Depp-Heard lawsuit returns to much-talked about severed finger

Depp-Heard lawsuit returns to much-talked about severed finger

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As the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial entered its sixth week in Fairfax County, the jury was greeted Monday morning with gruesome photos of Depp’s bloody, severed finger during testimony from an orthopedic surgeon who disputed Depp’s version of the events that led to his much-discussed injury.

Depp, 58, is suing his ex-wife Amber Heard, 36, for $50 million for defamation after a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she called herself a public figure representing domestic violence, two years after asking the divorce. and a restraining order. Depp, who has denied all allegations of abuse, said the editorial (which did not name him) ruined his reputation and his career. Heard sued the actor for $100 million for defamation after his lawyer told the media that his allegations were a hoax.

Depp alleged Heard abused him and, during his testimony last month, said that when he was filming the fifth ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie in Australia in March 2015, he and Heard got into a fight and she dumped a bottle of vodka. at him in a way that cut off the tip of his middle finger on his right hand. Heard denied this and testified that the same night Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle of liquor and that sometime between that date and the next day her finger was injured.

Richard Moore, a North Carolina-based orthopedic surgeon who was called as a witness by the defense, told the jury he did not believe Depp’s finger was injured by a vodka bottle thrown at him . Moore, who added that he reviewed an “enormous” amount of material including medical records, photos and depositions from Depp and his doctor, said he arrived at this opinion because “the medical data is inconclusive – it does not match what we see in the injury pattern described or in clinical photographs.

In other words, Moore said, if Depp’s hand was flat on a bar and the bottle crushed his finger from the top, he would have anticipated injury to the fingernail and other parts of the finger. finger. However, Moore said, the nail and nail bed appeared intact. (The jurors saw supporting photos.)

As a result, Moore said, Depp’s description of what happened did not match the evidence Moore reviewed – and he saw no shards of glass or other lacerations or injuries to his hand. Using an X-ray of the finger shown to jurors, Moore said this type of injury usually occurs when a finger is pressed between two hard, opposing surfaces.

During cross-examination, Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, argued that Depp had in fact described his hand resting on the edge of the bar, slightly curled over the edge – Moore said that although he misstated that wouldn’t significantly change his opinion of mechanics. of the injury. He also agreed that he had no personal knowledge of what happened, as his impression is based on the description and available medical records.

After some back and forth, Moore said he couldn’t “rule out” the injury was caused by a bottle of vodka, but based on the evidence, he didn’t believe the injury occurred from the way described by Depp.

The defense later called David Spiegel, a Virginia psychiatrist who specializes in drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence known as “IPV.” (Depp’s lawyers objected to him being called an expert in the latter case.) Spiegel spent a lot of time telling the jury how alcohol and drug use affects the brain and memory — Depp’s substance use was a major talking point of the trial – and said that based on his review of the evidence, Depp exhibited behaviors consistent with substance use disorder and domestic violence.

“We also know that alcohol and cocaine use significantly increase the risk of domestic violence,” Spiegel said. “You are in quotes, colloquially, ‘playing with fire'” when talking about substances and IPV.

Depp’s attorney, Wayne Dennison, cross-examined Spiegel and specifically took issue with the fact that Spiegel never directly evaluated Depp, but Spiegel said that while experts were only allowed to testify on matters that they had personally assessed, the entire legal system would be “null and void.” Dennison asked Spiegel if someone could have all the risk factors for domestic violence and never commit domestic violence; Spiegel replied that the probability was that the person would, but uniformly the answer was no.

The last defense witness on Monday was Kathryn Arnold, an entertainment consultant who testified about the damages to their careers that Depp and Heard claimed against each other.

She started with Depp and said she analyzed whether the Post editorial negatively affected the actor’s career. Arnold testified that this had no impact, as his behavior on and off film sets began to interfere “with what everyone considered his great talent”.

Arnold pointed to another issue raised by Depp’s legal team: A Hollywood Reporter article published Dec. 20, 2018 – two days after the op-ed – in which Disney executive Sean Bailey confirmed that Depp would not move forward. as Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise. Arnold said that although it was released online that day, it had actually been published in print two days prior, the same day as the editorial – so there is “no way” the op-ed by Heard had an impact on what the Hollywood Reporter wrote. , she says.

She reiterated that Depp caused further damage to his career with his defamation lawsuit against British tabloid The Sun (which he lost in 2020), which put his vulgar text messages and allegations about his behavior, among other things, under the projectors. “In reality, he is causing his own demise by filing these lawsuits and continuing to ignite the fire of negative publicity around them,” she said.

Cross-examination also focused primarily on Arnold’s testimony that statements to the media by Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman – calling his abuse allegations a hoax – damaged Depp’s reputation and career. actress to the point of ruin, and cost her an estimated $45-50 million in losses. Opportunities.

Dennison ridiculed the idea, particularly actors Arnold called “comparable” to Heard’s potential career prior to Waldman’s statements, including Jason Momoa (Heard’s “Aquaman” co-star), Gal Gadot, Ana de Armas and Zendaya – such a famous actress, Dennison pointed out, that she has only one name. Arnold said she was trying to come up with a comparison to actors who were also in superhero and action movies, and that they were just comparable, not identical.

Depp’s lawyer also pointed out that Heard had only booked one acting role after 2018’s “Aquaman,” which Arnold called his breakout moment, until Waldman’s statements in 2020. Arnold agreed that was true, but the role was on the TV show “The Stand,” which was a big deal because it was based on a Stephen King novel.

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