Johnny Depp v Amber Heard: from Elon Musk to James Franco, who could testify at the libel trial?

The libel case against Johnny Depp and Amber Heard began on April 11 in Fairfax, Virginia.

It stems from a complaint filed in 2019 by Depp, who claims that Heard, his ex-wife, defamed him in an editorial for which he wrote The Washington Post in 2018, in which he defined himself as a “public person representing domestic abuse”. He asked for $ 50 million in compensation.

Heard, in turn, filed a counterclaim, accusing him of allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her and describing his case as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”. He asked for $ 100 million in damages and immunity from Depp’s claims.

Prior to the trial, Depp and Heard each posted a list of witnesses their teams may want to call.

They have each presented lists of objections to some of the other party’s witnesses, so the final pool of witnesses will become clearer and may evolve as the proceedings progress.

Here are some of the people named as potential witnesses so far:

Elon Musk

Tesla’s CEO is listed as a potential Heard witness, appearing via video link.

Lists of potential witnesses do not include substantive reasons why a party’s legal team wants to call a specific person as a witness.

Heard and Musk are believed to have dated intermittently between 2016 and 2018. When Johnny Depp sued News Group Newspapers, the company that publishes The sunfor libel in the UK (on a headline calling him “wife thug”), Musk appeared in the ensuing court case.

Eleanor Laws QC, who represented Depp, read text messages from May 2016, in which Heard told Musk that she would get a restraining order against her then-husband Depp.

Laws said Musk offered to “arrange 24/7 security” for Heard, and added, “The offer would be valid, even if you never wanted to see me again … anyway, sorry for being an idiot. Radio silence hurts a lot. It only matters because I really like you.

Depp’s team is suing some of Musk’s previous communications with Heard as part of the Virginia defamation case.

James Franco

The actor is also listed among Heard’s potential witnesses, who are expected to appear via video link.

Depp’s side is suing Franco for some of his past communications and documents that reflect interactions with Heard.

Franco also appeared during the UK court case against Depp and The sun.

Joshua Drew, a friend of Heard’s, told the court that he heard that Depp had a “particular problem” with Franco and that the mention of his name would “cause a fight” between Heard and Depp.

Paolo Bettany

The plaintiff is listed on Depp’s list of potential witnesses, which is expected to appear via video link.

Heard’s team is suing Bettany for some of her previous communications with Depp.

Bettany was also mentioned during the previous UK court case.

During a preliminary hearing in February 2020, 2013 texts were revealed in which Depp allegedly wrote to Bettany: “Let’s burn Amber !!!”

Bettany is said to have replied, “After thinking it over, I don’t think we should burn Amber – she’s a delightful and pleasant company to see, plus I’m not sure she’s a witch. Of course we could try the English course of action in these difficult situations: we do a drowning test. Thoughts?”

Depp, in turn, would have replied: “Let’s drown it before we burn it !!! After her I will fuck the burned corpse to make sure she is dead.

In an interview with The independent in December 2021 Bettany, when asked about the texts, said: “It was very strange. It was a weird time. The weird thing is that suddenly you have one of the most gory newspapers in London and its lawyers pouring into your texts for the past 10 years.

“Can you imagine what it would be like, honestly, to have a group of lawyers who go through all your emails and messages for 10 years? All I can tell you is that it was an uncomfortable feeling.

Johnny Depp

Depp himself is listed as a witness on his list as well as Heard’s, appearing in person.

He is considered both a plaintiff in the original complaint he filed and a defendant in Heard’s counterclaim.

Amber felt

Heard is included on his list of witnesses.

So far she doesn’t appear as a potential witness on Depp’s list.

Heard is considered a defendant in Depp’s libel suit and a plaintiff in the counterclaim he filed against him.

For a timeline of Heard and Depp’s relationship and legal battles, click here.

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