Judge Denies Johnny Depp’s Bid to Dismiss Amber Heard’s $100 Million Countersuit

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The high-profile trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard continued on Tuesday, in its sixth and final week. The trial revolves around a defamation lawsuit Depp filed against Heard, his ex-wife, regarding a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote, in which she alleged that she had endured domestic abuse (though she did not refer to Depp by name).

The day began with Depp’s attorneys asking for Circuit Court Judge Penney Azcarate to dismiss Heard’s countersuit of $100 million that was filed in response to Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman referring to her accusation as a “hoax.” In response, Heard’s attorneys defended their countersuit claims and Azcarate ruled against the motion to dismiss the countersuit saying, “It is not my role to measure the veracity or weight of the evidence.”

Witnesses called by Depp’s legal team gave testimony on Tuesday. Final arguments are expected to be held on Friday, May 27.

Walter Hamada testifies

Walter Hamada, president of DC Comics based film productions for Warner Brothers, testified in a video deposition on Heard’s role and compensation in the Aquaman series. Heard has claimed the film production company heavily reduced her role in the sequel due to her ongoing legal battle with Depp. According to Hamada, the idea of reducing Heard’s role in the Aquaman series was considered early on in the script development, contrary to the actor’s claims. Hamada also said Heard was never intended to be a co-lead in the series, unlike Jason Mamoa and Patrick Nilson, who continue to serve as co-leads. Hamada added that they considered replacing Heard because she and Mamoa lacked on-screen chemistry, but that post-production is credited in maintaining the dynamic of the two characters. “It’s editorial,” he says. “Pick the right takes, the right moments and put scenes together. The music in the scene makes a big difference.”

Dr. David Kulber testifies

Dr. David Kulber, a plastic surgeon who specializes in hand surgery at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, detailed that he treated Depp’s hand injury in 2015. Depp previously testified that in 2015, Heard threw a bottle of vodka at him and severed his finger. Heard has denied the allegation. Kulber said Depp “had a fracture on his finger and soft tissue loss.” Heard’s legal team has also claimed that following his hand injury, Depp exhibited violent behavior while wearing a cast. Kulber appeared to push back against this claim on Tuesday, saying that when he saw Depp shortly after treating his injury that the cast was “uninjured,” or not damaged.

Richard Marks testifies

Richard Marks, an entertainment transactional attorney, testified in response to a statement made earlier in the week by Kathryn Arnold, an entertainment industry expert called to the stand by Heard’s legal team. Arnold said Heard’s potential acting earnings were hurt by Depp’s allegations and that her client, who was earning $200,000 an episode for her role in The Stand, was likely to make more money after the success of Aquaman. Marks called Arnold’s assessment “wildly speculative” and questioned whether Heard earned that amount for the TV series.

Michael Spindler testifies

Michael Spindler, a forensic accountant for B. Riley Advisory Services, testified that between the time of Heard’s op-ed being published in December 2018 and October 2020, Depp lost a collective $40 million. Spindler added that a major part of the economic damages Spindler assessed was from Depp being dropped from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. The prior deal for the sixth film included a $22.5 million pay-day for Depp, according to his talent manager Jack Whigham’s testimony.

Doug Bania testifies

Doug Bania, an intellectual property expert who uses social media analytics to provide expert testimony on the internet’s response, testified for the second time on whether Waldman calling Heard’s allegations a “hoax” created a negative online reaction for Heard. Bania said his research found that 35% of the use of hashtags including #JustiveforJohnnyDepp and #AmberTurd were used prior to Waldman’s published statement. “If these tweets were prior to the Waldman statements, in no way could they have anything to do with the Waldman statements,” he testified.

Morgan Night testifies

Morgan Higby Night, the owner of Hicksville trailer park, testified as witness to a night Depp, Heard and friends allegedly got into an argument by the luxury trailer. Heard claimed Depp got violent due to his jealousy of her friend. Night claimed he did not see Depp get violent and instead heard Heard yelling at Depp. In a cross examination, Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft questioned Night on whether he was a fan of Depp, referencing a Depp fan account on Twitter he follows and an earlier tweet in April from Night that mentioned, “I was with them all night. Amber was the one acting all jealous and crazy.” Night admitted to the tweet, but said he wasn’t a fan of Depp.

Dr. Richard Shaw testifies

Stanford forensic psychiatrist Richard Shaw took the stand, refuting former claims from psychiatrist Dr. David Spiegel that stated Depp carries narcissistic personality traits. Shaw said that since Spiegel hadn’t personally examined Depp, his assessment did not follow The American Psychiatric Association’s Goldwater rule that states “it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.” Shaw determined Spiegel’s assessment should be deemed insufficient.

Ahead of closing arguments, Kate Moss, a British model and ex-partner of Depp’s, is set to testify on Wednesday.

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Write to Mariah Espada at mariah.espada@time.com