Amber Heard declines to call Johnny Depp to stand after a fiery cross-examination

Actor Johnny Depp participates in a 2022 defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Virginia. (Steve Helber / Associated Press)

Contrary to expectations, Johnny Depp did not return to the witness stand Monday in his ongoing defamation trial against Amber Heard.

At the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Virginia, Heard’s legal team was expected to call Depp back to the stand after cross-examining the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor last month. However, Team Heard ultimately declined to interrogate Depp on Monday after a fiery cross-examination between Team Depp and one of Heard’s witnesses nearly derailed the trial.

Depp filed a $50-million defamation argument against Heard based on a 2018 op-ed she penned for the Washington Post, referring to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Heard has countersued her ex-husband for $ 100 million, also for defamation, and both cases are being heard simultaneously.

Before Depp was supposed to testify on Monday, his attorney Wayne Dennison sparred with one of Heard’s expert witnesses, psychiatrist David Spiegel, who spoke about trauma and intimate partner violence. At one point, Dennison grilled Dr. Spiegel for allegedly calling Depp an “idiot” during his deposition. Spiegel often became combative while fielding questions about his psychological evaluation of the Oscar nominee.

During his first round of testimony last month, Depp accused Heard of transforming from someone “too good to be true” into “this other person” while they were together. He also denied ever striking Heard, while Heard claims Depp physically and sexually abused her during their relationship.

Though he acknowledged a prior addiction to Roxicodone, Depp dismissed Heard’s regarding his drug use as “grossly embellished” and mostly “false.”

Additionally, he accused Heard of throwing a bottle of vodka that severed the middle finger on his right hand during a fight. Heard tested that she did not become aware of Depp’s finger injury until the morning after the fight, during which Depp allegedly sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle.

On Monday, Depp’s team of attorneys released its list of rebuttal witnesses, including British model Kate Moss, who dated the “Fantastic Beasts” star in the 1990s. Heard opened the door during her testimony for Depp’s attorneys to call Moss to the stand by alluding to an incident in which Depp allegedly pushed Moss down a staircase.

When Heard name-checked Moss in court earlier this month, Depp and his attorney, Ben Chew, shared a celebratory fist-bump. If Moss takes the stand, she could either confirm or deny the rumor that Depp shoved her down a flight of stairs while they were dating.

Also on the list is Depp, who could testify for a second time during the rebuttal process.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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