshold and that the case should be dropped. Attorney Ben Rottenborn told the court: “Mr. Depp bears the burden of proving that by preponderance of the evidence and of fulfilling the required intent and showing that Ms Heard acted with actual malice. He has a increased standard of evidence that he must prove with clear and convincing evidence that Mrs. Heard acted with that malice.”

“In this case, Your Honor, if Mr. Depp abused Mrs. Heard even once physically, verbally, emotionally or psychologically, she wins on those claims,” ​​Rottenborn said. He added that the evidence is “overwhelming and undisputed” that Depp did.

The ‘Aquaman’ actress is expected to take the stand on Wednesday.

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