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Amber Heard to Call Johnny Depp to Testify in Her Case Monday

Johnny Depp, and Amber Heard in court.

Johnny Depp, and Amber Heard in court.

Johnny Depp will return to the witness stand Monday as the legal team for his ex-wife, Amber Heard, plans to call him to testify as she defends herself against his defamation claim and tries to prove her counterclaim.

Law&Crime first reported more than a week ago that Heard would call Depp as a witness. Some found it surprising that Heard could call Depp to the stand as a witness for her case since he would likely not testify in a way that would assist her.

“I want to say that a lot of people weren’t sure if that’s possible,” said Katherine Lizardo, a plaintiff’s attorney from Texas and frequent analyst for the Law&Crime Network. “It’s actually possible because in Virginia, and actually in federal court, in a lot of states, a party can call an adverse witness to their case in chief. An adverse witness is basically your opposing party.”

Heard alleges in her counterclaim that Depp and his lawyer, Adam Waldman, launched a smear campaign against her when Waldman made public statements to the Daily Mail Online in April 2020 in which Waldman labeled Heard’s abuse claims a hoax. Waldman also tweeted about Heard. He was later banned from Twitter for life.

“They’re trying to bring Johnny Depp in to establish some elements about her countersuit. That’s one reason why you bring in your adverse witness to testify for you. But there are alternatives that you can use for that. For example, you can use depositions of Johnny Depp to establish that element, or you can use other witnesses or other documents, admissible documents,” Lizardo said.

Lizardo believes calling Depp to the stand is a risky move because she didn’t feel Heard’s lawyer, Ben Rottenborn, was able to control Depp during cross examination. Depp is unlikely to waive attorney-client privilege.

Heard’s legal team played Waldman’s videotaped deposition last Thursday. Depp’s lawyer, Ben Chew, instructed Waldman on multiple occasions to not answer questions from Heard’s lawyers, Elaine Bredehoft and Rottenborn, because the answers would either be considered attorney work product or because the answers would violate privileged communications between Depp and Waldman.

Waldman testified in the videotaped deposition that he had spoken to mainstream media and internet journalists as part of his representation of Depp. Bredehoft asked Waldman whether he had approached Rolling Stone in 2018 about writing a story about Depp’s reputation and finances being damaged by Heard’s allegations.

“I was not the first to contact Rolling Stone,” Waldman said in response to a question from Bredehoft. The Rolling Stone story entitled “The Trouble With Johnny Depp” stated that Waldman first contacted Rolling Stone. Waldman said Depp actually reached out to Rolling Stone. The Rolling Stone piece has been mentioned several times during the trial. Waldman said that he was present for part of the interview but not the entire conversation.

Lizardo called attorney-client privilege sacred and said Waldman cannot break the privilege. Only Johnny Depp may do so.

Testimony resumes Monday morning and Law&Crime will stream it live on the network’s Youtube channel. Law&Crime’s Sidebar podcast also discussed the issue of Depp being called as an adverse witness in a prior episode.

Depp could also testify as part of his rebuttal case later in the week. Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday.

Law&Crime Sidebar is available on Apple and Spotify.

[Screenshot via 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.