Johnny Depp will likely take the stand to answer allegations he punched a location manager on set. But it just won’t come next week, or even this year, after all.
As the Pirates of the Caribbean star faces ongoing legal dust-ups with his ex-wife Amber Heard and his ex-law firm, on Wednesday a Los Angeles Superior Court judge gave Depp a little courthouse breathing room. Going over her schedule today before the assault trial set to start October 21, Judge Holly Fujie decided the three-day matter would be better dealt with next spring – May 11, 2020 to be exact.
If his deposition of September 11 is any road map, Depp was prepared to testify October 22 that he did not hit City of Lies location manager Gregg “Rocky” Brooks in an altercation on the set of the Brad Furman-directed flick in April 2017 – a POV that Brooks clearly does not share.
In his filed complaint of July last year, the location manager said he was repeatedly hit by Depp “in the lower left side of his rib cage” after being informed that filming that night was going to have to wrap late. The 10-claim suit, which initially also named Furman and producers Miriam Segal, Good Film Productions (who have since been dismissed from the case) and Depp’s Infinitum Nihil, seeks damages for hostile work environment, retaliation, and wrongful termination among the claims.
On that late-night downtown Los Angeles shoot on the film about the LAPD investigation into the still unsolved 1997 murder of the Notorious B.I.G, Depp says he stepped in to stop a “confrontation” between the “belligerent” veteran location manager and an elderly African American woman on set. In the redacted deposition, Depp also insists there was nothing even resembling violence, and later he and Brooks calmly had a drink and took a photo together (see right) as a peace pipe of sorts.
“Absolutely not — no contact whatsoever,” Depp told lawyers from both sides in a sitdown at the Sunset Tower Hotel last month (read the deposition here). “There are dozens and dozens — I mean there are 40, 50, 60, 70 people around, and we’re on the street.”
An early witness list for the three-day trial had Depp taking the stand for a total of six and a half hours – which he still may, next year. That’s unless the two sides reach a deal, an outcome one of Brooks’ attorneys say is unlikely.
“I think what has happened to Mr. Depp in the last few years is to go for a scorched earth policy when it comes to his legal issues,” lawyer Pat Harris told Deadline today.
“Then they created this whole story of this African-American women that Rocky was supposedly berating on the set [which] is untrue and absolutely defamatory,” Harris added, noting that his client was homeless himself for a while as a teen and partially raised by an African-American woman. “Depp can say whatever he wants, but to create this fabrication that goes to the heart of who Rocky is, it’s killing him.”
In a town that protects its moneyshakers and big stars like Depp, Brooks has claimed he has found it hard to find work since the incident and filing of the suit.
The early witness list for that suit also had Aquaman star Heard as a witness to be called by the plaintiff’s team. However, I’ve heard that that Heard (see that?) will now not be participating in the case at all. Married to Depp for less than two years, she is fighting a $50 million defamation suit filed by her former hubby in March in Virginia over a Washington Post op-ed she penned late last year about domestic abuse – an article that never mentioned the actor by name.
Additionally in the courts on this side of the country, Depp has an early December trial start for his two-year-old, $50 million malpractice lawsuit against his old lawyers at Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman LLP.
That trial start was brought up by Depp’s lead lawyer Adam Waldman after the Brooks trial date was shifted.
“Rocky Brooks’ opportunistic hoax persists despite overwhelming evidence ranging from the sworn testimony of the multiple eyewitnesses, time-stamped photographs taken by the script supervisor, and other unambiguous facts,” the Endeavor Law Firm attorney asserted. “Because Mr. Brooks’ hoax was granted a scheduling reprieve by the court, justice must unfortunately wait a little longer.”
“Mr. Depp’s legal team will now focus all of its attention on the Bloom trial and the November depositions of Elon Musk, James Franco and Amber Heard, assuming that they will show up and testify,” Waldman noted of some of the big names drawn into the battle with the lawyers with deposition notices back in April.
Already postponed several times before, the Bloom Hergott case is penciled in to begin in L.A. Superior Court on December 2.