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Amber Heard: Johnny Depp Trial Forces Her to Relive Trauma

Actor Amber Heard gave her final testimony in the defamation trial brought by her ex-husband Johnny Depp on Thursday, the last day that witnesses would be called in the six weeks of courtroom proceedings.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million, related to a 2018 Washington Post op-ed Heard penned in which she accused an unnamed former partner of domestic abuse. Heard then countersued Depp for $100 million in what was immediately a high-profile case.

Earlier in the day’s proceedings, Depp’s legal team introduced its last expert witness, and Heard’s legal team introduced two rebuttal witnesses. Heard then testified that the public nature of the trial has been “agonizing” in a way that echoed the alleged domestic abuse from Depp.

“I am harassed, humiliated, threatened every single day. Even just walking into this courtroom, sitting here in front of the world, having the worst parts of my life—things that I’ve lived through—used to humiliate me,” Heard told the court. “People want to kill me and they tell me so every day. People want to put my baby in the microwave and they tell me that.”

In response to further questions from her attorney about the effects her marriage to Depp has had on her since their relationship ended, Heard said she has to “relive the trauma” every day.

“My hands shake, I wake up screaming,” Heard said. “I have to live with the trauma and the damage done to me.” She then said that people in her life such as her friends and intimate partners have to live by unspoken rules of how to interact with her without surprising her or creating a triggering event that could cause a panic attack.

Depp’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, cross-examined Heard, and rehashed a few points in Heard’s previous testimonies that Depp’s team later called on witnesses to contradict. This included alleging that Heard herself had tipped off TMZ when she filed for a restraining order against Depp in 2016, though Heard said she did not know the media would be there, and insinuating that Heard fabricated a bruise photographed on her face that day.

Vasquez also called into question the way Heard could not identify the date of a photo of spilled wine on a floor that was in evidence.

“It’s easy to not know the context of a picture of spilled wine, because there are so many more important details, pictures, and also so much I didn’t photograph,” Heard said.

Vasquez pressed Heard, asking if she thought the witnesses such as a TMZ reporter were lying on the stand to help Depp.

“I know how many people will come out and say whatever for [Depp]. That’s his power,” Heard said. “That’s why I wrote the op-ed—I was speaking to that phenomenon. How many people will come out in support of him and will fall to his power. He is a very powerful man and people love currying favor with powerful men. And I know that first hand, I’ve lived it.”

When the trial began in the morning, Depp’s team of lawyers first called orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Gilbert to the stand. There, he said he had examined medical records, testimonies, and depositions related to an injury to Depp’s finger that had been discussed earlier in the trial.

Depp had previously alleged that Heard threw a vodka bottle at him, and it exploded and crushed his finger against a marble bar so that the bone fractured and the tip of the finger was amputated. Heard’s legal team had said she did not know how he injured his finger, and suggested it might have occurred when he allegedly punched a landline phone into a wall.

With x-rays of the finger shown in the court, Gilbert said that Depp’s account was plausible and consistent with the injury sustained.

“A vodka bottle, which is a hard object, would have crushed the tip of the finger resulting in the comminuted fracture. And in addition, as the vodka bottle broke, the glass would have lacerated the finger resulting in the soft tissue loss that was also seen with this injury,” Gilbert said. He disagreed with the doctor Heard’s team had used as an expert witness, who had said Depp’s finger sustained a pinching type of injury, rather than cutting from glass, because he thought the lacerations were too clean.

Heard’s team called Julian Ackert, a computer forensics expert, to the stand as their first rebuttal witness. Ackert said he had examined the metadata for photos of Heard’s injuries and concluded that they were “authentic, original photographs,” contradicting the findings of one of Depp’s witnesses.

On Friday, lawyers representing both Depp and Heard will present their closing arguments in the case. The judge will then give the jury instructions about deliberation.


Write to Julia Zorthian at [email protected]

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