On May 27, 2016, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's marriage devolved from private anguish to a public, career-ending spectacle.
Heard, who had recently filed for divorce, appeared in a Los Angeles courthouse that day to obtain a temporary restraining order, her face marked by a bruise she said Depp inflicted during a fight six days previously. Photographers documented the scene, and the charges quickly became global media fodder.
Depp maintains that he never struck her, and he has now sued Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court for libel. On Wednesday, jurors heard testimony from police officers who responded shortly after the altercation to the couple's penthouse. Six days later, none of the police noticed the red mark.
Officer Tyler Hadden, one of the police who came to the couple's penthouse apartment on May 21, 2016, stated that Heard refused to speak to officers and showed no symptoms of injuries, even though she had been crying and was red-faced.
"Just because I see a female with pink cheeks and pink eyes does not mean that something happened," he stated in a videotaped deposition aired for jurors Wednesday.
By the time authorities arrived, Depp had already fled the penthouse. Officers stated that they were unaware of Heard's identity or her marriage to Depp. He noted that neither Heard nor anyone else at the penthouse building would reveal the identity of Heard's husband to him or the other cops.
A cop who followed Hadden to the penthouse testified Tuesday similarly.
William Gatlin, an officer who paid a follow-up visit that night, testified Wednesday that he noticed no injuries, though he admitted that his visit was quick and that he went no closer than 10 feet (3 meters) to Heard. He stated that he conducted a cursory check since the call appeared to duplicate one to which Hadden had already answered.
The jury was shown a bodycam video of Gatlin's less than two-minute response. Heard was seen only from afar.
In their queries, Heard's attorneys have argued that she might have concealed her injuries with cosmetics if she desired to protect Depp at the time. Additionally, they inquired why authorities did not conduct a more thorough investigation into a possible case of domestic abuse.
The cops' testimony is some of the most substantial evidence that Depp has that Heard fabricated the claims against her ex-husband. It corroborates previous witness testimony that Heard and her sister were practicing fake punches following the attack.
However, it is by no means conclusive. Heard's attorneys have yet to present their case, and several of her pals claim to have been in the apartment when Depp allegedly assaulted her.
Even if jurors find that Depp did not assault his wife on May 21, they would have heard evidence of numerous alleged assaults before too, and throughout the couple's brief marriage.
Depp sued Heard for libel in 2018 when she referred to herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse" in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post. Although the article does not mention Depp by name, his attorneys argue that it defames him since it directly references the highly publicized charges Heard made in 2016 when she filed for divorce and sought a temporary restraining order.
Jurors also heard from Christian Carino, an agent who represented Depp and Heard, and was acquainted with both. He stated that he believes Depp's participation in a sixth "Pirates of the Caribbean" film was scuttled because of the abuse allegations. Still, he did not attribute the production's cancellation to Heard's 2018 op-ed essay.
In opening arguments, Heard's attorneys reminded jurors that he must establish that the Post article specifically harmed Depp's reputation to prevail in a libel action.
Additionally, Carino said that Heard attempted reconciliation with Depp twice in 2016 and again in 2017, even though she had filed for divorce. He arranged a meeting between Heard and a reticent Depp in 2016, which resulted in a brawl.
He also made a brief statement regarding Heard's future friendship with tech mogul Elon Musk. In 2017, Heard contacted Carino to express her grief at her breakup with Musk. Carino seems perplexed, texting Heard, "You told me a thousand times you were merely filling space."