EXCLUSIVE: Johnny Depp may believe he has handed Amber Heard all the documentation he is required to in the former couple’s multimillion-dollar defamation battles, but the Aquaman star is now going fishing in some very deep seas.
In subpoenas submitted today, Heard wants to know what the Los Angeles Police department and Walt Disney Motion Picture Group have on the ex-Pirates of the Caribbean actor. It is information that she and her Virginia attorney want produced in the coming weeks.
In fact, in the case of Disney, Heard and her Charlson Bredehoft Cohen & Brown, P.C. lawyers want not just paperwork on what really was going on with Depp during the “filming, including shooting and re-shooting, on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” they are also pressing for a February 18 virtual deposition from Disney on the matter.
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The documentation that Team Heard desires from Disney in the $50 million defamation suit and the actress’ $100 million counterclaims casts its net pretty wide.
Already in another discovery squirmish in the long war between the Rum Diary co-stars, Heard wants “all information relating to documents and communications of any nature” on Depp and “incidents of drug or alcohol use (including suspected drug or alcohol use).” As well, they are seeking details about “any delays or tardiness caused by Mr. Depp,” “any incidents of violence or abuse by Mr. Depp,” any info on impute the actor had or “hiring, casting,” and “disagreements with the writers, directors or producers with the filming, editing and/or release of Pirates 5.”
To twist the knife a little more and deepen the possible public spectacle, Heard’s lawyers also want “all information relating to all documents and communications of any nature between Disney and Mr. Depp from January 1, 2018 through the present.”
A Disney spokesperson told Deadline today that the company has not seen the subpoena.
The lowest grossing of any of the Captain Jack Sparrow franchise films in the U.S., Dead Men Tell No Tales came out in May 2017 after what was seemingly a series of disruptive production issues. At one point the entire Australia shoot came to a grinding halt and cost Disney millions as Depp had to be flown stateside for surgery; the actor had sliced off the tip of one of his fingers in what was reportedly an intoxicating substance-fueled altercation with Heard.
In fact, the Pirates franchise played a big role in this legal mayhem from the beginning.
Depp sued Heard in Virginia state court for $50 million in March 2019 after she wrote a Washington Post op-ed about being a victim of domestic abuse. The December 2018 piece never actually named Depp, but the already fairly litigious actor alleged it damaged his rep and cost him a gig in Disney’s planned Pirates of the Caribbean reboot.
The filed paperwork went on to say that in fact it was Depp who was the real victim in the couple’s short-lived marriage that ended in full public view in 2016. “Ms. Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse, she is a perpetrator,” it read in part.
After several unsuccessful attempts to get the matter tossed out, Heard countersued for $100 million last summer. Recently, Depp has come up short himself in trying to get the countersuit dismissed. In November last year, he also lost his high-profile libel case in Britain against Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun for calling him a “wife beater.”
Additionally, in a subpoena of its own filed Tuesday, the LAPD has been asked to deliver “body cam footage” from two officers and “all documents and communications of any nature generated, sent or received relating to the 911 calls relating to the Eastern Columbia Building on May 21, 2016 relating to Ms. Heard.” Referring to the pivotal and contested incident that led to calls for a restraining order and Depp and Heard’s divorce soon afterwards, the wide-ranging subpoena goes on to say that “this includes all internal and external reports, communications, and other documents.”
In maybe the most telling of both subpoenas’ aims, the request of the LAPD also wants “all documents and communications of any nature with Mr. Depp, and/or any of Mr. Depp’s agents, attorneys or others acting on his behalf, from May 21, 2016 through the present. Heard’s lawyers have set a February 8 deadline for the City of Angels cops to produce the material.
Following the ping-pong tactics both sides have deployed repeatedly in the Virginia case(s), today’s subpoenas fly out of another motion on documents from Depp to Heard, which is set for a January 15 hearing
Seeking a new libel trial on the other side of the Atlantic and having failed to get the Old Dominion’s anti-SLAPP utilized in his favor, Depp wants to roadblock Heard from digging for demands for more details as the matter heads towards a trial start later this year.
“Defendant’s motion is an inexcusable abuse of the discovery process, and is littered with false representations to the court,” Depp’s January 8-filed opposition reads. “Ms. Heard certified that she had met and conferred in good faith. That is false.”
“Ms. Heard claims that Mr. Depp ‘refused’ to provide full production or supplemental responses, is also false,” the paperwork from Brown Rusnick LLP’s Ben Chew and Camille Vasquez continues. “Ms. Heard asserts that Mr. Depp has refused to comply with this Court’s Orders and failed to produce documents, false as well.”
“In short, Ms. Heard continues to burden this Court with frivolous, unnecessary motions that violate the Rules if the Virginia Supreme Court. Mr. Depp respectfully requests that the Court deny Ms. Heard’s latest motion and sanction her. Enough is enough.”
Otherwise, shining a new harsh spotlight on Heard’s long held insistence, in and out of court, that she donated the $7 million settlement she received in 2017 in their divorce to the ACLU and L.A.’s Children Hospital, Depp scored a PR win at the very least recently. Heard’s Virginia lawyer Elaine Bredehoft admitted on January 7 that her client “has already been responsible for seven figures in donations to charitable causes and intends to continue to contribute and eventually fulfill her pledge.”
Whether that has any affect in either the U.S. or the UK, today’s subpoenas certainly will cause ripples at the very least at LAPD HQ and at Disney’s Burbank corporate hub. On another level, Team Depp made sure to give themselves a side door in the demands.
“Of course, no litigant can ever completely rule out the possibility that additional responsive documents might be discovered at a later date, and Mr. Depp appropriately reserves his right to produce after-discovered documents,” says the opposition to Heard’s motion in the footnotes.
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