Johnny Depp will not return to the stand in Amber Heard trial after all

·3 min read
Johnny Depp will not return to the stand in Amber Heard trial after all

Amber Heard's defense will not call Johnny Depp back to the stand during the defamation trial after all.

The Pirates of the Caribbean actor was scheduled to return to the witness stand during the sixth and final week of the highly-publicized trial on Monday. "Calling Depp back to the stand would be as relevant to us as a bicycle to a fish," a Heard source told EW of the decision. "Everything Depp has testified up to this point has been irrelevant to the heart of this case, and there's no reason to believe it would be any different now."

Legal experts previously told EW that calling Depp back on the stand had its risks. Mitra Ahouraian, the founder and principal attorney at Ahouraian Law, a Los Angeles-based corporate and entertainment law firm, said Depp "has the advantage of having heard all the testimony in the case, which is not typical for a witness and is only allowed because he is a party to the lawsuit."

Johnny Depp in court
Johnny Depp in court

STEVE HELBER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Johnny Depp testifies in defamation trial against Amber Heard in April 2022

"He is intelligent enough to use that knowledge to his advantage," Ahouraian continued, noting that the actor is also "an extremely charming and magnetic presence in any arena, including this trial." Ahouraian said, "If he comes off as being in command and persuasive, the jury will compare that to Amber's somewhat uneven time on the witness stand, and that will solidify a positive impression of him."

Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor and legal analyst, maintained the initial strategy was rooted in control. By calling Depp, "They get to control the narrative a little bit more," Rahmani said. "We saw how charismatic Johnny was when he testified the first time around, so the last thing you want to do is give him a second opportunity to charm the jurors." As for the risks: "You're putting a hostile witness in your case-in-chief, so if you don't do a good job, that may undermine your whole case."

Amber Heard
Amber Heard

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Amber Heard takes the stand during Johnny Depp defamation trial in May 2022

The development comes after Heard's sister Whitney Henriquez and actress Ellen Barkin, who dated Depp in 1994 and starred with him in 1998's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, testified on her behalf last week. Other witnesses included Heard's talent agent and former makeup artist. Depp's team will begin rebuttals on Tuesday. Depp's ex-girlfriend, the model Kate Moss, and Walter Hamada, president of DC Films at Warner Bros., are among the witnesses expected to testify on behalf of the actor.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote chronicling her experiences as a domestic violence survivor. Though Heard never mentions Depp by name, his lawyers argue that references to their client (and Heard's previous abuse allegations following their 2017 divorce) are clear, claiming the essay damaged Depp's career and reputation. Heard filed a $100 million countersuit, claiming Depp and his legal team defamed her by calling her allegations false.

Related content:

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting