UPDATED, 12:59 PM: Johnny Depp lost any chance at staying in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise because of domestic violence allegations by Amber Heard, the actor’s former CAA agent testified today at the $50 million defamation trial.
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“My opinion is it was related to the accusations that Amber has made,” Christian Carino told the Virginia courtroom Wednesday in a pre-recorded video deposition. Admitting he hadn’t actually spoken to anyone at Pirates distributor Disney except EP Jerry Bruckheimer, the CAA agent said he based his take on “conversations with colleagues and studios executives … internal and external.”
“It is something within the industry that is understood,” Carino emphasized as to Depp’s loss of the lucrative Pirates gig because of the long-festering abuse claims. Under cross examination, Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft made a distinct point of clarifying that Pirates EP Bruckheimer never told Carino that Depp was not being asked back to the franchise because of the abuse allegations by the actress — a point Carino copped to.
Depp’s stint on the 2017 Pirates sequel Dead Men Tell No Tales was filled with well-documented issues on the Australia set. Carino said today that Depp often was “tardy” but added: “He’s been tardy on everything his entire life. Everyone has learned how to produce a film, how to deal with it.” He said nothing much about other issues and delays, including when Depp severed part of one of his fingers and production shut down for a stint.
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Following the March 2019 big-bucks lawsuit Depp launched against his ex-wife based on a Washington Post op-ed she penned on being a victim of domestic abuse, the man who portrayed Capt. Jack Sparrow over five films has insisted that Heard’s direct and implied allegations “destroyed” his career. Part of that destruction was him losing a possible role in the yet-to-be-made Pirates 6.
Since the five-week trial started on April 11, and even before in filings, both sides have disputed that argument. In many ways it has come down to a matter of timelines, with Heard’s defense team putting forth evidence that Depp was not welcome back at the Pirates franchise even before the op-ed was published – an op-ed that never actually mentioned Depp by name.
Correspondingly, Depp admitted on the stand in the Fairfax County Courthouse during the past week that he would not want to return to the Pirates franchise even if Disney offered him “$300 million” and more. In the video played today, Depp’s lawyers displayed an article from just days after the op-ed was printed that Carino was emailed from Depp’s then-PR team citing him suddenly losing a chance to be a part of Pirates 6.
In his testimony today as a witness for Depp, Carino said that those internal chats he referenced earlier were with the likes of agency bigwig Bryan Lourd and the now-departed Jack Whigham.
Depp left his longtime agency of UTA and signed with CAA not long after his marriage to Heard ended in 2016. In the initial January 2021 video deposition, Carino appeared in a mirrored room, wearing a hat and T-shirt — a disheveled-chic look not uncommon in the industry but less so in testimony run during a Virginia trial. The agent hardly seemed happy to be there; at one point he looked away as Heard’s attorney pressed him with questions.
Along with the jury, Judge Penny Azcarate, the lawyers and others, Depp and Heard were in court today watching the Carino video and other witnesses.
Johnny Depp Ends Testimony Proclaiming He’s Victim Of Domestic Abuse; $50M Defamation Trial Expected To Hear From Amber Heard In Next Few Weeks –
In a second video deposition from March 11 this year, under questioning from Depp’s team, Carino was without a hat and seated in a much more conservative environment with a Pop Art piece in the background. Carino actually repped Heard before Depp and, for a short period of time, repped both. CAA and Depp parted ways in 2020 after the actor left to follow Whigham to the newly formed Range Media Partners management company
Today in his pre-recorded deposition, Carino said that his friendship with Depp ended when the past Oscar nominee left CAA. Noting that he remained close with both Rum Diary stars even during their rocky and restraining-order-defined divorce, the agent said he ceased being friends with the now-WME-repped Aquaman actress when “the legal dispute began.”
Over the past several years, Depp has been involved in a number of additional legal actions, including suing his ex-business managers and his former lawyer Jacob Bloom as well as being accused of striking a crew member on the City of Lies set. The first two cases have been resolved, one in a confidential settlement and the other in a loss to Bloom. The latter case remains before the courts in Los Angeles.
Carino also testified that Heard wanted to set up a meeting with Depp to reconcile after she obtained a restraining order against him in May, 2016. The meeting took place in San Francisco, but there was no resolution.
Carino’s testimony is expected to end today. The court will be in session tomorrow but closed on Friday, as has been the case since it started this month. A deposition from Laura Wasser, Depp’s divorce attorney, also was expected to run.
PREVIOUSLY, 11:41 AM: Two Los Angeles Police Department officers testified Wednesday about what they saw when they responded to separate 911 calls to come to the downtown penthouse on May 21, 2016, the night that Amber Heard claims that Johnny Depp beat her in a confrontation in the waning days of their marriage.
The Fairfax, VA, jury was shown the bodycam footage of Officer William Gatlin, who was among the officers who responded to the Eastern Columbia building later that evening. Gatlin said that he did not observe “any verifiable injuries to her.” But Heard’s attorney questioned him on how he could make that determination given the low level of lighting in the penthouse. She also questioned him on why he didn’t ask Heard to come forward so he could examine her more closely.
#Bodycam footage shows officers responding to #JohnnyDepp and #AmberHeard's penthouse after a second 911 call was made alleging domestic violence in May 2016. @LawCrimeNetwork pic.twitter.com/Iq0ZwCoIKf
— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) April 27, 2022
Two officers had responded to a 911 call earlier in the evening, but they left without filing a report. Heard’s attorneys have pressed the officers on why they did not take a report and whether they followed proper procedure. Instead, they left a business card and wrote “met with victim — victim advised verbal” on their log entry.
“After discussing the investigation with my partner at the scene, Miss Heard refused any medical treatment and had no visible injuries,” said Officer Tyler Hadden, who was one of the two officers who first responded to the 9/11 call of domestic violence.
“There was no sign of struggle … and the witness that was there that I spoke with was uncooperative as well.”
Bredehoft pressed Gatlin on how certain he could be that he didn’t see Heard with injuries. He said that Heard was “crying and had a red face.” Bredehoft, though, tried to show that he failed to spot damage in the building, a stain in the hallway.
Later in the morning, Depp appeared smiling and amused as testimony was played from Alejandro Romero, who was posted at the front desk of the Eastern Columbia building. Romero, appearing in his vehicle, said that after he saw Heard after the May 21 incident, he “didn’t recall [seeing] marks or bruises.” But Bredehoft repeatedly asked him about other aspects of her appearance, like whether she was wearing makeup or what she was wearing, and he repeatedly testified that he could not recall. At one point, Romero admitted, “I don’t want to deal with this court case, everyone has got problems — I don’t want to deal with no more.
On Wednesday afternoon, the jury will see a Jan. 19, 2021 deposition from Christian Carino, former CAA agent for Depp and Heard.
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