- BBC News World
Amber Heard wrapped up an intense four days on the stand, testifying in her libel trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp.
The last two days were dedicated to an arduous cross-examination by Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vásquez, who questioned the veracity of Heard’s testimony about the marital violence to which she claims to have been subjected.
In a detailed and rigorous intervention, Vásquez accused Amber Heard of using drugs, beating Depp, being abusive with other of his partners and manipulating the photographs he used as evidence of the actor’s physical violence.
The lawyer sought several times to discredit the testimony and there were several angry exchangeswhen he repeatedly asked the witness to stick only and specifically to the questions he asked her.
The case relates to an opinion column that Heard published in the newspaper Washington Post in 2018 in which he claimed to be a victim of domestic abuse, from childhood to adulthood, without explicitly mentioning Depp.
Depp, 58, denies attacking her and has filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit, claiming the article seriously decimated his ability to make a living as an actor.
For her part, Heard, also an actress, 36, filed a counterclaim for US$100 million.
The brawl of 2015
On Tuesday, Camille Vásquez focused her cross-examination on Heard’s version of the events of a lengthy fight the former couple had in 2015 in Australia, when they had just married.
That heated row has been addressed several times during the trial.
Depp claims his then-wife cut off the tip of his finger when he threw a bottle of vodka at him. Heard says Depp raped her with a bottle.
But Vasquez questioned why Heard did not seek medical attention despite stating that he had suffered cuts and bruises during the chaotic fight.
“You’re the one who attacked someone with a bottle in Australia, aren’t you, Miss Heard?” the lawyer said.
In response, Heard assured. “nottappet to Johnny, never”.
However, he acknowledged that he had punched Depp on several occasions, which he said happened after “years of not defending myself.” His testimony is that he “reactively” hit him during the physical altercations.
brawl at the airport
Camille Vasquez brought up allegations against Heard that he physically abused his ex-girlfriend, artist and photographer Tasya van Ree.
They were in a relationship until 2012, but, according to a report in the newspaper USATodayIn 2009, the couple had an argument at an airport during which Heard punched Van Ree in the arm.
Two police officers allegedly heard the knock and then watched as Heard ripped off a necklace. was arrestedbut the accusations were withdrawn.
Van Ree later publicly denied that Heard had abused her during the altercation, saying she recalled the “homophobic” attitudes against the couple once it became known that the two were in a romantic relationship and were not just friends.
“Johnny Depp is not the only partner of his that he has attacked,” Vasquez said.
“I have never attacked any couple,” Heard insisted. “I have never attacked Mr Depp or anyone else I have been romantically linked to, ever.”
The jury was shown a diary extract – which Heard described as “love notes” – in which he appears to apologize to Depp.
“Sorry I can freak out. I’m sorry I hurt you,” she wrote. “I can become evil when they hurt me.”
Heard explained that “it’s important to apologize when you’re trying to put a fight behind you.”
In another note, written after the alleged bottle rape, Heard describes her complex and passionate relationship with the actor.
“True love isn’t just about the madness of passion or choosing the security of peace instead. No, it’s about having both, falling madly in love with your friend,” she wrote. “I want to tear you to pieces.”
The exposure of these notes was also accompanied by a recording in which Heard is heard telling her then-husband that “I get so angry that I lose control” and that she cannot guarantee that her actions would not become “physical”.
In the first cross-examination session on Monday, Camille Vasquez produced a series of photos that were taken 24 hours after Depp allegedly beat his former wife.
Heard had testified that after those beatings he had been left with bruises, cuts and on some occasions with a swollen and possibly broken nose.
However, in the photos that were projected, it does not appear to have consequences. Heard explained that she had applied ice packs and covered her face with makeup.
On Tuesday, the jury saw other photos produced by Heard herself that show her with reddish regions of her face after a last altercation that occurred in May 2016 before filing for divorce.
Vásquez showed two different copies of the same photo and suggested that Heard had manipulated one of them. “You edited these photographs,” he declared.
But the witness denied it: “Never.”
Vasquez went on to accuse her of “increasing the saturation to make her face look redder.”
Heard responded, “That’s wrong. I didn’t retouch it.”
a gift knife
In 2012, Heard bought Depp a gift, it was at the beginning of their relationship, around the time that the actor was supposedly going through cycles of violence.
The birthday present was a hunting knife with the inscription in Spanish “Hasta la muerte”.
Heard had previously explained that the inscription related to what Depp used to say about the relationship, that “the only way out of this was death.”
The knife had been mentioned in testimony, but had not been presented, until Vasquez asked that it be shown to the jury and questioned why it had occurred to him to give Depp that gift during a violent phase.
“That’s the knife she gave to the man who was hitting her,” the attorney said.
Heard’s retort: ”I wasn’t worried he was going to stab me.”
Drugs on the wedding menu
Many of Amber Heard’s statements allude to Johnny Depp’s constant use of drugs and alcohol and how this unleashed his anger and subsequent violence.
Heard took a collection of photos that were projected in court in which Depp is seen half unconscious, with his mouth open or lying on the floor drunk or drugged.
One of the photos shows the breakfast table with nail cocaine linescarefully prepared and ready to inhale with the respective paraphernalia.
In one of the sessions, Camille Vásquez also questioned the authenticity of that photo and then addressed Amber Heard’s own drug use.
Heard said that the night before her wedding to Depp in February 2015, on the actor’s private island, she had planned to consume hallucinogenic mushrooms with her girlfriends at her bachelorette party.
Vázquez projected an email with the agenda prepared by the bride for the dinner before the wedding in which there would be “a dance party with drugs and music.”
“Did you plan to have drugs at your wedding with someone you have described as a drug addict?”, the lawyer rebuked, “… a dinner with her husband, ‘the drug addict’, ‘the monster’, and taking drugs with her friends ” .
Heard indicated: “I recognize that that is what the mail suggests. The agenda ended up changing.”
He added that there was going to be marijuana on the island and, previously, the jury had heard that she and her friends had used ecstasy during the ceremony.
After two days of having Amber Heard on the ropes, Camille Vasquez concluded her cross-examination.
Heard’s lawyer tried to reply with little success, interrupted by objections from Depp’s legal team.
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