Amber Heard took the stand in a Virginia courtroom to continue her testimony in the high-profile defamation suit filed by her former husband Johnny Depp. During her cross-examination by Depp's legal team on Tuesday grilled Heard about a late-night visit from actor James Franco after she filed a restraining order against Depp in 2016.
Johnny Depp’s lawyer questions Amber Heard’s relationship with James Franco; submits CCTV footage
When asked about James Franco's visit, initially Amber Heard responded, "I do not know when James came over".
Depp's attorney, Camille Vasquez, then submitted video evidence of Heard and Franco entering the elevator of Depp's penthouse. In the surveillance clip, Franco was seen resting his head on Heard's shoulder that seemed to suggest a possible romantic relationship between the two. The video was marked with the timestamp of May 22, 2016, at about 11 pm and the duo was seen on their way up to the penthouse. Vasquez played surveillance elevator footage of Franco arriving at Heard's penthouse: "You changed the lock to the penthouses on May 22, 2016," Vasquez posited. "I attempted to," Heard replied, referring to previous testimony about changing the locks after a fight with Depp.
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) May 17, 2022
Vasquez asked, "That's why you felt comfortable having James Franco over the evening of May 22, 2016?" When Heard testified that she does not recall when specifically, her former co-star visited, Vasquez presented footage dated May 21, 2016, "past 11 p.m. at night" when she "knew Mr. Depp was out of town." Heard said, "I don't know what I knew of his schedule at the time." After the evidence was presented to the jury, Heard confirmed that she invited Franco over to the residence. "He was my friend and he lived quite literally next door. I'd exhausted my support network and I was happy to welcome as much friendship as I could possibly get," she said.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Heard previously testified that Depp suspected the two of having an affair. "He hated, hated James Franco," Heard told the court last week. "He was accusing me of secretly having a thing with him in the past since we had done Pineapple Express together."
James Franco and Elon Musk, who Heard briefly dated in 2017, are included on her witness list, but neither is expected to testify.
Further on, Heard's sister took the stand and testified Wednesday that she found herself in the middle of fights between her sister and Depp during their troubled relationship. Whitney Heard Henriquez was the first witness to testify at the five-week civil trial to say she personally witnessed Depp hitting Heard while Depp has testified, he never struck Heard. Henriquez, who was called to the stand to corroborate Heard’s allegations that Depp repeatedly assaulted her over the course of their four-year relationship, told the jury that he repeatedly hit Heard in the face during an argument at the couple’s penthouse in March 2015.
As Variety cites, Henriquez described witnessing a fight in which Depp and Heard were screaming obscenities at each other. Depp ran upstairs toward a mezzanine and hit Henriquez in the back, she said, and then Heard smacked him, saying “Don’t hit my fucking sister.” Depp’s security guard then ran up the stairs.
“Johnny had already grabbed Amber by the hair with one hand and was whacking her repeatedly in the face with the other, as I was standing there,” Henriquez said. The security guard intervened and broke up the fight but “by that time Johnny had already grabbed Amber by the hair with one hand and was whacking her repeatedly in the face with the other,” Henriquez said. Outside, she said she could hear Depp screaming “I fucking hate you! I fucking hate you both! You fucking cunts! You fucking whores!”
As the outlet notes, Henriquez previously testified about the fight, the “staircase incident”, during the 2020 defamation trial in the U.K. involving the couple. In that case, the judge found that Depp did assault Heard on that occasion, as well as on numerous others. Depp also testified about the incident in the Virginia trial on April 20. In his account, he recalled taking a “roundhouse punch” from Heard following which, the Jurors were shown a picture of his bruised face. Depp did not mention striking Heard or her sister. Per the report, Travis McGivern, the security guard, gave testimony that generally lined up with Depp’s version of events.
Meanwhile, Heard recalled in her testimony that she had swung at Depp to protect her sister and that Depp had held her by the back of her head and hit her repeatedly in the face. The next morning, Henriquez testified that she and Heard discovered Heard’s closet had been trashed on the staircase and they found a non-disclosure agreement that had been left for her on the kitchen table. She said she never signed it. Henriquez said that she also witnessed a general decline in Heard’s health and wellbeing over the four years of her relationship with Depp. “When he was drinking he would get very angry,” she said about Depp. “He would say really nasty, unkind things, usually about Amber, sometimes about me.”
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