April 13, 2022, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA — The 50-million-dollar defamation lawsuit between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is now underway in Fairfax County, Virginia in Depp vs Heard. Each accused the other side of lies, defamation and abuse. The case stems from a December, 2018 opinion piece that Amber wrote that was published in the Washington Post.
You can find every single document stemming from all of their legal disputes, from their divorce to the defamation case, all compiled and labeled here. You can find the documents from the UK case there as well.
The trial could last at least six weeks, with over 100 witnesses who may testify, and both Depp and Heard may take the stand as well. Depp met Heard during the shooting of the film “The Rum Diaries” in 2009. The former co-stars began dating each other in 2012 and were married three years later.
Around the time of Heard’s blockbuster film Aquaman’s release in May of 2016, police were called to the couple’s Los Angeles home responding to an alleged domestic dispute. The Los Angeles Police Department concluded that there was no evidence of a crime. A few days after that, Amber Heard filed for divorce and a restraining order, having accused Depp of “repeated” domestic violence. Depp’s representatives denied these allegations, but Heard was granted a temporary restraining order.
The bitter feud between the two played out in the public, with both parties slinging accusations at each other. Before the hearing on the restraining order, the couple ended their divorce, settled for a reported 7 million dollars. Heard dropped the restraining order, and she and Depp released a joint statement claiming that: “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love. Neither party has made false accusations for financial gain. There was never any intent of physical or emotional harm.”
Then in 2018, Heard published the op-ed in the Washington Post, alleging domestic violence, which Depp claimed was defamatory and caused him harm to his career. Heard claimed that Depp repeatedly abused her.
Yesterday we heard opening statements from both sides, and Mr. Depp’s sister Christi Dembrowski being the first witness to take the stand. You can read my article on the first day of trial here.
Here you can get caught up on the first day of the trial:
I arrived at the Fairfax County Courthouse early this morning, around 7:30am to get one of a limited number of wrist bands being given out to members of the public to attend the trial. I was unable to get press credentials on such short notice.
At around 9:30am Ms. Heard arrived and was ushered inside the court room via the back of the courthouse, a special area reserved for high profile individuals. Johnny had already arrived, so we missed him.
Ms. Heard’s legal team was with her as she arrived. She appeared in good spirits. By 10:00 am I was inside the courtroom seated in the fourth row on the right. From my handwritten notes:
There are lots of Depp fans in the gallery. One woman said she got here at 5 am. There is a young man next to me wearing a Pacman suit jacket. TV monitors line the walls. A group of young ladies arranged themselves to be in front of the camera as a young man with them whispers to them, “Good posture!”
The lawyers were preparing and getting set up. The main court officer laid out the rules for people attended the trial — “no electronic devices, no pictures, no laptops!” The fangirls in front of me gushed about getting to be in the same room as Depp; the fan boys next to me talked excitedly about the trial. A man in the third row held a glossy magazine and flipped through it, showing shiny pictures of Depp and Heard.
Amber Heard enters the courtroom and everyone quieted down. People started to whisper and speak in hushed tones. Heard looked around and she smiled as she greeted her lawyers and took her seat. She was dressed in what almost looked like a Naval/Sailor/Pilots uniform type suit. Johnny entered and was seated next to his lawyers. He wore a black suit and black thick rimmed glasses. He conferred with his lawyers and appeared to be in good spirits. Heard turned around in her chair and she looked at me directly in the eyes and she smiled at me. She looked around and then mouthed a “thank you” to her lawyers. Heard is quite tall.
The Judge entered and took her seat, followed by the jury.
First Witness: Christi Dembrowski
The first witness called today was Johnny Depp’s sister/manager Christi Dembrowski. The Judge reminded her that she is still under oath. Amber Heard’s lawyers began their cross examination of her. Heard’s lawyers pressed Christi (hereinafter C.D.) on Depp’s drug use and alcohol consumption.
Heard’s Lawyer: “You were his personal manager, right? You would receive information relevant to Depp’s personal affairs, he’s your brother and you love him. You’re his sister and his manager? Did you have reason to believe that Depp had a drug problem? That he romanticized drug culture? That he didn’t take responsibility for his actions? That he acted like a child when he didn’t get immediate satisfaction?”
C.D.: “I never had reason to believe that.”
Heard’s lawyer went on to claim that Depp “didn’t grasp the full responsibility of his role in his children’s lives.” They brought up an Exhibit, an email from a Doctor Kipper to C.D. re: Dr. Kipper’s treatment of Johnny. The email is from 2014. C.D. acknowledged that the doctor had been “working with Depp to get help for the pain medication he was addicted to. He had been taking them for a while.”
Amber’s lawyers went on to ask C.D. if she believed Johnny’s use of drugs was having an impact on his relationships. C.D. said that Amber said that. C.D. also claimed that Amber was very dramatic and would make claims denied by other people in Johnny’s orbit who were with him daily, assistants and staff. Heard’s lawyers asked her if Johnny was showing up late to movie sets, and if this was due to his use of drugs. C.D. claims she heard about his being late to one set; she believed it may have been due to the pain medication. This is why she wanted him to get help for that.
Second Witness: Isaac Baruch
Mr. Isaac Baruch (Hereinafter I.B.) lives in Los Angeles and has known Johnny Depp since the two were teenagers. They met in Florida around the year 1980. They both played in bands and had mutual friends and they really hit it off. He and Depp reunited in California around September of 1985. He says he knew Johnny was pursing an acting career at the time. In 1993 he started working for Depp, who owned a club called the Viper Room. He worked there from ’93-’98. He moved back in L.A. in December 2002 and went back to the Viper Room for another year. In 2004 the club changed hands. Depp gave him a severance pay that allowed him to pursue painting and attend Cal State University.
In 2008 Depp offered I.B. a “patronage” to help him get his painting career kick-started. He claimed he lived in East Columbia (ECB hereinafter) which was a building where Johnny owned the top two floors (four penthouses). He lived there for about three years and seven months. He spoke glowingly of Johnny, saying that Depp supported him and his work and must have given him around $100k over the years as a patron of his work and that he was so grateful to him.
During his time living at ECB, Johnny and Heard moved into the penthouse also #1, IB was in #2 and then Heard’s sister Whitney took #4 and Amber’s friend Rocky Pennington took #3. He testified that he loved them all and they all became his friends.
He said of Amber that she had “great teeth!” which caused the entire court to break out into laughter. He said he fell in love with her, like Johnny, and that she was always very gracious and kind to him, saying that when he came over she would always offer to make him food and get him something to drink.
I.B. claimed that when he saw Depp and Heard they were always very kind to each other and loving. He said he only witnessed a couple arguments between them, but nothing physical.
He then recounted what he witnessed on May 22-26, 2016 the dates of the alleged assault by Depp right before she filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences and requested the restraining order claiming domestic violence.
He claimed on May 15 or 16, 2016 he got a call from a friend and he went and picked up food then met the friend at ECB at 9:30 (give or take five mins). He said that as he and his friend got out of elevator, they saw shards of glass, kept walking, continued to his apartment, stopped in front of penthouse #1 because of a huge puddle of wine on the floor and dripping down the wall. The door opened a crack revealing Josh Drew (Rocky’s BF). He looked distraught and I.B. asked “what’s with all the spilt wine?” Josh said “rough day.” This concerned IB, and he asked, “are you okay?” Josh says yes. He and his friend then went to his place to eat/chat for an hour or so. He walked his friend out then came back up and went to bed at approximately 11 o’clock.
May 22, 2016, IB said it’s his birthday and he texted Johnny Depp (JD hereinafter) who was staying at a house, not the ECB. He didn’t hear back from him. At noon, he went out into hallway and saw a group of people there — Josh, Amber and a group of people in black. Amber turned to IB and said “JD came by last night and got violent, so I am changing the locks on 1, 3 and 4. Don’t worry about yours.” Heard had a security guy with her; she introduced them. IB asked “what happened, what’s going on?”
He then went into great detail about what happened over the next few days and how he saw Heard numerous times without make up on and that he never saw a cut, bruise, black eye, redness, swollenness, etc.
Johnny Depp's friend, Isacc Baruch TORCHED Amber Heard. Defense attorney Elaine Bredehoft trying to get him to admit he's too angry to be credible, did the opposite. Issac is ALL OF US ❤️#AmberHeardIsALiar #JohnnyDeppIsInnocent
Watch his full highlights https://t.co/Jpq7UVAGaH pic.twitter.com/r1HORK9aE8
— Andy Signore (@andysignore) April 13, 2022
IB then called Heard’s allegations malicious and false.
During lunch break I met two young ladies who had traveled all the way from New York to be here for the trial. One girl said she was there for “Johnny’s beautiful face.”
A woman who runs an Instagram account called Depp Collection said she was here for Johnny. She said “Johnny deserves to have the truth come out.” Here is a post she made that she wanted to share:
A friend that was with her told me, “I looked into different kinds of abuse and it looks like he was suffering from narcissistic abuse.” The girls asked to stay anonymous.
Third Witness: Brandon Patterson
The third and final witness of the day was a video deposition of Brandon Patterson, the general manager of the East Columbia Building (ECB).
Mr. Patterson testified mostly about technical details regarding clips from the security cameras in the ECB. Several clips were played of Depp in the elevators, police entering and leaving the building as well as Heard and her friends.
You can watch the full day’s proceedings here:
I will continue to provide updates on the trial.