Amber Heard fought back against questions from one of Johnny Depp‘s attorneys Thursday as she returned to the stand on the final day of testimony in the former spouses’ long-running defamation case.
Heard first gave rebuttal testimony about the ill effects she says she’s suffered since former Depp attorney Adam Waldman made comments about her to British tabloids, allegedly speaking at Depp’s behest. Those comments are at the heart of her $100 million defamation countersuit against her ex-husband, who she alleges abused her emotionally, physically and sexually for years.
“I am harassed, humiliated, threatened every single day,” she said Thursday on the witness stand in Fairfax, Virginia, getting emotional almost immediately as she directed her answers toward the jury. “Even just walking into this courtroom, sitting here in front of the world, having the worst parts of my life, things that I’ve lived through, used to humiliate me.
“People want to kill me, and they tell me so every day,” she continued. “People want to put my baby in the microwave, and they tell me that. Johnny threatened — promised, promised me — that if I ever left him, he’d make me think of him every day that I lived.”
Under questioning by her attorney Benjamin Rottenborn, Heard said her hands shake and she wakes up screaming at night. She said friends and intimate partners “have rules” they have to live by to avoid triggering her and setting off a panic attack.
“Perhaps it’s easy to forget that I’m a human being. ... I don’t deserve this,” she said. She said that through this case, she hopes to reclaim her “right as an American” to talk about what she says happened to her and to “own” her story and her truth.
But on cross-examination, her tearful testimony quickly gave way to anger as Depp attorney Camille Vasquez challenged her, saying in her questions that Heard’s lies had been exposed.
Asked about testimony given by Morgan Knight, the former owner-manager of the Hicksville Trailer Palace in Joshua Tree, California, Heard said, “I’m not quite sure who that guy was or if he has any involvement in this. I know a lot of people have come out of the woodwork.”
Knight had given testimony that directly contradicted Heard’s allegation that Depp had “trashed” a trailer they stayed in on a night she alleges her ex performed a “cavity search” on her as he hunted for a bag of cocaine. Knight testified that a light fixture had been broken but that no excessive cleaning fee had been charged beyond the $62 to replace matching fixtures. He said he didn’t see the damage Heard had alleged.
“How would he know? He wasn’t there,” Heard snapped. “I’ve heard a lot of people say a lot of things to be involved in the Johnny Depp show. But he wasn’t there. He doesn’t know.”
Heard also seemed to lump British model Kate Moss — who testified Wednesday via video from England that Depp did not push her down stairs during their relationship in the ‘90s — into the “woodwork” crowd.
“I didn’t expect her to show up or not show up,” Heard said about Moss. “It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change what I believed at the time. We were on the stairs, and I thought he was going to kill my sister by pushing her down the stairs.”
During that 2015 staircase fight, Heard previously testified, Depp allegedly pulled her by the hair with one hand, hit her in the face with a hand that was in a hard cast because of his injured finger, then started to take a swing at her sister, who had entered the fray. Heard said she then hit Depp “square in the face” for the first time in their relationship as she tried to protect her sister.
Asked by Vasquez whether she was saying these witnesses were willing to perjure themselves just to “curry favor,” Heard said she’s seen “time and again” how many people are willing to come out in support of Depp. “That’s his power,” the actor added.
“That’s why I wrote the op-ed,” Heard said, referring to the 2018 Washington Post article that has had her in the defendant’s seat in Depp’s $50 million defamation lawsuit. In the article, which doesn’t mention the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor by name, Heard referred to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse,” a point Depp is contesting as untrue.
The two cases are being tried jointly, with proceedings broadcast and streamed live via Court TV and other outlets.
Heard finished her testimony Thursday by answering more questions from her own attorney and saying that what she’s suffering from now is “just an echo” of the violence she endured during her relationship with Depp. With both sides having finished presenting evidence, Judge Penney Azcarate dismissed the jury early. The attorneys and judge then began hammering out the details of jury instructions.
Closing arguments — limited to two hours for each side — begin at 9 a.m. ET Friday, after which the jury will be given its instructions. The judge told jurors they will begin deliberations Friday afternoon.
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