ACLU lawyer testified that Amber Heard's op-ed on domestic violence was timed with the release of 'Aquaman'
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ACLUlawyer said that Amber Heard's op-ed was released in time for the "Aquaman" premiere.
- Heard is being sued by her ex-husband
Johnny Deppfor defamation.
During Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's trial Thursday, the general counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union said that the actress's op-ed in the Washington Post alluding to domestic abuse was timed with the release of "Aquaman."
Depp's attorney, Benjamin Chew, argued in the trial's opening statements earlier this month that Heard's 2018 op-ed "falsely and unfairly characterized Mr. Depp as a villain — a man who would violently abuse women," therefore ruining his reputation and career.
In a video deposition played in court Thursday, the ACLU's general counsel, Terence Dougherty, testified that his organization helped the actress produce the piece ahead of the "Aquaman" release on Dec. 21, 2018. Heard played Mera in the DC comic superhero film.
On Dec. 11, 2018, the civil liberty organization's director of artist engagement, Jessica Weitz, sent an email describing the urgency of getting Heard's op-ed published.
"The goal is to get this out this week to capitalize on the tremendous campaign for 'Aquaman,'" she wrote in the email, which Depp's lawyers entered into evidence in the trial.
Dougherty addressed the email in a video deposition played by Depp's legal team Thursday.
"From the ACLU's perspective, Amber is about to receive an incredible amount of press and be in the public eye," Dougherty said. "So what better a time would it be than now to put out this op-ed, so that it generates significant readership about our issues."
At the same time the
Depp and Heard have been divorced since 2016 after marrying in 2015. The ongoing trial is over a lawsuit Depp filed in 2019, alleging Heard defamed him by describing herself as a victim of domestic violence in the op-ed. Her lawsuit has depicted Heard as a careerist, accusing her of publishing it to coincide with the "Aquaman" release.
The "Pirates of the Caribbean" actor also alleges that she was abusive towards him and is seeking $50 million in damages. Heard has countersuit, laying out in court documents numerous instances where she says Depp abused her while he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and is seeking $100 million in damages.
Heard publicly announced she would give $3.5 million of the $7 million she received from her divorce settlement with Depp to the ACLU, but the organization received only $1.3 million in her name, Dougherty testified on Thursday. Of that, $500,000 came from an account belonging to Elon Musk, he said.
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