Live coverage on this blog has ended, please click here for the latest coverage.
Attorneys for Amber Heard rested their defense Tuesday morning in the defamation case brought by Johnny Depp.
Depp’s team attempted to have Heard’s $100 million countersuit dismissed. The judge ruled against the motion, saying it is up to the jury to determine the weight of the evidence presented.
Depp’s attorneys also brought forth rebuttal witnesses Tuesday to respond to elements of Heard’s defense.
Witnesses included Walter Hamada, president of DC Films for Warner Bros. Pictures; Richard Marks, an entertainment lawyer; Doug Bania, a social media and internet analytics expert; and Morgan Night, who owned the Hicksville Trailer Palace in 2013, when Depp and Heard stayed at the luxury trailer park with friends.
Court dismisses jury early
Depp’s legal team ended roughly 30 minutes early Tuesday, saying they would have more rebuttal witnesses Wednesday.
Court adjourned at roughly 5 p.m. ET, dismissing the jury for the day. The attorneys remained to discuss matters with the judge.
Analyzing Depp from afar would be violation of ‘Goldwater Rule,’ witness says
A psychiatrist told jurors Tuesday that a doctor violated the “Goldwater Rule” by giving lengthy testimony about Depp during the trial.
Dr. Richard Shaw, who practices at Stanford Health Care, said Monday’s testimony by Dr. David R. Spiegel went against an ethical code that prevents psychiatrists from giving opinions on public figures with limited information.
The American Psychiatric Association has said “that it was not ethical to provide a psychiatric or professional opinion about someone who had not been evaluated personally by that psychiatrist,” Shaw testified.
When asked if he had an opinion on whether Spiegel’s testimony Monday was within bounds of the Goldwater Rule, Shaw said: “Well, my opinion is he did not. He expressed a number of professional opinions about Mr. Depp that we heard about yesterday.”
“He did so without an evaluation, without consent,” Shaw added.
The Goldwater Rule became a part of medical ethical guidelines after then-presidential candidate Barry Goldwater’s mental fitness became a major topic of the 1964 campaign.
Anticipating questions about the Goldwater Rule, Spiegel said Monday his opinions were based on a wealth of information and were not an “armchair diagnosis.”
Witness describes interactions with Depp and Heard in Hicksville
Morgan Night, a new witness brought forth by Depp’s legal team, testified that he did not see Depp yelling at Heard the night of an argument in June 2013.
Night was the owner of Hicksville Trailer Palace at the time, a luxury trailer park in the California desert where Depp and Heard stayed with friends. Night said he observed Heard yelling at Depp and that Depp appeared to be “cowering” in the argument.
“He, honestly, throughout the rest of the night became a lot more quiet. … The beginning of the night he was a lot more outdoing and extroverted,” Night said. “And as the course of the night went on, it was less and less so and more quiet.”
Both Depp and Heard seemed intoxicated during the night, Night said, thought he testified that he did not see them pouring alcohol and drinking it.
Heard alleged that Depp got jealous of a woman who was under the influence of illicit substances and appeared to be clinging to Heard. The couple went back to their trailer, where an argument ensued, she testified. Depp then grabbed Heard and ripped at her clothing as well as damaging property within the trailer, Heard said.
Depp denied assaulting Heard and accused Heard of instigating an argument that night.
Night went to inspect the couple’s trailer after being informed about damage inside.
“I observed there was a light sconce by the bathroom, in the bedroom, had been broken off the wall, and a couple pieces were on the floor,” Night said.
Outside of the light fixture, Night said he didn’t observe any damage in the trailer. He charged a total of $62 for a new light fixture to Depp’s assistant.
Judge allows new witness
A new witness who may have testimony regarding the 2013 Hicksville incident was accepted in the case Tuesday.
Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate explained the Virginia standard for the admission of a new witness. Azcarate said the factors to be weighed are if there was any intentional impropriety, if there was prejudice attached and whether their testimony might have been impacted by anything learned of the case from earlier witnesses.
“The problem is the courtroom, in this particular case, appears to be the world,” Azcarate said.
Morgan Night, who was working the night of the alleged Hicksville assault, was permitted to testify after voir dire was conducted.
Night said he learned about Hicksville being mentioned from a friend roughly five weeks ago and has not followed the case since.
Witness challenges testimonies of two Heard experts
Doug Bania, a social media and internet analytics expert, countered witness testimony made in Heard’s defense by Kathryn Arnold, a producer and entertainment industry consultant, and Ron Schnell, director of Berkeley Research Group.
Arnold told jurors Monday that Heard could have been the next Jason Momoa, Ana de Armas, Zendaya and Gal Gadot if not for comments made by Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman. Schnell, who testified last week, said he examined hashtags related to Heard and Depp from April 2020 to January 2022, during which he noticed more than 2 million negative tweets related to Heard.
Bania showed jurors Q scores and data related to the social media of celebrities that Arnold had named as comparable actors to Heard. His data, he said, shows that even with the success of “Aquaman,” Heard was not as big of a star.
“What this is telling me is more people are interested in Ms. Gadot and Zendaya and even Mr. Momoa more than Ms. Heard on social media. It just tells me a lot,” Bania said.
“My second opinion is based on my social media and Q score analysis, Ms. Arnold’s comparable actors or alleged comparable actors are not comparable,” Bania said.
Court breaks for lunch recess
The Depp-Heard trial broke for lunch Tuesday with the judge ordering jurors to return at 1:40 p.m. ET.
Court will resume with Doug Bania, a social media and internet analytics expert, on the witness stand testifying on behalf of Depp.
Heard’s defense team rests; Depp’s attorneys calling rebuttal witnesses
May 24, 202203:02
Witness questions claims that Heard could have scored $1 million TV deal
A witness Tuesday contested an expert’s assertion that Heard could have parlayed her “Aquaman” work into more successful deals in Hollywood, including a $1 million-per-episode TV gig.
Kathryn Arnold, a producer and entertainment industry consultant, testified Monday that Heard should be in the same galaxy as Hollywood stars like Ana de Armas, Zendaya, Gal Gadot and others after getting her “‘Star Is Born’ moment” with her breakout superhero role in “Aquaman.” Arnold said Heard’s career has suffered since Adam Waldman, Depp’s ex-attorney, publicly called her abuse accusations against Depp “false” and a “hoax.”
But veteran entertainment lawyer Richard Marks, who spoke on Depp’s defense, testified that Arnold’s “assessment of damages is built on nothing and it’s wildly speculative.”
Marks said shortly after her “Aquaman” success, Heard scored a TV series for $200,000 per episode, far short of any $1 million payday.
“And Ms. Arnold, from somewhere in a glib way, [is] saying she [Heard] could get a couple series of a million each?” Marks told jurors. “I can tell you as someone in the trenches, rarely, rarely does an actor get an $1 million for a series episode.”
Online profiles for doctor flooded with negative reviews following testimony
The Google and WebMD profiles of a psychiatrist were flooded with negative reviews Monday after he testified that he thinks Depp’s behavior is consistent with that of a perpetrator of intimate partner violence.
Dr. David Spiegel racked up hundreds of 1-star reviews on Google and WebMD following his testimony. Many of the Google reviews appear to have been removed as of Tuesday.
This isn’t the first time a witness in the Depp-Heard trial has been subjected to review-bombing.
Clinical psychologist Dawn Hughes received a barrage of 1-star reviews when she testified that she diagnosed Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of intimate partner violence.
Warner Bros. exec testifies over Heard’s ‘Aquaman 2’ role
Walter Hamada, president of DC Films for Warner Bros. Pictures, testified through a video deposition as Depp’s first rebuttal witness Tuesday.
Hamada, whose deposition was filmed in March, answered questions regarding Heard’s contract for the “Aquaman” franchise and her role in the superhero sequel.
He said Heard’s contract was not renegotiated because of statements from Depp or his former attorney, which Heard’s attorney argued was part of the defamation damages in her countersuit.
“As a company, we go through a lot of trouble when we make our deals with our actors,” Hamada testified. “We get options on them for subsequent movies, and I think traditionally, prior to me joining the company, every option was renegotiated. And one of the things that we’re trying to put a rein in on was not renegotiating every deal.”
Hamada also denied that the company reduced Heard’s role in “Aquaman 2,” saying the sequel was built around the male characters.
“The movie was always pitched as a buddy comedy between Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson,” Hamada said.
Heard’s option was delayed over concerns about whether Heard was the right fit for the film, Hamada said, adding that there were some conversations about potentially recasting her role due to concerns around her chemistry with Momoa, who played the titular role.
“Editorially, they were able to make that relationship work in the first movie, but there was a concern that it took a lot of effort to get there and would we be better off recasting, finding someone who had better, more natural chemistry with Jason Momoa,” Hamada said.
Warner Bros. considered recasting Amber Heard in ‘Aquaman 2’ due to lack of chemistry, studio exec says
May 24, 202203:22
Heard defense rests its case
Heard’s legal team rested the case in her defense Tuesday morning, allowing Depp’s attorneys to bring in rebuttal witnesses as the trial winds down.
Judge rules against Depp’s motion to dismiss Heard’s countersuit
Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate ruled against Depp’s request to dismiss Heard’s $100 million countersuit.
The judge said she’s bound by law to let the jurors make findings of fact as long as there’s at least some reasonable chance Heard’s claim could prevail.
“It is not my role to measure the veracity or weight of the evidence,” she said.
Heard’s attorneys defend countersuit claims
Heard’s legal team defended her countersuit against a motion to dismiss.
“When Mr. Waldman made those statements, he was standing in the shoes of Mr. Depp,” Heard’s attorney Ben Rottenborn said. “They are one and the same.”
Heard’s legal team also referenced the judge’s ruling to dismiss Depp’s request for a summary judgment, noting that it can be reasonably concluded that Waldman acted with “actual malice” by making the statements because he knew nothing of Depp and Heard’s marriage.
“The counterclaim statements are 100 percent false; there was no hoax perpetrated,” Rottenborn said. “Mr. Depp is an abuser who abused Ms. Heard.”
Depp’s attorneys ask judge to dismiss Heard’s countersuit
Depp’s legal team requested the judge dismiss Heard’s $100 million countersuit on the basis that Heard failed to meet the burden of proof regarding the statements made by Depp’s former attorney.
The argument made by Depp’s legal team is that Heard failed to prove that Adam Waldman acted with “actual malice” when accusing her of creating an abuse “hoax” in three statements to the Daily Mail in 2020. The malice standard, meaning a party must have acted with reckless disregard for the truth, is required to win a defamation suit as a public figure.
Heard also failed to prove that Waldman acted on behalf of Depp in making the statements, Depp’s attorney Benjamin Chew said.
“There is no such evidence on the record that Mr. Depp directed or otherwise authorized Mr. Waldman to make the three alleged defamatory statements,” he said.
Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial enters final week
May 24, 202203:37
How much time each side has used in the case
Johnny Depp has used 45 hours, 24 minutes of time allotted, with 15 hours, 51 minutes remaining.
Amber Heard has used 57 hours, 6 minutes of time allotted, with 4 hours, 9 minutes remaining.
Both parties get approximately 61 hours to present their cases. Heard’s team used most of its time during depositions.
Witness says Disney decided not to cast Depp in new ‘Pirates’ installment before Heard’s op-ed
May 23, 202203:01