The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial captivated viewers with a glimpse into the stormy marriage of two movie stars but, believe it or not, the proceedings could have been even more sensational.
The unsealing of a trove of 6,000 pages of documents showed how the two sides fought bitterly during the discovery phase of the trial over what could be admitted and what could not. Things were so acrimonious between the parties that there was even a lengthy back and forth between the lawyers about the Covid safety precautions to take during Heard’s deposition.
From Heard’s perspective, Judge Penney Azcarate ended up excluding the eyes and ears of the jury too much. After the jury awarded Depp $10.4 million in damages, his lawyer Elaine Bredehoft appeared on Today and complained that the panel had not heard further evidence in the case that had been allowed in Depp’s trial in the UK, where he lost his case against The Sun over a story that told him identified as a “wife beater”. “We had a massive amount of evidence that was suppressed in this case that was in the UK case,” Bredehoft said.
Heard won a $2 million judgment against Depp, and both sides are appealing their respective verdicts.
Neither the Depp nor Heard camps responded to request for comment on the mass unsealing when contacted by Deadline today.
Among the details in the unsealed documents:
Metadata. While a Depp team witness suggested at trial that Heard’s photos of his injuries may have been altered, consistent with the inference that they were doctored, Heard’s team also made a similar inference about photos submitted by Depp. Forsensic expert Julian Ackert cited “anomalies that call into question the authenticity of the documents. Specifically, Heard’s team referred to the “limited metadata revealing that the ‘created’, ‘modified’, ‘received’ and ‘sent’ dates are July 22, 2019, although Mr. Depp claims that this photo was taken in March 2015. Depp’s team called the claims “irrelevant” and lacking in foundation. The judge denied the Heard team’s motions to pursue the case.
Dirty pictures. Heard’s team claimed that Depp’s lawyers sought to introduce “irrelevant personal matters” such as nude photos of Heard and “Amber’s brief stint as an exotic dancer years before she met Mr. Depp and Mr. Depp frivolously and maliciously attempting to suggest or imply that Ms.. Heard was at one time an escort. They argued that the allegations that she was an escort were “baseless, inflammatory, irrelevant and designed to harass and belittle Amber Heard”. Depp’s team wrote in March that they had no plans to introduce such evidence, but that it was “possible to envision a scenario in which such photographs could become highly relevant in the context of this case, for example to show a lack of visible injuries”. They also referenced evidence of Heard’s stint as a stripper “or rumors that she was an escort early in her career.
“However, Mr. Depp reserves the right to use these materials to the extent they become necessary in the event of a rebuttal, and in any event, the trial is a smooth process, and these issues are all potentially relevant and should be reserved for final determination at trial.”
They were kept out of the trial.
Texts by Marilyn Manson. Depp’s friendship with Marilyn Manson was cited during the trial, but his attorneys worried about “guilt by association.” According to the New York Post, unsealed records show Manson texted Depp in 2016 that he was in an “amber 2.0” situation. Depp replied via text: “I’ve read a LOT of material on this sociopathic behavior…it’s f—ing real bro!! My ex c— is a fucking MANUEL! “Ms. Heard’s attempt to smear Mr. Depp with an association with Mr. Manson is more prejudicial than probative,” Depp’s lawyers argued. The texts were withheld from the trial. Manson is engaged in his own lawsuit in defamation, after suing her ex-fiancé Evan Rachel Wood and others over her abuse allegations.
Depp’s medical history. The actor’s team acknowledged his history of substance abuse, but there were other parts of his medical history that they sought to exclude. They argued that his state of health was “marginal or without probative value”. An example: the proof that Depp took Valtrex, Nexium and Cialis.
If Heard won. During a deposition in November 2020, Heard’s lawyer asked Depp if he would react if the jury found in favor of his ex-wife and if he would just take it as “the opinion of seven people.” .
“No, I’m not going to say that’s the opinion of seven people. Look, it could be one man’s opinion, it could be 200 people’s opinion, it could be a thousand people’s opinion, and they might believe that I did these things, which I I did not participate in any of what Ms. Heard accuses me of. It’s pure fiction, so I can only hope that people will hear the truth and understand that it’s the truth, but I don’t think the–the young soldiers who were storming the beaches of Normandy – I don’t think they were saying hey, let’s have pizza tonight. I think they knew what they had gotten themselves into.
“So what I’m saying is that if – if it comes out, the ruling in this particular case comes out in… Ms Heard’s favor, then that’s what’s going to happen, but that’s not going to suit me. make it go away oh, my God, I must have done it.