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Security guard testifies in Johnny Depp’s defamation case against Amber Heard

The trial of Johnny Depps $ 50 million injury case against ex-wife Amber Heard was resumed Monday with testimony from a man who worked as a security guard for Depp. Travis McGivern described hearing quarrels between the couple after returning from a trip to Australia in March 2015, “I would not say every night, but every other night, several times a week.”

Heard has accused Depp of physically and sexually assaulting her on several occasions before and during their brief marriage. He then sued her for defamation after she wrote a statement in 2018 in The Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”

She never mentioned Depp by name in op-ed, but his lawyers claimed it was a clear reference to accusations Heard made in 2016 when she sought a restraining order against him.

In Monday’s testimony, McGivern said he witnessed “lots of name-calling, lots of f-bombs,” which he said was typically from “Miss Heard directing her feelings toward Mr. Depp.” He also described an argument in which “I saw Miss Heard throw a Red Bull can from her position hitting Mr. Depp in the back.”

“At that point, I moved closer to Mr Depp,” he said. “I did not care that I was in the middle of their conversation at the time. I did not want my client to be hit by anything else, so I stood right next to Mr. Depp. The verbal attack continued from both of them. Mr. Depp gave as well as he got at the time. He was angry and agitated. At one point Miss Heard threw something else, either a purse or some kind of bag or something she had up there. I was able to knock it away “so it did not hit him. At one point she spat after him.”

Last week, jurors heard about the statement at the center of the case. Terence Dougherty, attorney general of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), testified Thursday that the group drafted the article under Heard’s name, reflecting her role as ACLU ambassador on gender violence issues.

says Depp 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.

He testified that he was pulled out of the franchise a few days after the post ran out. At cross-examination, Heard’s attorney pointed to evidence that Disney made that decision months before the article was published.

Depp sued in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia after the article was published. In a four-day testimony in April, he said he never beat Heard and that he never beat a woman. He accused Heard of physical and emotional abuse, and she has filed a $ 100 million lawsuit against him.

Dougherty of the ACLU testified that several attorneys from the organization reviewed the article at various stages and asked Heard’s attorneys to review the piece as well to make sure it did not come across a confidentiality agreement she had with Depp in connection with the couple’s divorce in 2016.

Depp heard trial
Amber Heard speaks with her attorney in the courtroom of Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Va., May 2, 2022.

Steve Helber / AP

During those discussions, Heard sent back an edited version approved by her attorneys who “specifically castrated much of the copy relating to her marriage,” according to an email from Jessica Weitz, an ACLU staffer who coordinated with Heard.

However, according to the email, Heard was looking for a way to get a deleted passage restored to the article.

The various drafts of the articles were not shown to the jury, so it is not clear how many personal details there were in the first draft and how much Heard’s lawyers had cut out.

But the final version contains very little about Heard’s personal experiences. It does not mention Depp at all. In addition to the passage about “a public figure representing domestic abuse,” she writes in another passage: “I had the rare real-time vantage point of seeing how institutions protect men accused of assault.”

Much of the article talks about legislative priorities for advocates for home abuse prevention. Other passages refer to parts of her personal life that are not related to Depp.

Dougherty testified that “the language that ended in the last op-ed piece was very different from the original language” in the draft, Dougherty said. “It did not refer directly to Mrs Heard’s relationship with Johnny Depp.”

While the trial is believed to have ended whether Depp was slandered in the article, very few testimonies in the first three weeks, up to Thursday, have related to the article itself or its content. Heard’s lawyers predicted at the start of the trial that it would be a mud-throwing soap opera that would dive into messy details about Depp and Heard’s personal lives.

Heard’s lawyers have said, however, that even if the jury were to believe she was never abused by Depp, Heard should still win the trial because the article is not about Depp, does not offend him, and Heard’s freedom of speech allows her to weigh in on issues of public significance as domestic violence.

Much of Dougherty’s testimony was also about whether Heard has fulfilled a promise to donate $ 3.5 million – half of her $ 7 million divorce settlement with Depp – to the ACLU. Dougherty testified that the ACLU credits her with contributing $ 1.3 million so far and expected the money to come in over a 10-year period, but that she has made no contribution since 2018.

Jury members also heard briefs from Depp’s business manager, Ed White. White said he intervened in 2016 to address financial difficulties for Depp, including unpaid taxes and a cash squeeze. When he accused Heard of an excessive wine bill containing several $ 500 bottles of Spanish Vega Sicilia wine, Heard’s lawyers answered with a barrage of questions about Depp’s consumption overruns, including spending millions of dollars on shooting journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes out of a canon.

Depp and Heard met during the filming of “The Rum Diary,” an adaptation of a Thompson novel. Depp previously testified that he and Thompson were friends, and that Depp actually found the lost “Rum Diary” manuscript as he reviewed Thompson’s papers.

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