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What is the status of the lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard?

The trail for Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard continues with her taking the witness stand for the first time on Wednesday.

Update:
Amber Heard testifies for first time
ELIZABETH FRANTZGetty

The ongoing contentious legal battle between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife saw Amber Heard take to the witness stand for the first time in the trial. The once A-List actor is suing her for $50 million claiming that a 2018 op-ed article she wrote defamed him and cost him “nothing less than everything.”

Over the four weeks of the much-watched trail their tumultuous relationship has been laid bare for the world to see. Both accuse the other of domestic abuse during their nearly four-year relationship which ended in 2016 after 15 months of marriage.

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Heard chokes back tears during testimony

Testifying on Wednesday, Heard recounted the physical abuse that she suffered at the hands of the star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. The actress perhaps best known for her role in “Aquaman” struggled to hold back tears as she told how the relationship went from “magical” to violent, usually when he was drinking or using drugs.

The first instance of Depp striking her came when she asked him about the writing on a faded tattoo which he replied read “Wino”. Thinking it was a joke she laughed resulting in him slapping her across the face according to her testimony. “I didn’t know what was going on. I just stared at him,” she said. She testified that he slapped her two more times and said “you think it’s funny, bitch?”

Heard also shared a story of an instance in 2013 when the Edward Scissorhands actor performed a “cavity search” on her looking for his cocaine. The episode occurred after Depp became angry because he thought she was inviting what he perceived to be suggestive advances from another woman. Dr Dawn Hughes, a forensic psychologist who was hired by Heard’s team, testified that the actress had told her of Depp’s putting his fingers up her vagina in search of cocaine.

Heard has counter-sued her ex-husband for $100 million, saying that Depp smeared her by calling her a liar over her claims that she was the victim of domestic abuse. Her op-ed did not mention Depp by name but his lawyer has argued that it’s clear that she was referencing her ex-husband. In a previous libel lawsuit against the British tabloid The Sun for labeling him a “wife beater”, the London High Court judge hearing the case ruled there was “overwhelming evidence” that Depp had repeatedly assaulted Heard.

Depp says that Heard physically abused him

Previously in the trial which kicked off 11 April, Depp claimed that it was Heard who was the one that was physically violent. To support this his lawyers played audio recordings that he made confronting Heard about acts of violence she committed against him.

In one recording where he claims she threw a vodka bottle at him, which severed one of his fingers, she appears to mock the idea of him positioning himself as the victim. “Tell the world, Johnny. Tell them, ‘Johnny Depp, I, a man, I’m a victim, too, of domestic violence, it’s a fair fight,’ and see how many people believe or side with you,” she says in the audio recording.

Depp’s security guard testifies about the couple’s fights

On Monday, Travis McGivern who worked as a security guard for Depp testified about hearing arguments between the couple which happened “several times a week.” He witnessed “lots of name-calling, lots of f-bombs,” according to his testimony which he said typically were Heard directing her feelings toward her then-husband Depp.

One of those arguments led to Depp being struck in the back by a flying can of Red Bull. McGiven positioned himself between the two in order to protect his client as the verbal fight between both of them continued. She threw another object “either a purse or some sort of bag or something that she had up there,” which McGivern knocked away before it hit Depp. “At one point, she spit at him,” he said.

Trial could wrap up by 19 May

The defamation trail reached its midpoint on Tuesday and Heard’s team made a standard motion for dismissal. They argued there was a lack of evidence presented by Depp’s lawyers to prove Heard had defamed him in her 2018 op-ed. However, the motion was denied by Judge Penney Azcarate and the jury will continue to hear arguments before making a verdict.

The trial, currently in its fourth week, is scheduled to last for five. However, Judge Azcarate has a previously scheduled conference engagement she will attend from 9 to 12 May, putting the hearings on hold for a week. After that the jury will be asked to deliberate which could take a matter of hours or days.

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