Just under a week after filing to have ex-husband Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation suit tossed out, Amber Heard today went to court to force the Pirates of the Caribbean actor to hand over documents and other material related to his “drug and alcohol abuse” plus “incidents of domestic violence and abuse.”
“Mr. Depp cannot seek to litigate the truth of Ms. Heard’s allegations about his violent and abusive behavior while intoxicated, insist on proceeding without a protective order, and then blithely refuse to produce evidence that confirms the truth of those allegations on grounds of relevance and ‘privacy,’” asserts Heard’s Virginia lawyer J. Benjamin Rottenborn in a memorandum accompanying a motion to compel entered into the docket in the Old Dominion on Thursday (read it here).
“In Mr. Depp’s self-serving view, his privacy justifies denying discovery essential to Ms. Heard’s defense, but somehow does not justify the entry of a standard protective order,” the eight-page document adds.
Specifically, Heard is seeking from Deep “All DOCUMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS between YOU and any person employed by YOU or working on your behalf pertaining to the use of narcotics by YOU or MS. HEARD from 2013 to present” and “All DOCUMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS pertaining to any treatment for alcohol or drug use or abuse by YOU or MS. HEARD from 2013 to present.” The defense also desires “DOCUMENTS and COMMUNICATIONS exchanged between YOU or anyone acting on YOUR behalf and Dr. David Kipper that mention MS. HEARD or any of YOUR other ROMANTIC PARTNERS from 2010 to present,” and perhaps most damning “DOCUMENTS sufficient to show each time YOU were arrested and the reason(s) for the arrest.”
This already very personal and messy matter now heads toward getting messier and more personal with the latest filings by defendant Heard and what her team terms “critical evidence.”
A point Depp’s main lawyer notes in response to today’s paperwork.
“Justice, three years late, has almost arrived,” said Adam Waldman in a statement to Deadline.
“Amber Heard, previously arrested and jailed for violent domestic abuse, and then caught on tape and by dozens of eyewitnesses for her hoax accusing Johnny Depp of violent domestic abuse, is staring at her trial,” the Endeavor Law Firm attorney declares. “Now her new #Timesup lawyers try to thread a difficult needle — desperately fight to get the case dismissed out of court for the 3rd time, sweep the unambiguous testimonial evidence of her crimes under seal to hide it from the public and embolden her (curiously silent) hoax-enablers, and smear Johnny Depp with additional false innuendo. All while arguing the abuse defamation she inflicted on Johnny Depp was somehow not about Johnny Depp.”
“The public is not so easily fooled and the truth is not so easily suppressed,” concludes Waldman.
Depp and Heard’s marriage of less than two years came to an official end in early 2017. In May of 2016, Heard had a temporary restraining order slapped against Depp over domestic violence claims. To wrap things up, the duo agreed in August 2016 to a $7 million divorce settlement, most of which Heard donated to charity.
No stranger to courtroom drama in recent years, Depp dragged Heard into court for big bucks in Virginia, where neither of them live, in March this year over an anti-domestic violence op-ed that Heared penned for the Washington Post in December 2018 – an op-ed that never mentioned Depp by name, it is worth noting.
Nonetheless, the litigious Oscar nominee claimed that the alleged misconduct in the marriage was at Heard’s hands, and never by him. Depp and his lawyers also said Heard’s piece in the Jeff Bezos-owned paper tarnished Depp’s good name and cost him a place in a planned Pirates reboot – a claim the franchise’s studio Disney never confirmed nor denied.
After failing to get the case moved to California, Heard has been trying to get it dismissed and, if that doesn’t work, at least have many of the personal records and details kept out of the public record. Having sought a similar measure in some of his other high-profile lawsuits, Depp and his team are opposed to the move into the legal shadows here.
“By suing her for defamation, Mr. Depp himself has put at issue the grievous physical and emotional abuse that Ms. Heard suffered at his hands during their marriage,” said Heard’s relatively new lawyer and Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund co-founder Roberta Kaplan today in a statement outside the motion filings. “Mr. Depp’s principal aim here seems to be to use this baseless lawsuit to score PR points to hurt Ms. Heard, only continuing the pattern of abuse. We are confident, however, that the Court will see through the patent hypocrisy of Mr. Depp’s position on these and other issues.”
Having joined Heard’s team earlier this summer, Kaplan also makes a cameo in the just released She Said book about the NYT’s exposé of Harvey Weinstein working to help the now disgraced producer resolve a matter seemingly not related to the dozens of accusations of sexual assault and harassment over the decades.