LONDON – Amber Heard's sister denied Friday that she had lied to a London court after Johnny Depp's lawyers in his libel suit against a British tabloid presented video footage that they claim showed his ex-wife was violent towards her.
His legal team said they received the video from a “confidential" source on Thursday night, hours after Whitney Henriquez testified in court that she had never been attacked by Heard and that she was not frightened of her.
Depp, 57, is suing News Group Newspapers, the publisher of The Sun, and the newspaper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article that labeled the actor a “wife beater.” Depp has told the court that he was the one abused by Heard and that she had a history of being violent toward him.
The Sun’s defense relies on 14 allegations made by Heard of violence by Depp between 2013 and 2016, in settings as varied as a rented house in Australia, his private island in the Bahamas and a private jet.
The video at the heart of the court proceedings Friday, the final session before the two sides sum up their arguments, was unused reality TV footage from 2006 or 2007, according to Depp's lawyers, and shows Henriquez by a pool with a group of female friends. One of them is heard saying, "Did you get in a fight or something?” and “I can’t believe Amber beat your ass.” Another appears to inspect Henriquez’s cheek and arm, and Henriquez says she is not going to talk about it.
After viewing the video in court, Henriquez said the argument with her sister had been a “verbal” one and that her friends were “trying to make a very, very boring story more interesting.”
Henriquez also denied that she had any injuries when the video was recorded and said that her friends were “looking for injuries that were not there, trying to create a narrative to make something more interesting, to create something out of nothing,” she said.
Depp's lawyer, David Sherborne, had said earlier that it is “quite clear” that Heard assaulted her sister and that injuries to Henriquez are being examined on the tape.
Henriquez is a crucial witness in the trial as she has alleged to have seen Depp strike her sister. In her testimony on Thursday, Henriquez said Depp hit Heard “multiple times” during an alleged incident at the couple's Los Angeles apartment in March 2015. She also said that her sister had punched Depp on that occasion but only to defend her because she believed Depp was going to push Henriquez down the stairs.
Depp's lawyers have said that Henriquez tailored her evidence to meet her sister’s version of events, especially around the “stairs” incident.
“Our case is she has lied in order to support her sister on this very important issue as to what happened on the stairs," Sherborne said.
The court also heard evidence Friday from Heard’s friend iO Tillett Wright, who said in his witness statement that Depp joked, after a wedding ceremony in the Bahamas, about punching Heard in the face.
“The first thing Johnny said to me after the ceremony, as we walked to the reception, was ‘now I can punch her in the face and no-one can do anything about it’," he said in his statement. “He probably intended it as a joke, but it is only a joke if it’s not real — and by then I knew he was hitting her.”
Heard’s friend Raquel Pennington also told the court Friday that she had seen “gashes” on Heard’s arms after she returned from Australia in March 2015, and injuries to her nose and scalp after an alleged incident in December 2015. However, Pennington said she had never seen the actor “beat or hit” Heard.
In her four days of testimony this week, Heard, 34, accused Depp of an array of acts of violence, especially when he was allegedly high on drugs or drunk. These included throwing bottles at her “like grenades,” headbutting her and even of stubbing out a cigarette on his cheek. She has claimed that she often feared for her life during their tempestuous relationship.
Depp and Heard met on the set of the film “The Rum Diary,” released in 2011. Heard filed for a divorce They legally married in Los Angeles in February 2015 — and had a second ceremony days later in the Bahamas. Heard filed for divorce the following year, and it was finalized in 2017.
After 14 days already in court, the case is due to finish next week with closing submissions from both sides’ legal teams on Monday and Tuesday.