Depp ends 4 days on stand; sued to ‘fight back’

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) – Actor Johnny Depp ended an exhausting four days at the witness stand on Monday, telling jurors in a calm voice that he was suing his ex-wife because it was his best chance to regain his reputation, hours after they heard audio clips of him scolding his wife with gross vulgarities.

“It was the only time I was able to fight back and use my own voice,” Depp said of her decision to sue Amber Heard for a 2018 paper in The Washington Post in which she refers to herself as “a public person represents abuse in the home. “

He went on to deny that he ever beat Heard, accusing her of beating him and throwing objects, including paint cans and vodka bottles, at him. And jurors heard an audio clip of a conversation between Depp and Heard in which she appears to mock him, suggesting he would not be believed or respected if he publicly cast her as an addict.

“Tell them, I, Johnny Depp, I’m a victim of domestic abuse … and see how many people believe in or support you,” Heard said on the recording.

Earlier Monday, however, they heard footage in which Depp referred to the violence that could occur if their arguments were allowed to escalate.

“The next move, if I do not go away … it will be a bloodbath, as it was on the island,” Depp says on the recording.

In other clips, Depp loudly shouts vulgarities at his wife, calling her a degrading name and shouting, “You stupid f–” to her.

Depp crouched on the stand as one of the clips was played; Heard seemed to fight back tears on several points as she listened to the recordings.

Heard’s op-ed never mentions Depp by name, but he claims he was slandered anyway because parts of the play clearly refer to allegations of abuse she made in 2016 when she filed for divorce and got a temporary restraining order.

The cliffs were part of a lengthy cross-examination of Depp that began last week and ended late Monday morning.

Heard’s lawyers focused during the cross – examination on Depp’s drinking, drug use and accused interactions with Heard during their relationship.

During Monday’s cross-examination, Depp actually said very little. Most of the interrogation consisted of Heard’s lawyer playing audio clips or reading vulgar text messages sent by Depp and asking Depp if he had read them correctly.

Throughout the cross-examination, Depp showed his dissatisfaction with Rottenborn’s questions. When Rottenborn interrupted an answer, Depp said, “I was talking.” When Rottenborn said he considered the question to be fully answered, Depp replied, “as long as you are happy.”

Depp also expressed disapproval when Rottenborn read headlines from a series of negative articles written about the actor, some dating back to 2014.

“These are all hit pieces. They’re bad,” Depp said.

Rottenborn introduced the articles to try to demonstrate that it was Depp’s long history of bad behavior, not the 2018 Post article, that damaged his reputation.

While the injury case is supposed to be about whether Depp was slandered in the article, most of the lawsuit has focused on ugly details about the couple’s brief marriage. Heard’s lawyers say Depp has abused her physically and sexually, and that Depp’s denials are unjustified because he was often drunk and high to the point where he turned black.

By redirection Monday afternoon, Depp sought to explain some of his crude language. He said he often talked figuratively or made funny jokes with friends, but added: “I’m ashamed to have it spread around the world like peanut butter.”

And he again denied that he cut off his own finger during a fight with Heard, even though he told people the same thing back then. He now says his finger was cut across when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him.

“Why should I start cutting digits in my 50s?” he said, showing his right hand to the jury. “I can not take responsibility for what I now call Little Richard, my chopped finger.”

The jury has seen dozens of Depp’s texts to friends about his drinking, drug use and interactions with his then-wife, as well as his notes on remorse for Heard and her father.

He called the accusations of drug abuse against him “grossly beautified”, even though he admitted to having taken many drugs.

Depp says the Post article contributed to an unfairly damaged reputation it made him an outcast Hollywood and cost him his role in the lucrative movie “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Heard’s lawyers say only Depp is to blame for his marred career.


Associated Press writer Ben Finley of Norfolk, Virginia, contributed to this report.

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