Kate Moss, Johnny Depp testify as trial winds down
“There had been a rainstorm. As I left the room, I slid down the stairs and I hurt my back. And I screamed, because I didn’t know what happened to me and I was in pain,” Moss said during her three-minute testimony. Depp “came running back to help me and carried me to my room and got me medical attention.”
“He never pushed me, kicked me or threw me down any stairs,” she added.
Depp has sued Heard for $50 million, alleging defamation over a 2018 op-ed she published in The Washington Post in which she referred to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. Depp claimed the article damaged his career and has denied allegations of abuse. Heard countersued Depp for $100 million after Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman gave several statements in the media describing her claims as false.
Depp, at times wearing glasses with darkened lenses, took the stand for the first time since late April and recounted the same story as Moss. “Ms. Heard took the story and turned it into a very ugly incident, all in her mind,” he said. “There was never a moment when I pushed Kate down any set of stairs.”
He then went on to deny much of the defense’s case, claiming Heard was abusive toward both him and her sister, Whitney, whom he described as a “punching bag or a dart board” for Heard. He called his former business manager Joel Mandel, against whom he filed a now-settled suit in 2016, a “bitter man who ended up with a lot of money I worked hard for over the years.” Finally, he stated he didn’t see any of Waldman’s statements until Heard filed a countersuit against him in August 2020, and claimed he didn’t know where they were published and said they seemed like “word salad.”
Depp also disputed Heard’s account of the brutal fight they had in Australia in 2015, during which the tip of his finger was severed. He dismissed Heard’s claim that he took eight to 10 MDMA pills, saying, “I’m pretty sure I’d be dead. I think one would die, probably rather quickly.” He also again alleged that Heard threw a vodka bottle at him, which shattered and cut off a “chunk” of his finger. “I miss it,” he said with a chuckle. The defense has suggested he injured himself.
He also claimed Heard gave him a “shiner” during their 2015 honeymoon on the Orient Express, and his lawyer showed the jury two photos in which he appears to have a black eye. (The defense has argued he had a black eye before boarding the train.)
Ultimately, Depp described Heard’s testimony as “horrible, ridiculous, humiliating, ludicrous, painful, savage, unimaginably brutal, cruel — and all false.” He added that he testified because “I don’t think anyone enjoys having to slit themselves open and tell the truth, but there are times when one just simply has to, because it’s gotten out of control.”
During cross-examination, Depp made snide comments and often laughed, seemingly in frustration, as Heard’s lawyer Ben Rottenborn highlighted inconsistencies in his testimony — such as the fact that he previously mentioned a phone in the bar area of the house in Australia but denied its existence on Wednesday. When presented with a text message in which he wrote about women, “I need, I want, I take,” the actor suggested Rottenborn “could have typed it up last night.”
Later in the day, the Hollywood news outlet TMZ filed an emergency motion — which Judge Penney Azcarate denied — to prevent its former employee Morgan Tremaine from testifying. The outlet argued that the identity of a journalist’s source should be protected under Virginia law.
Tremaine worked as a field assignment manager for TMZ. He dispatched a camera crew to a courthouse in Los Angeles to capture photos of Heard “leaving the courthouse and [of] an alleged bruise on the right side of her face” after she filed the temporary restraining order in May 2016.
He also received a video clip showing Depp slamming cabinets and pouring a large glass of wine, which TMZ published and which the defense has entered into evidence in this trial. Tremaine testified that the video in evidence has been edited from the original to remove a part in which Heard is seen snickering at Depp.
While Tremaine said he doesn’t know who sent TMZ the clip, he strongly suggested it was Heard, explaining that the quickest way for the website to receive a copyright of a video is to get it directly from the person who shot and owns it — and that they published the video about 15 minutes after receiving it.
Tremaine admitted during cross-examination to having watched some of the trial, leading Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft to ask: “This gets you your 15 minutes of fame, doesn’t it?”
“I’m actually putting myself kind of in the target of TMZ, a very litigious organization, and I’m not seeking any 15 minutes here.” Tremaine replied. "Though you’re welcome to speculate. I could say the same thing, by taking Amber Heard as a client, for you.”
Jurors spent the rest of the day hearing expert testimony, including that of a psychologist called to rebut a defense expert’s opinion that Heard suffered post-traumatic stress caused by intimate partner violence; and a digital forensics expert called to suggest that photos of Heard’s injuries had probably been run through a photo-editing program, although he could not definitively state that the photos were altered.
Testimony is scheduled to conclude Thursday, with closing arguments beginning Friday morning.
Andrews, T. M. (2022, May 25). Kate Moss, Johnny Depp testify as trial winds down. Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/2022/05/25/johnny-depp-trial-kate-moss/