Several former friends and employees of Johnny Depp testified on Thursday in the ongoing $50 million defamation trial against Depp’s ex-wife, Amber Heard. The high-profile trial, which is being held in Fairfax County, Va., is in its fifth week. Depp’s team rested its case on May 3 and, since then, Heard’s legal team has been arguing its defense.
Among the witnesses Heard’s team called to the stand were Depp’s former friend, an ex-business manager, a past agent, and an attorney who used to represent Depp, as Heard’s legal team mounted their defense and built a case for their countersuit. Depp is suing Heard over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post, in which she identified herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Heard later filed a $100 million countersuit against Depp that revolves around a comment from Depp’s attorney, in which he called her claims of abuse a “hoax.”
Ellen Barkin testifies
Actor Ellen Barkin said Depp “threw a wine bottle” at her and was “drunk a lot of the time” during the brief relationship she had with her Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas co-star in the 1990s in a video deposition on Thursday. In her testimony, Barkin said that Depp threw a wine bottle at her during a fight because “he was mad at his friends or his assistant in the room,” she said, the New York Post reported. Barkin also said Depp was “jealous” and “controlling,” per Deadline: “I had a scratch on my back once that he got very, very, angry … he insisted it came from me having sex with a person who wasn’t him during that time,” Barkin said.
Michele Mulroney testifies
Heard’s former attorney Michele Mulroney appeared in a pre-recorded video deposition, telling the jury that Depp called her names and was “very mean” in a phone call. Mulroney said that while she was representing Heard in a post-divorce proceeding, Depp called her a “b—h” and fired her on behalf of Heard, even though he wasn’t legally able to do that, per the New York Post.
Dr. Alan Blaustein testifies
In a taped deposition, Depp’s former psychiatrist, Dr. Alan Blaustein, said Depp used drugs and alcohol to cope with “psychic” wounds. Blaustein testified that he expressed concerns over the actor’s drug use, particularly his Adderall dependence.
Tina Newman testifies
While Depp’s attorneys argued that he was left out of the sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film due to Heard’s op-ed, Tina Newman, a production executive at The Walt Disney Studios, denied that claim. Depp’s legal team had argued that Heard’s op-end had a “catastrophic” effect on Depp’s career. When asked by Heard’s lawyers whether she was aware of any decision maker who “ever said they were not considering Mr. Depp for Pirates 6 or any other movie because of Amber Heard’s op-ed from December 2018?,” Newman said, “No.”
Jessica Kovacevic testifies
Kovacevic, Heard’s talent agent from William Morris Endeavor, testified that she believed Heard lost work after Depp’s former attorney, Adam Waldman, was quoted in a 2020 article saying Heard’s abuse allegations against Depp were a “hoax.” In a video deposition, Kovacevic said that after Waldman’s comments, per NBC News, Heard lost a film deal, an endorsement deal, and a beauty campaign with L’Oreal.
Bruce Witkin testifies
Bruce Witkin, a former longtime friend of Depp, testified via video deposition that he had been close friends with the actor from around 1982 until 2018, when Depp allegedly accused him of stabbing him in the back, per the New York Post. Witkin said he observed Depp, whom he considered his best friend at one point, abusing substances and said he recommended Depp get sober. According to Witkin, Depp did stop abusing substances a few times, but allegedly relapsed. “In my experience, it’s deep-rooted issues he’s dealing with,” Witkin said, per NBC News. “It had nothing to do with Amber, in my opinion.”
Witkin also testified that Depp had a jealous streak, both with Heard and his former partner, Vanessa Paradis, but “a lot of it was in his head and not in reality,” he said per the New York Post.
Depp’s former agent testifies
Tracey Jacobs, who represented Depp for close to 30 years, said she was fired in 2016 because Depp “essentially terminated everyone in his life and I was along for the ride, I guess.”
Jacobs testified that Depp developed a reputation for “unprofessional” behavior on sets, including allegedly being unprepared, showing up late, and abusing drugs and alcohol. Jacobs testified that she flew to Australia twice during the filming of the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie over concerns about Depp’s behavior.
Depp’s former business manager testifies
Joel Mandel was a business manager who worked with Depp from around 1999 until 2016. He testified to Depp’s income and “excessive” spending, including a reported $10,000 a day on personal security and at one point $100,000 a month on a medical team to help him with his sobriety. Mandel also testified that the actor’s behavior became erratic with the change starting around 2010 when, NBC News reports, Depp’s “use of alcohol and drugs became a daily event.”
Mandel denied accusations that he stole money from Depp and claimed that he was never charged with or found liable for malpractice.
Depp’s former attorney testifies
Adam Waldman, Depp’s former attorney, was called to the stand over allegedly starting a “smear” campaign against Heard through comments he made in the Daily Mail where he said Heard’s abuse allegations against Depp were a hoax. His statements lie at the heart of Heard’s $100 million countersuit against Depp. Waldman, however, claimed attorney-client privilege when asked questions about the comments.
Detective Marie Sadanaga testifies
The last witness to speak before the court took a break on Thursday was Marie Sadanaga, the domestic violence coordinator for the Los Angeles Police Department. Per the New York Post, the LAPD responded to Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s LA pad in May 2016 for a domestic call, but did not determine a crime had been committed. Sadanaga offered general background information on how suspected domestic violence is treated by the police, even when potential victims don’t want to press charges or be interviewed.
Testimony in the defamation trial wrapped for the week. It will resume on Monday at 9 a.m. ET.
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