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. This high-profile case, held in Fairfax County in Virginia, has been in progress for five weeks. 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 has sued Heard in connection to an op ed she published in the Washington Post. 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.”
Bruce Witkin is a witness
Bruce Witkin was a long-time friend and former acquaintance of Depp. He testified through video that they had been friends from 1982 to 2018, when Depp accused him of stabbing his back. Post. Witkin stated that he saw Depp abusing drugs and recommended Depp become sober. Witkin said that Depp had stopped using drugs a couple of times but then went on to relapse. “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.
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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 stated that Depp flew twice to Australia during filming for the fifth. Pirates of the Caribbean movie over concerns about Depp’s behavior.
Depp’s former business manager testifies
Joel Mandel, a business manager, worked alongside Depp between 1999 and 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 refuted accusations that Depp had stolen money and said that he wasn’t charged or held liable for any 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 to answer questions regarding the comments.
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Detective Marie Sadanaga testifies
Marie Sadanaga was the Los Angeles Police Department’s domestic violence coordinator, and she was the last witness who spoke before the court. According to 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.
The trial will end with testimony next week, and closing arguments are scheduled for Friday May 27.
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