After Johnny Depp’s name previously appeared on today’s witness list for ex-wife Amber Heard’s defense team, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor won’t be returning to the stand after all, TheWrap has learned.
“Calling Depp back to the stand would be as relevant to us as a bicycle to a fish,” a source close to Heard said Monday afternoon, explaining the decision. “Everything Depp has testified up to this point has been irrelevant to the heart of this case, and there’s no reason to believe it would be any different now.”
The actor had been listed as the third defense witness of the day in his defamation trial against Heard, before the plan changed.
Neama Rahmani, a Los Angeles-based trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor who is closely following the case, questioned the last-minute strategy change by Heard’s team.
“Frankly, I’m surprised and it’s yet another mistake in a series of mistakes by Heard’s legal team,” Rahmani told TheWrap. “We all know that he was a very good witness the first time, I expect him to be as good or even better the second time he testifies. So why not call him in your case, so you can at least ask the questions. First, you can cross-examine him, instead of letting what happened, the first time happen, which was Depp getting softball questions by his attorneys, and him knocking it out of the park.”
Rahmani also questioned whether Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, has been doing her best work.
“Obviously we saw how poorly Elaine did when it came to the objections last week, she was unable to overcome even the most basic objections by Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez, so that was really poor lawyering,” he said. “Strategically there’s been several mistakes. Heard’s team has spent too much time talking about drug and alcohol abuse and verbal abuse, when this is really a case about physical violence, and I think everyone will agree that Johnny Depp has a drug and alcohol problem. And I think they have very precious time to present evidence in this case, they spent too much of it talking about something that’s really not disputed.”
Both Depp and Heard have testified in the Fairfax, Virginia, courtroom that they suffered abuse during their relationship. Last month Depp told the court that Heard’s domestic abuse allegations against him were “heinous” and “not based in any species of truth.”
Heard previously told the Fairfax, Virginia, courtroom that she suffered cuts on her arm and feet from broken glass, and a bruised jaw from getting “clocked” by Depp after a violent fight in Australia. She also testified that she was bleeding from her vagina after she claimed Depp assaulted her with a liquor bottle. On cross-examination Heard admitted there were no pictures or medical records of her alleged injuries because she didn’t want anyone to know what happened.
Meanwhile, Heard’s sister, Whitney Enriquez, took the stand on May 18 and said she saw Depp strike Heard in the face during an argument in March 2015. Enriquez is the only person in the weeks-long trial to say they witnessed the “Pirates” actor hit Heard. Depp has testified that he never struck his ex-wife.
He did claim Heard would “verbally decimate me or send me into a tailspin or depression,” and allegedly attack him by slapping, shoving, throwing remotes at his head and throwing wine in his face. The “Pirates” star said, “In her frustration and rage and anger she would strike out.”
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million claiming she libeled him in a 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Post, costing him a lucrative role in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Although Heard didn’t name him in the article, the “Aquaman” actress described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Heard has counter-sued for $100 million.
Depp and Heard married in 2015 but split in May 2016, when Heard sought a domestic violence restraining order and accused him of abusing her. Depp denied the claims, and the two settled their divorce out of court in August 2016.