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Jurors in the ongoing trial pitting actors and former spouses Amber Heard and Johnny Depp against one another will hear from final witnesses Thursday, one day before lawyers from each side present their final arguments.
Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”
His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.
Depp is seeking US$50-million in damages, while Heard is countersuing her former partner for US$100-million.
On Thursday, Heard was called back to the stand by her lawyers to rebut her counterclaim against Depp. “I am harassed, humiliated and threatened every single day,” she said.
“People want to kill me and they tell me so every day,” she said, her voice quivering.
“Every single day I have to live with the trauma,” she testified.
“This is horrible,” she said. “Perhaps it’s easy to forget I am a human being.”
Heard insisted while she “would not wish this situation on my worst enemy,” that she has used her platform to provide a voice for domestic violence victims.
“It’s been agonizing, painful and the most humiliating thing I’ve ever had to go through,” she said about the trial. “I just want Johnny to leave me alone.”
“I have a right as an American to talk about what happened to me. To own my story and my truth,” Heard testified.
Upon cross-examination, Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez questioned Heard about several elements of her testimony, implying Heard has been untruthful in her claims.
Vasquez and Heard frequently spoke over one another, raising tensions in the courtroom.
Depp’s lawyer presented the jury with two photos of Heard and a friend the day after she filed a temporary restraining order against Depp in 2016.
In the photos, Heard is smiling and hugging her friend. The day prior, Heard had visited a courthouse to obtain the restraining order with a bruise on her face. Heard testified she was wearing makeup to cover the bruise in the new photos.
After much heated back-and-forth, Heard concluded her testimony by again telling the courtroom she never wanted any of the trial to be public.
The judge gave the jury some instructions, and Heard’s side rested. Closing statements are expected Friday morning.
Earlier in the day, Depp’s lawyers began the proceedings by calling Dr. Richard Gilbert, an orthopaedic hand surgeon, to the stand.
Gilbert testified he believed Depp’s wounded finger, a central point in this trial, was severed by a “sharp laceration.”
Depp maintains he lost the digit when Heard threw a vodka bottle at his hand during a 2015 argument in Australia.
Heard says that while she does not know exactly how Depp severed his finger, she did not throw anything at his hand. In her testimony, she hypothesized Depp may have injured himself by brutally smashing a wall-mounted phone to pieces.
Gilbert testified he believed Depp’s claims of how his finger was lost were legitimate.
Heard’s lawyers then called Julian Ackert, a forensic computer expert, to the stand.
Both legal teams questioned Ackert about the metadata legitimacy of the photos submitted by Heard as evidence in this trial.
There were no huge revelations from his testimony.
Dr. Dawn Hughes, a clinical forensic psychologist, was then called again to the stand to rebut testimony from Wednesday by Dr. Shannon Curry.
She defended her methodology for her original psychological tests of Heard. She maintained that Dr. Curry, who was hired by Depp’s legal team and testified Heard had several personality disorders, was misinformed.
When cross-examined by Depp’s lawyer, the questioning became heated as Depp’s team cast doubt on Hughes’ ability to properly administer psychological testing. Depp’s lawyers also disputed Hughes’ claim that Heard has PTSD.
Depp, too, returned to the stand a day prior on Wednesday, telling the court that it’s been “insane” listening to Heard’s accusations against him.
“It’s insane to hear heinous accusations of violence, sexual violence, that’s she’s attributed to me. I don’t think anyone enjoys having to split themselves open and tell the truth. But there are times when one has to, as it’s gotten out of control.”
He called his time in court “ridiculous, humiliating, painful, savage, unimaginably brutal and cruel” as well as calling everything that’s been said about him “false.”
“No human being is perfect, certainly not. But I have never, in my life, committed sexual battery, physical abuse, all of these outlandish, outrageous stories of me committing these things.
“This is not easy for any of us, I know that. But no matter what happens I did get here and I did tell the truth. And I have spoken up for what I’ve been carrying on my back reluctantly for six years.”
On Wednesday, jurors also heard from Depp’s ex-girlfriend Kate Moss.
Moss, a 48-year-old former supermodel — who was romantically involved with Depp from 1994 to 1998 — told the court about an incident in which she fell down a flight of stairs and was saved by Depp.
In very brief testimony, Moss said that she and Depp were in Jamaica during their relationship, and it had been raining. She then slipped down the wet stairs in their suite, she said, and Depp raced to help her up, carried her to her room and got her medical attention. She denied outright that Depp pushed her down the stairs and said he never did that at any point during their time together.
Earlier in the proceedings, which began on April 12 and will wrap up on May 27, Depp denied many of the allegations of sexual and physical assault Heard has levelled against him, insisting that he is a “Southern gentleman” and that he had not been addicted to alcohol or illicit drugs.
— With files from Global News’ Chris Jancelewicz and The Associated Press