The defamation case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began on April 11 in Fairfax, Virginia.
It stems from a complaint filed in 2019 by Depp, who alleges that Heard, his ex-wife, defamed him in an op-ed she wrote for washington post in 2018, in which she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” She has asked for 50 million dollars in damages.
Heard, in turn, filed a countersuit, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his own lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment.” She has asked for $100 million in damages and immunity from Depp’s claims.
Before the trial, Depp and Heard published a list of witnesses their teams might want to call.
Each of them submitted lists of objections to some of the other side’s witnesses, so the final group of witnesses will continue to evolve as the proceedings proceed.
Here are some of the people named as possible witnesses:
The Tesla CEO was listed as a possible witness for Heard, appearing via video link. However, on April 28, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to the independent that in fact he would not take the stand.
Potential witness lists do not include substantial reasons why a party’s legal team wishes to call a specific person as a witness.
Heard and Musk are believed to have dated on and off between 2016 and 2018. When Johnny Depp sued News Group Newspapers, the company that publishes Sunfor libel in the UK (for a headline calling him a “wife beater”), Musk appeared in the court case that followed.
Eleanor Laws QC, who represented Depp, read text messages from May 2016, in which Heard told Musk that she was going to get a restraining order against her then-husband Depp.
Laws said Musk offered to “arrange 24/7 security” for Heard, adding: “The offer would stand, even if you never wanted to see me again… anyway, sorry for being an idiot.” The silence of the radio hurts a lot. It only matters because I really like you.
Depp’s team cited some of Musk’s past communications with Heard as part of the Virginia libel case.
The actor was also among Heard’s potential witnesses, and was expected to appear via video link. But as with Musk, the independent He has since learned that he will not testify.
Depp’s side had cited Franco for some of his earlier communications and documents reflecting interactions with Heard.
Franco also came up during the UK court case against Depp and Sun.
Joshua Drew, a friend of Heard’s, told the court that he had heard that Depp had a “particular problem” with Franco, and that mentioning his name would “cause fights” between Heard and Depp.
The actor was on Depp’s list of potential witnesses but is no longer expected to testify.
Bettany was subpoenaed by Heard’s team for some of his past communications with Depp.
Bettany was also mentioned during the earlier court case in the UK.
During a preliminary hearing in February 2020, texts from 2013 were revealed in which Depp allegedly wrote to Bettany: “Let’s burn Amber!!!”
Bettany is reported to have replied: “Having thought about it, I don’t think we should burn Amber, she’s lovely company and easy on the eyes, plus I’m not sure she’s a witch. Of course, we could try the English course of action in these predicaments: we do a drowning test. Thinking?”
Depp, in turn, is said to have replied: “Let’s drown her before we burn her! I’m going to fuck her burned corpse after her to make sure she’s dead.”
In an interview with the independent In December 2021, Bettany, asked about the texts, said: “It was very strange. It was a strange moment. The strange thing about this was that suddenly you have one of the most lurid newspapers in London and their lawyers review your texts for the last 10 years.
“Can you honestly imagine what it would be like to have a group of lawyers go through your every email and text message for 10 years? All I can tell you is that it was an unpleasant feeling.”
Heard is included in his own witness list.
She does not appear as a potential witness on Depp’s list at this time.
Heard is considered a defendant in Depp’s defamation lawsuit and a plaintiff in the countersuit he filed against him.
For a timeline of Heard and Depp’s relationship and legal battles, click here.
Depp was listed as a witness on his own list, as well as Heard’s, and took the stand on the fifth day of testimony on April 19.
He called Heard’s claims “appalling”, “disturbing” and “not based on any kind of truth” and said of the case: “My goal is the truth”.
Depp said he felt exposed testifying as he has been a private person, but added: “I can’t say I’m ashamed because I know I’m doing the right thing.”
Depp spent three and a half days on the stand before concluding his testimony on April 25.
The actor is considered both a plaintiff in the original lawsuit he filed and a defendant in Heard’s counterclaim.