Heard testifying comes after a psychologist hired by her lawyers said on the stand that Heard suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder from multiple acts of abuse, including sexual violence, inflicted on her by Depp.
Depp is suing Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court, saying her 2018 Washington Post op-ed defamed him when she described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” The article never mentions Depp by name, but Depp’s lawyers say he was defamed nevertheless because it’s a clear reference to abuse allegations Heard levied in 2016.
The trial has now entered its fourth week. Much of the testimony during the first three weeks centered on the volatile relationship between Depp and Heard. Depp says he has never struck Heard. Her lawyers said during the trial’s opening statements that she was physically and sexually abused by Depp on multiple occasions.
Judge rejects Amber Heard’s motion to dismiss, more previous trial details
Depp wrapped up his own testimony last week, making his case to the jury that he would often withdraw from arguments with Heard to avoid any escalation.
“I would excuse myself from the situation,” Depp said. “I would try to get away so that nothing escalated because if given the chance to allow things to escalate, Ms. Heard would take it to the very extreme, which ended up with my finger being chopped off.”
After a judge Wednesday rejected Amber Heard’s motion to dismiss the suit, psychologist Dawn Hughes testified that Heard suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from violence she suffered at the hands of Depp, including multiple acts of sexual assault.
Hughes’ testimony contradicts that of a psychologist hired by Depp’s lawyers, who said Heard was faking her symptoms of PTSD and suffered from borderline and histrionic personality disorders. Hughes disputed that Heard suffers from any personality disorder.
Hughes was the first witness to take the stand on Heard’s behalf after Depp’s lawyers rested their case Tuesday morning. She said she based her testimony on 29 hours of interviews with Heard, as well as interviews with Heard’s therapists and a review of court documents.
Earlier this week, Depp’s agent testified that the actor’s ex-wife’s 2018 op-ed piece was “catastrophic” to his career and coincided with the loss of a $23 million deal for a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel.
Amber Heard’s lawyers pushed back aggressively against the agent’s assertion on cross-examination, suggesting that the article was inconsequential amid a stream of bad publicity for Depp brought on by his own bad behavior.
Johnny Depp completes trial testimony:‘If I don’t walk away … it’s going to be a bloodbath’
For Depp’s Virginia lawsuit to be successful, he not only needs to show that he was falsely accused, but he also needs to show that the op-ed piece — not Heard’s abuse allegations in 2016 when she filed for divorce and obtained a temporary restraining order — is what caused the damage.
The trial continues to capture public attention. More than 100 people were lined up Wednesday before 7 a.m. — the proceedings don’t begin until 10 a.m. — outside the courthouse for the 100 seats made available in the courtroom. Most are Depp supporters and fans.
Contributing: Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY; The Associated Press