These Key Witnesses Could Shake Up the Heard-Depp Trial

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Johnny Depp is allowed to take a stand for the second time in the ongoing libel lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard after the proceedings resume next week. But two other expected witnesses could be just as crucial in deciding a case centered on troubling allegations of domestic violence and an op-ed that Depp says has ruined his career.

A source close to the actress told The Daily Beast that Depp and actress Ellen Barkin are among the next witnesses to be called by Heard’s legal team in Fairfax County Court. Heard’s sister, Whitney Henriquez, will also be… Aquarius actress is finishing her own testimony, which could reach the cross-examination stage on Monday, the source said.

Legions of Depp fanatics have already taken to social media to poke holes in Heard’s account, a process that is sure to intensify when Depp’s lawyers start bullying her. But close observers of the trial suspect that the other, at least one of the lesser-known witnesses, may be crucial for the actress to prove that she was, in fact, a victim.

Barkin, who dated Depp in the 1990s, previously claimed that the actor threw a bottle of wine at her and will appear in court via video.

“Ellen’s testimony will be crucial for Heard’s” [case]Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told The Daily Beast, adding that Heard “needs independent witnesses to corroborate her story.”

The lawsuit aims to end a $50 million defamation lawsuit that Depp filed against Heard, which claims she “ruined” his career with a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. In the piece, in which Depp’s name was not mentioned, but two years after she filed a restraining order against him, Heard identified herself as a survivor of domestic violence. Heard has since sued Depp for $100 million, alleging defamation after at least one of his ex-lawyers suggested her account was a “hoax.”

Depp’s team has portrayed Heard as a physically and verbally abusive liar who essentially preys on the MeToo movement. Heard’s team began telling her story last week, painting a terrifying picture of serial drug-fueled domestic violence by Depp.

Amber Heard: Johnny Depp penetrated me with a bottle of liquor

If and when Depp gets a call from Heard’s team, it will mark his second round in the stands after testifying for days about his tumultuous relationship with the actress that officially ended in 2017. In the stands, he told the judges that he would end the trial. used to speak out against “horrific and disturbing” allegations that he abused Heard, and led the panel through detailed claims of abuse on her part, including an infamous incident where he alleged the actress threw a vodka bottle that cut off his fingertip. (Audio played during the trial seemed to capture him, suggesting he cut it himself.)

Heard’s first testimony claimed the opposite: that it was Depp who was the abuser in their relationship after the duo met on the set of the 2011 film. The Rum Diary and married in 2015. Heard’s painful testimony described several instances of physical and verbal abuse, including a harrowing incident in Australia in 2015 where Depp allegedly repeatedly penetrated her vagina with a liquor bottle, eventually causing her to vomit.

“I thought he was hitting me, I felt a pressure on my pubic bone… I remember looking around the room,” Heard said in the stands last week. “I remember looking at all the broken bottles and broken glass, and I remember I just didn’t want to move because I didn’t know if it was broken or if the bottle he had in me was broken. I couldn’t feel it , I felt no pain, I felt nothing… I remember thinking, ‘Please God, please, I hope it’s not broken.’”

Although Depp and his legal team went to great lengths to suggest that Heard was an abusive manipulator who canceled an innocent man, Barkin’s testimony may dent that argument.

“Depp had LAPD officers and security in their building testify that there was no abuse. And he will try to call Heard’s exes in response to show that she was violent and abusive,” Rahmani said. “Heard must contradict this story and get Ellen to tell the jury that Heard was not the only victim of Depp’s domestic abuse. Heard’s sister won’t make it.”

Barkin, a celebrity in his own right, dated Depp on the set of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas late nineties. She previously testified in Depp’s failed libel suit in the UK, in which she said the actor once threw a wine bottle at her while on set. In November 2020, a London judge found there was “overwhelming evidence” that Depp had repeatedly assaulted Heard during their marriage, and that she was “afraid for her life”.

That the Animal Kingdom actress will testify isn’t shocking, considering she was put on Heard’s witness list in March, which also included Depp and Henriquez. But that list also included other A-list stars like Elon Musk and James Franco, and at this point it’s not clear any of the men will take the position.

Ellen Barkin’s star power may be what Amber Heard’s team is counting on right now, [but] coming in via video won’t have as much of an impact as if she was sitting in front of them in the stands,” Juda Engelmayer, a crisis communications expert who was Harvey Weinstein’s spokesperson during his New York sex crime trial, told The New York Times. . Daily Beast.

Henriquez, Heard’s sister, once lived in one of Depp’s penthouses in Los Angeles. Several Los Angeles police officers have previously testified that they were called to the same collection of penthouses in 2016 for a domestic violence appeal, but found no evidence of a crime. But Henriquez also testified in the British trial of Depp, telling the judge that she started seeing bruises on her sister’s face early on in the couple’s relationship.

Heard’s sister has also been mentioned several times in the ongoing lawsuit, including by Depp’s team, which alleged that Henriquez and Heard reenacted a “fake punch” to practice some sort of fake abuse by Depp.

“The personal testimony of Whitney Henriquez, Amber Heard’s sister, can have an impact. A sister’s bond is strong, her emotional state and what she might say about what she personally saw or what her sister conveyed to her when the events happened will be powerful,” Engelmayer said.

Criminal defense attorney and former California judge Halim Dhanidina told The Daily Beast that everything about this case so far has been a “PR battle” — including how both Depp and Heard have told their relationship in the stands. That said, jurors are specifically asked to decide whether Heard acted with “genuine malice” when she shot the . wrote After piece — meaning she knew the content was false — or that the actress published the piece with “reckless disregard” for the truth.

“Almost anything can explode in your face,” Dhanidina told The Daily Beast. “A lot of it has to do with personality. That’s always the case with celebrities.”

The former judge added that while Depp’s online fanatics seem to insist that the… Pirates of the Caribbean star won this trial, that doesn’t necessarily mean Heard’s team doesn’t stand a chance of success. Especially since both Depp and Heard’s legal teams were given a rare “time-out” this week to re-evaluate their strategies.

“Juries can’t decide who they like more. They will face legal preconditions such as who has the burden of proof,” Dhanidina added. “How something ends up on the internet isn’t necessarily how it got to the jury in court.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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