FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A hand surgeon testified Monday that Johnny Depp could not have lost the tip of his middle finger as he told jurors in his civil lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
The finger injury, which occurred during a March 2015 fight in Australia between Depp and Heard, was one of the main points of contention in the lawsuit. Depp says he was hurt when Heard threw a bottle of vodka at him. Heard said she never saw precisely how it happened, but it happened one night when an enraged Depp sexually assaulted her with a bottle of alcohol..
Depp is suing Heard for defamation 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 violence.” His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though he never mentioned his name.
Depp denied ever hitting Heard and said she was the aggressor in the relationship. Heard has testified to more than a dozen separate instances of physical abuse she says she suffered at the hands of Depp.
In testimony Monday, surgeon Richard Moore testified about the severed finger as jurors saw gruesome photos of the injury. He said Depp described her palm being on a bar when she was hit by the bottle.
Moore, who did not treat Depp, testified that Depp’s description is unlikely, largely because his fingernail remained intact. Moore said the fingernail was exposed, as Depp described the placement of his hand, and would have been damaged. Moore also said there would have been further cuts to the rest of his hand from the glass that shattered on impact.
While Depp told the jury that Heard cut his finger throwing a bottle of vodka, at the time of the accident he told people and texted that he had done this to himself himself. At one point he said the finger had been pinched between strong concertina doors.
Depp now says he lied to protect Heard. Moore testified that having his finger pinched in the accordion doors would be consistent with the injury.
The trial is now in its sixth week. Monday’s testimony was relatively unremarkable in a trial that gave poor insight into the couple’s toxic relationship. Heard’s attorneys were expected to call Depp to the stand on Monday, but that didn’t happen. Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, said late Monday they were still discussing whether to call him.
The jurors had already heard a lot from Depp and Heard – each was on the stand for four days, undergoing grueling cross-examinations.
Also on Monday, a psychiatrist testified that Depp’s behavior fits the pattern of someone whose drug and alcohol abuse contributes to domestic violence.
Depp’s lawyer, Wayne Dennison, questioned the ethics and credibility of the psychiatrist’s opinions, given that he never performed an examination of Depp.
Later Monday, Dennison questioned another witness for Heard, entertainment expert Kathryn Arnold, at length about her claim that Heard lost a potential $40-50 million when another Depp lawyer called the allegations of Heard’s abuse of “hoax”. Heard filed a counterclaim against Depp based on those statements.
Arnold said she measured Heard’s career against “comparable” stars like Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa and Zendaya to show where Heard’s career would have gone if Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman didn’t. had not defamed.
Dennison, in his interrogation, scoffed at the idea that Heard was in the same league as these stars. He also dismissed Heard’s role as Mera in the ‘Aquaman’ superhero movie franchise, saying the upcoming ‘Aquaman’ sequel feels more like a ‘buddy comedy’ than a movie that will featured Heard as a romantic lead.
Heard “was on the verge of a great career,” Arnold insisted.
The trial drew increasing public attention to its length. People camped out overnight and fought for places in line as they sought to secure one of the 100 courtroom seats allocated to the public. During a morning break, a woman professed her love for Depp and asked when he was going to admit he was the father of the baby she was holding.
She was removed from the courtroom.