Defamation trial judge Johnny Depp-Amber Heard dismissed an attempt by Depp’s lawyers to dismiss Heard’s $100 million countersuit against the actor, a day before British model Kate Moss testified, followed of a definitive return of Depp to the tribune.
Lawyers for Depp, who rebut after Heard’s attorneys closed their case on Monday, had argued Heard failed to prove ‘actual malice’ occurred when the former public relations executive of Depp, Adam Waldman, told the Daily Mail that she had created an “abuse hoax”.
But Fairfax County, Va. Judge Penney Azcarate denied Depp’s motion to outright dismiss Heard’s claim, saying there was “more than a shimmer of evidence” that Waldman could have knowingly made. statements “false, or with reckless contempt”. for their truth.
Azcarate said she was not weighing the evidence, just whether each side had met their threshold for their case to proceed.
Depp’s lawyers also called a witness to challenge the idea that Depp was physically abusive towards Heard: surgeon David Kulber, who operated on Depp’s injured finger. When asked if Depp could have caught someone with a finger splint, Kulber said that Depp “could try to catch someone. But I don’t know how successful he would be.
Apart from the central issue of domestic violence, much of the dueling libel trial – now in its sixth and final week – has focused on accusations that Depp and Heard each lost income due to the charges. respectively brought against them.
Tuesday’s testimony focused on Heard’s claims that she lost $45 million to $50 million in additional revenue. A day earlier, a witness for the actor said Heard hadn’t seen the pay raises enjoyed by other actors of his generation, such as Zendaya, Gal Gadot and Ana de Armas. Last week, Heard’s agent, Jessica Kovacevic, said she believed the decision to cut Heard’s role in the Aquaman movie sequel was due to negative press and reputational damage.
On Tuesday, Walter Hamada, the president of DC-based film production at Warner Bros., the studio that makes the Aquaman films, disputed that claim, testifying that Heard’s contract was not renegotiated due to negative statements made by Depp or his publicists, as Heard alleges, but because of his performance.
In an unusually candid exchange for a Hollywood studio executive, Hamada said the studio was concerned about whether Heard was the right fit for sequels, and that there had been talks about casting another actor. due to Heard’s lack of chemistry with Jason Momoa, who plays Aquaman.
“You know it when you see it, and the chemistry just wasn’t there,” Hamada said.
Richard Marks, the veteran Hollywood attorney and witness to Depp whose turn of phrase was one of the highlights of the trial – ‘My job is to get to yes,’ he said in testimony precedent about his role as a dealmaker – that Heard’s earnings from $1 million for Aquaman to $2 million for Aquaman 2 were typical in the industry.
Marks acknowledged that outside of Aquaman and an eight-episode $200,000-per-episode series, Heard hasn’t been inundated with movie offers or endorsement deals. “The ‘star-is-born’ phenomenon didn’t happen,” he said. “It’s a matter of personalities. We haven’t seen any sponsorship deals pouring in to Ms. Heard.
But he rejected the claim by Heard’s lawyers that Depp’s press agent ‘hoax’ allegations had been ‘the issue at the heart of when the star was born’.
Witness heard Kathryn Arnold said Momoa was given the option to renegotiate her salary for the sequel from $3 million to $15 million, while Heard’s raise was not renegotiated beyond the terms of his option agreement.
In another twist, Marks said Arnold’s comparisons to other actors’ earnings “were not worth the paper they weren’t written on.”
All eyes will now turn to Wednesday’s video testimony of Moss, who dated Depp from 1994 to 1997 and who would testify that Depp “grabbed her and took care of her” after she slipped, wore flip flops and fell down some stairs while the couple were in Jamaica.
The model was asked to give evidence after Heard said she punched Depp to protect her sister Whitney Henriquez during an argument at the couple’s penthouse. Heard testified that Henriquez stood near a staircase and immediately thought of the rumors that Depp pushed Moss down a flight of stairs.
“[Whitney’s] his back was on the stairs, and Johnny jumps on him,” Heard said. “I don’t hesitate, I don’t wait – I just think, in my head, instantly of Kate Moss and the stairs… And I slammed on her.”
Depp’s legal team were seen celebrating the mention of Moss, which gave them the opportunity to call him as an impeachment witness.
Likely to come up when lawyers question Moss is a story Depp once told about his conversation with Hunter S Thompson, Depp’s reporter and hero. In a 1998 Rolling Stone article, Depp reportedly said, “I was with Kate, and I think he [Thompson] went straight to the romantic jugular, shit like I beat her enough. I probably said to her, ‘Yes, she is badly beaten.’ »
The trial continues.