The trial in Johnny Depp’s defamation suit against his ex-wife Amber Heard entered its final week Monday, with more witnesses taking the stand in Heard's defense.
Heard’s legal team decided not to call Depp to testify in the defense. Testifying in April, he took the spotlight as he claimed Heard was the aggressor in the relationship. She, in turn, has tried to portray him as willing to use violence and influence to silence her. Depp may return to the witness stand later in the week when his legal team offers rebuttal testimony to Heard’s defense.
Witnesses for Heard on Monday included Dr. Richard Moore, an orthopedic surgeon; Dr. David R. Spiegel, a psychiatrist; and Kathryn Arnold, a producer and entertainment industry consultant.
Moore spoke to Depp’s allegations that Heard severed the tip of his finger in 2015, testifying that he didn’t believe photos and medical records were consistent with a vodka bottle’s being thrown from the angle described by Depp.
Spiegel testified that based on testimony from Depp and others, Depp’s behaviors were consistent with those of someone who has a substance use disorder and someone who is a perpetrator of intimate partner violence. Depp’s legal team questioned Spiegel’s ability to make such determinations without having spoken with him; Spiegel said he asked to speak with Depp twice and was denied.
Arnold was questioned in regard to damages both in Depp’s suit and in Heard’s countersuit. She told the court that Depp’s career had already been in a before Heard’s abuse allegation emerged and that Heard’s was on the rise before Depp’s former attorney made statements accusing her of creating an abuse “hoax.”
Court adjourns for the day
Court finished for the day at 5:30 p.m. ET with the end of testimony from Kathryn Arnold, a producer and entertainment industry consultant.
The trial will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET.
Witness calls statements from Depp's former attorney an 'instigating event' for Heard damages
During cross-examination, entertainment industry consultant Kathryn Arnold argued that statements made by Depp's former attorney were the igniting force behind a wave of bad publicity for Heard.
Heard's countersuit centers on three statements Depp’s former attorney, Adam Waldman, made in the Daily Mail in 2020 accusing Heard of orchestrating a "hoax" of abuse allegations.
Depp's attorney argued that Arnold could not directly blame Heard's bad publicity on Waldman, despite a possible correlation.
"It can be the instigating event, if you want me to call it that," Arnold testified. "We'll call the Waldman statements the investigating event of a torrential rain of social media tactics that has gone on for years."
Arnold said that there was some "pause" for Heard following the publicity around her divorce from Depp but that she was able to recover until the Waldman statements were reported.
"The only time her career slowed down and stopped was at the same time those defamatory statements came out," Arnold said.
Witness says Heard's 'Star Is Born' moment evaporated following 'hoax' comment
Entertainment industry consultant Kathryn Arnold said movie, TV and endorsement deals for Heard have dried up since Adam Waldman, Depp's ex-attorney, publicly called her abuse accusations against Depp "false" and a "hoax."
"It's very likely Ms. Heard should have earned $45 to $50 million over that time period," Arnold said.
Heard should be in the same galaxy as Hollywood stars like Ana de Armas, Zendaya, Gal Gadot and others after getting her "'Star Is Born' moment" with her breakout superhero role in "Aquaman" in 2018, Arnold said.
"It would have been very reasonable to believe her career would have been on an upward trajectory of those other actors" if not for the hoax allegations, Arnold testified.
Instead, Heard's "world has been silent in terms of opportunities," she said.
Depp's attorney pushed back on cross-examination, saying Arnold's examples are not comparable to Heard. His lawyer argued that Gadot was in "Fast & Furious" movies before she was Wonder Woman and Zendaya was a Disney Channel star before her career took off.
Depp's career was in decline before Heard's 2018 op-ed, witness says
Kathryn Arnold, a producer and entertainment industry consultant, testified Monday that Depp's career was already in a decline before Heard's 2018 op-ed piece for The Washington Post.
Arnold said Depp had starred in a number of films that bombed at the box office including "Mortdecai" (2015), "Alice Through the Looking Glass" (2016) and "The Lone Ranger" (2013) in the years leading up to Heard's piece, which is at the heart of his defamation lawsuit against his former wife.
Reports of poor work habits also made it harder for Hollywood to financially back Depp's work, according to Arnold.
"Well, we talked about the erratic behavior, the tardiness, the drugs and alcohol abuse," Arnold testified. "And the lawsuits have had a really big impact, not just this lawsuit but previously lawsuits that Mr. Depp has been involved with because there’s a lot of publicity around anything he does."
Arnold also referenced a Hollywood Reporter article, which was published before Heard’s piece in the Post, that said Disney was rethinking the future of Depp's “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise after diminishing returns on the fifth film.
Depp no longer expected to take stand on Monday
Heard's legal team is no longer planning to call Depp to the witness stand, sources close to Heard told NBC News.
Depp's testimony "has been irrelevant to the heart of this case" and that is not expected to change, the source said.
He still may return to the stand later this week when Depp's legal team questions rebuttal witnesses before closing arguments begin.
Witness explains reasoning that Depp has narcissistic traits
Expert witness Dr. David R. Spiegel explained his reasoning for testifying that he found Depp to display narcissistic personality traits after Depp's attorney questioned his ability to make the judgement.
Depp displayed five of nine narcissistic personality traits, including needing admiration from others, displayed moments of entitlement and a lack of empathy, Spiegel testified.
"Mr. Depp requires admiration from the very people that surround him ... or they're no longer in his employment or his working circle," Spiegel said.
Spiegel reiterated his view from prior testimony that Depp's characterizations that Heard owed him and only wanted to be with him for his fame as an example of Depp's entitlement.
Envy and a fragile sense of self-esteem are two of the other traits, Spiegel said.
"I think jealousy is a good start for that," Spiegel said of the envy trait, using Depp's alleged objections to Heard's desire to have a career and jealousy of her male co-stars as examples.
Court in recess for lunch hour
The court has adjourned until 12:55 p.m. ET with witness Dr. David R. Spiegel still on the stand.
Depp reacting to 'narcissistic insult' in pursuing civil action, witness says
Depp suffered from "narcissistic insult" and is lashing out at Heard, via a civil lawsuit, in hopes of reclaiming his name, Dr. David R. Spiegel said in his witness testimony Monday.
"To some degree this whole trial is that, in terms of narcissism, narcissistic insult is what’s going on," Spiegel said. "I believe that Mr. Depp was very much a mainstay, appropriately, in Hollywood and then this pulled the rug out."
Witness says he is not offering any 'armchair diagnosis' of Depp
Witness Dr. David R. Spiegel said Monday his opinions on Depp are well within Goldwater Rule guidelines, which bar "armchair" psychiatric diagnoses.
The defense asked Spiegel to define the Goldwater Rule, which prohibits psychiatrists from commenting publicly on the mental well-being of individuals without having done an examination or having been "granted proper authorization."
Spiegel said he is not offering any "armchair diagnosis" of Depp on his cognitive well-being.
"This is not the case here," Spiegel said. "I have reviewed a lot of professional, a lot of professionals and the evaluations and their treatment course, video depositions, picture deposition, court filings, emails. I’ve reviewed a whole lot of things that describe Mr. Depp and his behavior."
The Goldwater Rule became a part of medical ethical guidelines after then-presidential candidate Barry Goldwater's mental fitness became a major topic of the 1964 campaign.
Depp shows signs of slower 'processing speed' and impulse control, witness says
Substance use has led Depp to have slower "processing speed" and lack of impulse control, a psychiatrist told jurors Monday.
"During the video deposition, what was readily apparent was a gentleman who had a significant delay in processing speed," Dr. David R. Spiegel testified. "When you have a delay in processing speed, many other cognitive functions are going to follow."
Under normal conditions, Depp is able to control himself, but the addition of chronic drugs and alcohol use has led to adverse behavior, he said.
"I think Mr. Depp was able to control much of his behavior," the defense expert witness said. "Much of his thinking, even if it was abhorrent or negative, he’s able to control that. I think that once you start getting to the point of adding substances to that, that will set it over."
Expert witness describes risk factors of intimate partner violence
Dr. David R. Spiegel, a psychiatrist brought in as an expert witness for Heard's defense, explained the risk factors of intimate partner violence to the jury during his testimony.
"I don't want to talk about all of them, but ... in particular are: one, having someone in the relationship who is jealous or suspicious," Spiegel said. "Two, having someone who has a higher than average acceptance of violence ideations. Three, someone who has rapid and extreme mood shifts. Four, someone who has limited self-control."
Spiegel noted that approximately 40 to 60 percent of intimate partner violence is committed under the influence of alcohol or substance use disorders.
It's a function of human nature to get angry at others, but most of us do not act on that anger, Spiegel said. When under the effects of substances like alcohol, people lose their inhibitions, he said.
"So you no longer can interpret what's in front of you," Spiegel said. "That is, I would say, right or wrong, or what I should act on and what I shouldn't act on."
Psychiatrist says Depp showed signs of substance use disorder, intimate partner violence
A psychiatrist who treats people with issues of substance misuse and intimate partner violence testified Monday that Depp has shown signs of those two matters.
“In my opinion … Mr. Depp has behaviors that are consistent with both someone who has a substance use disorder as well as consistent behaviors with someone who is a perpetrator of intimate partner violence,” said Dr. David R. Spiegel, who also teaches at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
Depp's legal team had sought to paint Spiegel as unqualified to testify on intimate partner violence as none of his published works specifically have that topic in those titles. Spiegel said you can't separate trauma and partner violence.
Orthopedic surgeon testifies about Depp's finger being severed
Dr. Richard Moore, an orthopedic surgeon, testified for Heard's defense that he didn't believe Depp's account of how his finger was severed.
Moore said he reviewed photos and medical records as well as Depp's testimony as to how the tip of the actor's right middle finger was cut off. Depp testified that Heard severed the fingertip by throwing two vodka bottles at him in Australia in 2015 while the couple were fighting.
The description offered by Depp would have caused more injury to Depp’s fingernail, which was intact, and the surrounding tissue, Moore said.
"Well, the medical data is inconclusive," Moore said. "It's not consistent with what we see in the described injury pattern. ... The description was the hand being flat on the bar and the bottle crushing the finger from the top. But looking at the images, there's really no significant injury to the dorsal of the finger and created the type of injury ... we would anticipate both injury to the fingernail and other parts of the finger."
Graphic images of Depp's finger were displayed for the jury as Moore explained his reasoning.
The injury looks more consistent with the finger being squeezed between two hard, opposing surfaces similar to having a finger between sliding glass doors, Moore testified.
Moore also noted that doctors who immediately cared for Depp in 2015 did not write in their records about the presence of glass shards at the site of the injury. There were also no references to glass shards in the rest of the hand or lacerations anywhere else on Depp, Moore said.
"This wound doesn't really appear to be a sharp glass laceration," Moore said.
Court returns for its last week
The defamation trial returned Monday morning for its last week of testimony. Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday, when the jury is set to begin its deliberations.
Johnny Depp expected to return to witness stand in suit against Amber Heard
Johnny Depp is expected to return to the stand in his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard, her representatives said Saturday.
Heard’s legal team is slated to call Depp as the third witness Monday, her representatives said. Additional witness updates for the rest of the week were forthcoming, they said.
Representatives for Depp declined to comment Saturday.