After 13 days of testimony, attorneys for Johnny Depp on Tuesday rested their case in his defamation trial against Amber Heard, and Heard’s legal team began presenting their side.
Depp is suing Heard, his ex-wife, alleging that a 2018 op-ed she penned defamed him and caused him to lose work in Hollywood.
Heard is expected to take the stand as soon as tomorrow.
Leading up to Tuesday, jurors heard from more than two dozen witnesses called by Depp’s attorneys, including Depp himself. Many testified about explosive fights between the former couple.
Depp’s final witness, forensic accountant Mike Spindler, testified Tuesday about his analysis of the earnings Depp lost as a result of the 2018 op-ed, which did not mention the actor by name.
“I concluded that Mr. Depp suffered lost earnings of approximately $40 million,” Spindler testified.
Minutes after Depp’s legal team rested its case, Heard’s attorneys presented a motion to strike the case, a common tactic in civil cases, arguing that Depp did not prove his defamation claim.
Judge Penny Azcarate partially denied the motion based on two arguments, but said she would continue to consider one other argument if evidence is introduced by Heard’s team related to it as they present her case.
Heard’s legal team takes center stage
Heard’s legal team began with testimony from clinical and forensic psychologist Dawn Hughes, who previously testified as an expert in abusive relationships in the trials of Nxivm founder Keith Raniere and singer R. Kelly, helping secure both of their convictions.
Hughes, who evaluated Heard and specializes in intimate partner violence, testified that the actress was subjected to sexual abuse by Depp.
She also said that she diagnosed Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Hughes testified that Heard was not a client but that she conducted an objective evaluation of the actress in connection with the case. Hughes said she met with Heard for 29 hours beginning in September 2019.
Hughes did not meet with Depp, she said.
On direct examination, Hughes testified that Heard reported experiencing physical violence, psychological aggression, sexual violence, coercive control and being surveilled by Depp. Hughes detailed multiple incidents of sexual violence shared with her by Heard.
Hughes testified that there are therapy notes that correspond with what Heard reported to her.
Depp previously testified that he was a victim of physical and verbal abuse by Heard and denied accusations of physical violence against Heard.
Hughes said she determined through tests that there were different degrees of physical violence and psychological aggression that Heard and Depp perpetrated to one another.
“What these tests show is that there was a high degree of serious violence perpetrated by Mr. Depp toward Ms. Heard. There was violence more on the mild level perpetrated by Ms. Heard toward Mr. Depp, with one severe indicator which was the punching that she indicated to me,” Hughes said. “Mr. Depp engaged in more severe acts of psychological aggression, whereas Ms. Heard engaged in mild and severe acts of psychological aggression.”
Hughes also said Heard was subjected to sexual violence whereas Depp, based on Heard’s report, was subjected to “none.”
Depp’s team has repeatedly accused Heard of being the abuser in the relationship, pointing to an incident in Australia that left Depp with part of his finger severed, among other incidents.
Hughes will be cross examined Wednesday morning by Depp’s attorneys.