Cross-examination focuses on Depp’s drug use and texting


Lawyers for actor Amber Heard sought to undermine Johnny Depp’s libel suit against her on Thursday by spending hours in court focusing on alcohol, drug use and texts he sent to friends, including one about wanting to kill and defile his then-wife.

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Heard’s attorneys referenced Depp’s history of trashing hotel rooms and destroying a bathroom light during an argument with Heard. Depp is also facing a lawsuit brought by a member of a film crew who claims he was assaulted in 2018.

Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard in a Fairfax County courtroom on Thursday, April 21, 2022

Lawyers are trying to derail Depp’s libel lawsuit against Heard who alleges she falsely portrayed him as a domestic abuser and ruined his lucrative acting career. They argue that Depp did indeed abuse Heard, both physically and sexually, and claim that Depp cannot deny this as he was often drunk and drugged to the point of passing out.

“Of course, I hammered and showed lousy colors at Amber on a recent trip,” Depp said in a July 2013 text message to friend actor Paul Bettany that was shown to jurors.

“I’m a crazy person and not so straight after drinking too much,” Depp continued. “Weed, pills…Okay!!! Alcohol??? My capacity is too high and I won’t stop…Ugly and sad…Oh, how I love it.”

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Hearing attorney J. Benjamin Rottenborn also focused on another exchange that year between Depp and Bettany in which Depp wrote, “Let’s burn Amber!!!”

Bettany replied, “After thinking about it, I don’t think we should burn Amber.”

Depp texted, “Let’s drown her before we burn her!!! I’ll (expletive) burn her corpse after to make sure she’s dead.”

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Depp has already apologized to the jury for the vulgar language in the texts and said that “in the heat of the pain I felt, I went to dark places”.

Rottenborn also showed the jury one of Depp’s texts to Bettany in 2014 in which he referenced whisky, pills and cocaine.

The text messages were sent during a period in which Depp said he had quit drinking. And they were dispatched around the time of a private flight from Boston to Los Angeles, during which Heard said Depp had become drunk and assaulted her.

Rottenborn presented texts Depp sent to Bettany saying he had been drinking “all night before picking up Amber to fly to Los Angeles last Sunday… Ugly, mate… No food for days… Powders… Half a bottle of whiskey, a thousand red bulls and vodkas, pills, 2 bottles of Champers on the plane…”

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Depp previously testified that he took two pills of oxycodone – an opiate he admits he was addicted to at the time – and locked himself in the plane’s lavatory and fell asleep to prevent ‘she doesn’t harass her. He also denies being drunk on the flight, saying he only drank a glass of champagne on boarding the plane.

But Rottenborn also showed the jury Depp’s expressions of contrition after the robbery.

“Once again I find myself in a place of shame and regret,” Depp wrote to Heard. “Of course I’m sorry. I really don’t know why or what happened. But I’m never going to do it again… My illness kind of crept in and grabbed me… I need to get better . And I will. For both of us. Starting today. I love you. Again, I’m so sorry. So sorry.”

To further cast doubt on Depp’s claim that he was not a problem drinker at the time, Heard’s attorney then showed the jurors a text Depp had sent to musician Patti Smith regarding a visit to New York in 2014 in which he recounted having fought with Heard. , getting drunk and being “so disappointed in myself”.

Depp has been on the helm of Fairfax County Circuit Court since Tuesday afternoon. The actor spent much of that time describing the couple’s rocky relationship and denying he ever abused Heard.

Depp said Heard often violently attacked him. And he argued his film career suffered after he wrote a 2018 opinion piece in The Washington Post, which sparked his libel suit against Heard.

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Heard never mentioned Depp by name in the article, but Depp’s lawyers said it was a clear reference to the charges Heard brought when she sought a restraining order against him in 2016 .

Depp said the accusations and the article contributed to an unjustly ruined reputation that made him a Hollywood pariah and cost him his role in the lucrative “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie franchise.

When cross-examination began late Wednesday afternoon, Rottenborn pointed to evidence that Disney made that decision months before the article was published.

Heard’s attorneys argued that Heard’s opinion piece was accurate and did not defame him. They said Depp’s ruined reputation was due to his own bad behavior.

On the stand Tuesday, Depp called the substance abuse charges “grossly embellished,” although he admitted to using numerous drugs. He said his drug use started at the age of 11 when he secretly took his mother’s “nerve pills”.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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