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Amber Heard Plans to Call Johnny Depp, Actress Ellen Barkin When Defamation Trial Resumes

Amber Heard testifies that Johnny Depp did a "cavity search."

Amber Heard testifies that Johnny Depp did a “cavity search.”

Amber Heard’s legal team plans to call her ex-husband Johnny Depp to testify in her case as she defends herself against his claim that she defamed him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed, Law&Crime has learned. Heard’s team also plans to call actress Ellen Barkin, who had a fling years ago with Depp, and Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez.

Law&Crime’s Angenette Levy tweeted about the list of witnesses Wednesday morning which led to a firestorm on social media. The move to call Depp as a witness left many observers questioning how and why that could happen since Depp had already testified during his case — and was cross-examined by Heard’s lawyer, Ben Rottenborn.

The move may not be that unusual, though, since Heard’s attorneys may hope to introduce evidence through Depp’s testimony that wasn’t addressed during Depp’s case-in-chief. Heard claims Depp physically, sexually and emotionally abused her throughout their marriage. Depp claims Heard was actually the abuser. Heard can be heard on audio recordings admitting to starting physical fights with Depp.

Heard plans to call her sister, Whitney Henriquez, to testify about her claims that Depp abused her. Henriquez was deposed in the case but never finished the deposition. Henriquez lived in one of Depp’s penthouses in the Eastern Columbia Building while Heard was married to Depp. Depp owned several penthouses that neighbored one another in the 1930s art deco building in Los Angeles, and the couple lived there as well.

Actress Ellen Barkin will testify for Heard via video. Barkin and Depp had a brief relationship while filming Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in 1998. Published reports suggest Depp had just ended his years-long relationship with Winona Ryder and began a rebound relationship with Barkin, who is nine years older.

According to a 2020 story in the Daily Mail, Depp testified during the U.K. trial that he and Barkin had a casual sexual relationship while they were shooting the film and that Barkin held a grudge because she wanted more from the relationship than he was willing to give.

Depp said he and Barkin had been friends years prior to the relationship.

Court documents from the U.K. trial judgment cited Barkin’s 2019 deposition in the Virginia defamation case and her testimony that Depp threw a wine bottle in her direction while arguing with his assistants in a Las Vegas hotel room. However, Barkin was not hit by the bottle and not injured.

When court adjourned for a week-long break last Thursday, Heard was still testifying under direct examination by her attorney, Elaine Bredehoft. Her testimony included her recounting a claim that Depp sexually assaulted her in March 2015 with a liquor bottle — a claim Depp denies. The facts of that Australia incident are in dispute. Depp testified that Heard had become enraged over an attorney explaining a postnuptial agreement to her after Depp wanted her to sign one and threw two vodka bottles at him — the second severing part of his right middle finger.

Heard’s testimony concluded with a discussion about an incident in December 2015 in the Bahamas where she again claimed Depp sexually assaulted her. During the incident, Depp had testified Heard was angry with him and had thrown a bottle of mineral spirits at him, striking his nose. Depp’s island manager, Tara Roberts, testified to overhearing part of the argument but not seeing it. She said she took Depp to a cafe, gave him ice for his nose, and left him there to sleep. While Heard claims she found Depp in the cafe “passed out.”

Testimony resumes May 16 at 9 a.m.

[Screenshot via the Law&Crime Network]

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Angenette Levy is a correspondent and host for the Law&Crime Network. Angenette has worked in newsrooms in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Cincinnati, Ohio. She has covered a number of high-profile criminal cases in both state and federal courts throughout her career including the trials of Steven Avery, Brooke “Skylar” Richardson and most recently the trials of Kyle Rittenhouse and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. She was nominated for an Emmy in 2015 for a story she covered in which she found a missing toddler who was the subject of an Amber Alert. Angenette is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati.