Lawyers for actor Amber Heard sought to undermine Johnny Depp’s libel suit against her on Thursday by spending hours in court focusing on drinking, drug use and texts he has sent to friends, including one about wanting to kill and sullying his salvation.
Lawyers for actor Amber Heard sought to undermine Johnny Depp’s libel suit against her on Thursday by spending hours in court focusing on alcohol, drug use and texts he sent to friends, including one about wanting to kill and defile his then-wife.
Heard’s lawyers referenced Depp’s history of trashing hotel rooms and destroying a bathroom light during an argument with Heard. Depp is also facing a lawsuit brought by a member of a film crew who claims he was assaulted in 2018.
Depp’s lawsuit against Heard alleges she falsely portrayed him as a domestic abuser and ruined his lucrative acting career. But Heard’s lawyers say Depp did abuse Heard, both physically and sexually, and say he can’t deny it because he was often drunk and stoned to the point of passing out.
Depp’s text messages only bolster his ex-wife’s defense, his lawyers said.
“Of course, I hammered and showed lousy colors at Amber on a recent trip,” Depp said in a July 2013 text message to friend actor Paul Bettany that was shown to jurors.
“I’m a crazy person and not so straight after drinking too much,” Depp continued.
Hearing attorney J. Benjamin Rottenborn focused on another exchange that year between Depp and Bettany in which Depp wrote, “Let’s burn Amber!!!”
Bettany replied, “After thinking about it, I don’t think we should burn Amber.”
Depp texted, “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I’ll (expletive) burn her corpse afterwards to make sure she’s dead.
Depp has already apologized to the jury for the vulgar language in the texts and said that “in the heat of the pain I felt, I went to dark places”. He made the same apology on Thursday.
Rottenborn also showed the jury one of Depp’s texts to Bettany in 2014 in which he referenced whiskey, pills and cocaine.
The lyrics were written during a time when Depp said he quit drinking. And they were dispatched around the time of a private flight from Boston to Los Angeles, during which Heard said Depp assaulted her while he was dead drunk.
Rottenborn featured texts Depp sent to Bettany saying he had been “drinking all night before picking up Amber to fly to Los Angeles last Sunday… Ugly, mate… No food for days … Powders… Half a bottle of whiskey, a thousand red bulls and vodkas, pills, 2 bottles of Champers on the plane…”
Depp previously testified that he took two pills of oxycodone – an opiate he admits he was addicted to at the time – and locked himself in the plane’s lavatory and fell asleep to prevent ‘she doesn’t harass her. He also denies being drunk on the flight, saying he only drank a glass of champagne on boarding the plane.
But Rottenborn also showed the jury Depp’s expressions of contrition after the robbery.
“Once again I find myself in a place of shame and regret,” Depp wrote to Heard. “Of course, I’m sorry. I really don’t know why or what happened. But I will never do it again… My illness kind of crept in and grabbed me… I need to get better. And I will. For both of us. From now on. I like You. Again, I’m really sorry. Sorry.”
The jury also saw a written apology from Depp to Heard’s father in which the actor said he “messed up and went too far” in a fight with Heard. But Depp noted on the stand that the post didn’t say the fight was physical.
Several audio recordings of the couple’s conversations were played in court. In one, Heard told Depp he threw up in his sleep. In another chat, it sounds like Depp said he head-butted Heard.
“I was using the words Ms. Heard was using,” Depp shot back. “But there was no intentional headbutt. And if you want to have a peaceful conversation with Ms Heard, you may need to calm down a bit.
Depp has been on the helm of Fairfax County Circuit Court since Tuesday afternoon. He previously called the drug addiction charges “grossly embellished”, although he admitted to taking numerous drugs.
The actor also spent much of his previous testimony describing the couple’s rocky relationship and denying he ever abused Heard. Depp said Heard abused drugs and often violently attacked him.
Depp argued his film career suffered after he wrote a 2018 opinion piece in The Washington Post, which sparked his libel suit against Heard.
Heard never mentioned Depp by name in the article, but Depp’s lawyers said it was a clear reference to the charges Heard brought when she sought a restraining order against him in 2016 .
Depp said the accusations and the article contributed to an unjustly ruined reputation that made him a Hollywood pariah and cost him his role in the lucrative “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise.
When cross-examination began on Wednesday, Rottenborn pointed to evidence that Disney made that decision months before the article was published. His lawyers said Depp’s damaged reputation was due to his own bad behavior.
Rottenborn’s cross-examination of Depp lasted all of Thursday and is expected to continue Monday.
Ben Finley, The Associated Press