Amber Heard’s legal team will not call Johnny Depp back to the witness stand, it has emerged.
A source close to Amber Heard said: “Calling Depp back to the stand would be as relevant to us as a bicycle to a fish. 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 remarks – tweeted by Court TV Legal Correspondent Chanley Shá Painter – followed widespread reports over the weekend that Mr Depp would be recalled by Ms Heard’s defence on Monday as the trial entered its sixth and final week.
Ms Painter joined others in noting that the decision could be motivated in part by time pressure as both sides are limited in the length of their cases, writing: “Heard’s team is running out of time to present their eence … at the beginning of the week they only had about 8 hours to use on their case in chief and rebuttal this week.”
Law & Crime Correspondent Angenette Levy chimed in to say that calling Mr Depp would be “risky”, tweeting: “They don’t have a lot of time left and Johnny Depp was largely regarded to be uncontrollable as a witness by Amber Heard’s lawyers. Many legal observers felt he did well on the stand.”
Mr Depp, who testified for his own side over three and a half days last month, is expected to retake the stand during his team’s rebuttal later this week.
The rebuttal is expected to feature testimony from a total of 18 witnesses, including Mr Depp’s former girlfriend Kate Moss.
Actor Johnny Depp gestures to the gallery as he leaves for a break in the courtroom during his defamation trial against ex-wife, actor Amber Heard, in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, U.S., May 23, 2022
Actor Amber Heard watches as the jury arrives into the courtroom after a break at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Va., Monday, May 23, 2022
The defamation trial between Mr Depp and Ms Heard began on 11 April in Fairfax, Virginia following Mr Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife in March 2019. Mr Depp is arguing that she defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.
In her op-ed, Ms Heard wrote that “like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim”.
“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she added at the time.
While Mr Depp isn’t named in the piece, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”. Mr Depp is seeking damages of “not less than $50m”.
Ms Heard has filed a $100m counterclaim against Mr Depp for nuisance and immunity from his allegations.