Actor Johnny Depp will testify on Tuesday in his legal battle against his ex-wife Amber Heard, who he accuses of lying about his abuse of her during their brief marriage.
Depp is suing Heard for defamation over an essay she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, in which she says she has become “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although the article never mentioned Depp by name, his lawyers said it indirectly referred to the allegations she brought against him during their 2016 divorce.
The trial in Fairfax County, Virginia, is expected to last several weeks. A Fairfax judge ruled in 2019 that Depp had the right to take the case there because The Washington Post’s online editions are published through servers in the county.
Depp’s attorneys argued in opening statement last week that Heard had damaged her reputation by “choosing to lie about him for her own personal gain.”
Heard’s attorneys protested, describing Depp as an alcohol and drug abuser seeking revenge.
They said in the introduction that Heard’s essay was written to highlight legislation to protect survivors and that it never detailed the charges against Depp.
Their former couples therapist, Laurel Anderson, testified that the abuse appeared to be “mutual” in their marriage. Anderson said Depp told her that Heard “gave as much as possible.”
Heard would rather fight Depp than see him walk away, and she “would attack him to keep him there,” Anderson said. During the cross-examination, Anderson explained that she understood that Heard was “fighting back” after Depp became well.
In pre-trial court filings, Heard said she hit Depp in self-defense or to protect her sister, according to The New York Times.
Anderson also testified that Heard, in a session conducted privately with her husband, said that Depp beat her and she left bruises.
Heard that was granted a protective order in May 2016 after she alleges that Depp hit her with a cell phone. She gave evidence in court – a photo with a bruise on her face – and alleges he pulled her hair, yelled and beat her repeatedly.
Heard said in his sworn statement at the time: “During our relationship, Johnny Depp abused me verbally and physically.
She also said she lived in fear of Depp, saying he had a “short fuse” and terrorizing her.
Depp, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star, denies ever physically abusing Heard. This is his second attempt to sue over the allegation; a case in the UK was lost two years ago.
Depp sued News Group Newspaper, which publishes The Sun, for calling him a “wife beater” in a 2018 article about the couple.
Justice Andrew Nicol ruled against Depp, saying the British tabloid had presented substantial evidence that Depp had abused Heard at least 14 times.
Depp’s attorneys said Nicol relied too much on Heard’s testimony, describing her as an unreliable witness and a compulsive liar.
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