Amber Heard, the actor’s wife, resumed cross-examination in Virginia on Thursday of Johnny Depp. They focused their questions on his drug and alcohol use and texts that he had sent to friends about his desire to murder and defile his former spouse.
Heard’s attorneys are trying to derail Depp’s libel lawsuit against her after she wrote a 2018 Washington Post opinion piece that Depp says indirectly defamed him and ruined his lucrative acting career. In the article, Heard referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Depp testified that Heard was the aggressor and that he never assaulted or physically attacked her, contrary to her allegations. Heard’s lawyers argue that Depp can’t deny what happened because he was often drunk and high on drugs to the point of blacking out.
Heard lawyer J. Benjamin Rottenborn focused on a 2013 text exchange between Depp and the actor Paul Bettany in which Depp said: “Let’s burn Amber!!!”
Bettany responded: “Having thought it through I don’t think we should burn Amber …”
Depp texted: “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I will (expletive) her burnt corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead.”
Depp has previously apologized to the jury for the vulgar language in the texts and said that “in the heat of the pain I was feeling, I went to dark places,”
Rottenborn also focused on another of Depp’s texts to Bettany in 2014 in which he referenced whiskey, pills and powders.
These texts were sent in a time when Depp claimed he stopped drinking. They were also sent at the same time as a private flight between Boston and Los Angeles. Heard claimed that Depp was intoxicated during this flight, which saw him assaulting Heard.
Rottenborn presented texts that Depp sent to Bettany that said he drank “all night before I picked Amber up to fly to LA this past Sunday … Ugly, mate … No food for days … Powders … Half a bottle of Whiskey, a thousand red bull and vodkas, pills, 2 bottles of Champers on plane …”
Depp had previously testified that he took two oxycodone pills — an opiate to which he admits he was addicted at the time — and locked himself in the plane bathroom and fell asleep to avoid her badgering. Also, he had testified previously that he consumed only one glass of Champagne while boarding the plane.
To further bring doubt to Depp’s claim that he was not a problematic drinker at that time, Heard’s attorney then showed the jurors a text that Depp had sent to musician Patti Smith regarding a visit to New York City in 2014 in which he recounted fighting with Heard, getting drunk and being “so disappointed in myself.”
Depp was on Tuesday’s stand at Fairfax County Circuit Court. The actor has spent much of that time describing the couple’s volatile relationship and denying that he ever abused Heard.
Depp stated that Heard had often attacked him violently. Depp also asserted that his film career was affected by Heard’s violent attacks on him.
Heard never mentioned Depp by name in the article, but Depp’s lawyers said it was a clear reference to accusations Heard made when she sought a 2016 restraining order against him.
Depp said the accusations and the article contributed to an unfairly ruined reputation that made him a Hollywood pariah and cost him his role in the lucrative “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise.
When cross-examination began late Wednesday afternoon, Rottenborn pointed to evidence that Disney made that decision months before the article’s publication.
Heard’s lawyers have argued that Heard’s opinion piece was accurate and did not defame him. They have said that Depp’s ruined reputation was due to his own bad behavior.
On the stand Tuesday, Depp called the accusations of drug addiction “grossly embellished,” though he acknowledged taking many drugs. He said his drug use started at age 11 when when he secretly took his mother’s “nerve pills.”
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