Live updates on Johnny Depp trial: Heard’s lawyers are trying to poke holes in Depp’s defamation lawsuit

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Actor Amber Heard’s lawyers have spent much of the past week portraying her ex-husband Johnny Depp as a jealous and drunk abuser who has only himself to blame for his dizzying Hollywood career.

Since Heard completed her testimony Tuesday in a Virginia courtroom, her attorneys have presented testimony from people who were once close to Depp but have been pushed out of his orbit. They included Depp’s former longtime agent, actress Ellen Barkin, and Heard’s sister.

The lawyers’ goal: to undermine Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Heard. The lawsuit alleges it falsely portrayed him as a domestic abuser and cost him his lucrative film career, including the Pirates of the Caribbean film series.

Depp points to a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which Heard described himself as “a public figure who represents domestic violence.” Depp’s lawyers say the article defamed him even though he never mentioned his name.

The trial is entering its sixth week when it resumes on Monday. Below are snippets of testimony from some of the witnesses who were called by Heard’s attorneys last week to poke holes in Depp’s case.

Deppy’s Hollywood career

Depp blames Heard’s 2018 comment for sending his career into freefall. But Heard’s lawyers claim only Depp can be to blame for his darkening in the Hollywood sky.

Tracey Jacobs, who served as the actor’s agent for about 30 years, said that in their final years together, Depp “came up too late to consistently shoot on virtually every movie.”

“I was very honest with him and said, ‘You need to stop this — this hurts you,'” Jacobs said during a pre-recorded statement played back for the jury. “And it did.”

In the years before he fired her in 2016, Jacobs said Depp became increasingly unprofessional while his drug and alcohol use increased.

She also said Depp wore earphones on film sets so he could be fed lines from the script.

“At first the crews loved him because he was always so great with the crew. But crews don’t like to sit around for hours waiting for the star of the movie to show up,” Jacobs said.

“And word has gotten around town, too,” Jacobs added. “I mean, people talk, it’s a small community. And it has made people reluctant to use it.”

Heard’s attorneys were also adjusting to the reported loss of Depp’s role in the sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film. And they played the video testimony of Tina Newman, executive producer at Walt Disney Studios.

Lawyers asked her, “Do you know of a Disney decision maker who has ever said they won’t cast Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates 6’ — or any other role — because of Amber Heard’s guest commenting?”

“No,” said Neuman.

Depp’s alcohol and drug use

Depp has testified that he never hit Heard and that he was a victim of abuse at the hands of his now ex-wife. Heard’s attorneys counter that Depp abused her both physically and sexually and that he cannot deny what happened because he was often too drunk to remember.

The jury heard recorded testimony from a mutual friend of the couple, iO Tillett Wright, who said Depp confided in him that he hated sobriety.

“He wanted to get sober for Amber,” Tillett Wright said. “He didn’t enjoy being sober. It wasn’t fun and it was excruciating and exhausting and very difficult to do. He was really, really upset that he had to be sober.”

Tillett Wright said Depp’s personality became mean and paranoid when he used alcohol or drugs.

Bruce Witkin, a musician who has been friends with Depp for nearly 40 years, testified in his testimony that he tried to help Depp with his drug abuse.

“He would say, ‘I’m fine. I’m fine,'” Witkin said, recalling one conversation. “Well, you’re not well.”

Actress Ellen Barkin, who dated Depp for a few months in the 1990s, said during her testimony that Depp “was always drinking or smoking a joint” or using other illegal drugs.

Was Depp a jealous lover?

To hear Barkin tell it – yes.

Barkin said Depp was controlling, jealous and angry. She said Depp would often ask her, “Where are you going? With whom you go? What did you do last night?”

She added, “I once had a scratch on my back that made him very, very angry because he insisted I had sex with a person who wasn’t him.”

Witkin, the musician and former Depp boyfriend, said the actor has shown signs of jealousy in relationships dating back to the 1980s when Depp was married to Witkin’s sister-in-law.

“When he was younger he was jealous of Nick Cage and jealous of Adam Ant because my sister-in-law knew her,” Witkin said.

There were also a few times when Depp got jealous during his relationship with French singer Vanessa Paradis, “which were ridiculous,” Witkin said.

“A lot of it was in his head and not really in reality,” Witkin said.

Depp’s jealousy with Heard surfaced when she was making a movie “or doing something that he couldn’t be around to see what was going on,” Witkin said. “I think he would get upset.”

Statement from Heard’s sister

Amber Heard’s sister, Whitney Heard Henriquez, said she personally saw Depp punch Heard. Depp has testified that he never hit Heard.

Henriquez testified that the argument took place in March 2015 — a month after Depp and Heard got married — when Heard found evidence that Depp was already having an extramarital affair.

Henriquez said a drunken dork accused Heard of forcing him into the extramarital encounter.

At one point, she said, she was caught between Depp and Heard as he stormed up a flight of stairs to confront Heard. Henriquez said she was hit in the back, and Heard got angry and “landed one” on Depp.

One of Depp’s bodyguards intervened, but “by this time, Johnny had already grabbed Amber’s hair with one hand and was repeatedly slapping her in the face with the other,” Henriquez said.

It was the only time, Henriquez said, that she personally witnessed a physical assault. But she said she saw the aftermath of other fights, including bruising Heard.

However, Henriquez admitted under cross-examination that she had at times sided with Depp in their arguments and said she worked to keep the couple together even after watching her sister be physically assaulted.

“If my sister said she still wanted to be with Johnny and if I could help in any way with that, I would support her,” she said.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Live updates on Johnny Depp trial: Heard’s lawyers are trying to poke holes in Depp’s defamation lawsuit

Laura Coffey

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