Kate James, Amber Heard’s former personal assistant, alleged that Heard had appropriated her story of being a “sexual violence survivor,” giving evidence at London’s Royal Courts of Justice on the seventh day of Johnny Depp’s libel trial against the publisher of The Sun newspaper.
Depp is suing News Group Newspapers and journalist Dan Wootton for an article on The Sun website that described him as a “wife beater.” Depp denies that he was violent toward Heard, to whom he was married from 2015 to 2017.
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James, who was Heard’s personal assistant between 2012 and 2015, was giving her evidence by video link from Los Angeles.
Defense attorney Sasha Wass asked if James had been “influenced by Mr. Depp and his associates who have encouraged you to give this vicious evidence against her [Heard].”
“Absolutely not,” James said.
She added, “I’m here for my own reasons … I’m a sexual violence survivor and that’s very, very serious to take that stance if you are not one and I am one. That’s the reason I’m here, because I take offense.”
Depp’s attorney David Sherborne asked her: “Can you explain why you take exception [to Ms. Heard’s allegations against Depp]?”
James replied, “Because Ms. Heard referred to a conversation we had about me being violently raped at machete point in Brazil and she used it as her own story.”
“She referred directly to a violent rape that occurred to me 26 years ago and she twisted it into her own story and she used it for her own use.”
James also alleged that Heard would send a “barrage of drunk text messages between the hours of two and four in the morning on a regular basis … on an almost daily basis.” She described the messages as “abusive.”
“We have very, very few texts between you and Ms. Heard … only the ones that Ms. Heard has provided to the defendants,” Sherborne said.
James explained: “I was using a phone that was logged into her [Heard’s] iCloud account.”
She added, “When she terminated my employment, she deleted all of the texts from the cloud — only texts that were abusive. She saved the ones that weren’t.”
James was asked about an incident that is said to have occurred in May 2014 on a private jet traveling from Boston to L.A., when Depp allegedly kicked Heard in the back.
Wass read a text sent by Heard to James after the alleged incident, which read: “I have to leave JD. He’s just freaked out on me. He’s drinking again. It’s bad, worse than ever.”
Wass asked if James remembered the message, to which she replied: “Yes, I remember the day very clearly, trust me.”
Wass said Heard returned to L.A. and stayed in a hotel, to which James said: “I don’t know why because she had an apartment … that apartment was still fully-functioning and livable.”
James added, “She went to the Chateau [the hotel] with four of her friends and they basically had a pool party … drinking and swimming and sunbathing and having fun.”
Earlier in the day the court heard evidence from Depp’s estate manager Kevin Murphy.
He was asked about the “defecation incident,” when feces were found in the couple’s bed after Heard’s 30th birthday party in April 2016. Murphy said Heard claimed this was “just a harmless prank.”
“This detail of the case has been an attempt to make Ms. Heard appear disgusting and absurd in the public eye,” Wass said.
Murphy replied: “It is just the truth.”
Murphy also spoke about events in 2015, when Heard took her Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo into Australia illegally, and Murphy claimed Heard told him to make a false statement about the dogs.
“Ms. Heard demanded verbally that I myself make a false witness statement regarding the dogs’ illegal entrance into Australia,” Murphy told the court.
“I expressed that I was extremely uncomfortable with doing so, to which Ms. Heard responded with words to the effect of: ‘Well I want your help on this … I wouldn’t want you to have a problem with your job.’”
“Ms. Heard’s threatening language made me feel anxious and uneasy.”
Wass said Heard denies asking anyone to make a false statement over the dog smuggling incident.
Murphy said he signed an untruthful statement in 2015, which claimed James had been responsible for travel paperwork for Boo and Pistol.
“On 13 October 2015 I signed a declaration for the Australian proceedings that discussed the circumstances in which Ms. Heard brought her and Mr. Depp’s dogs into Australia,” he said.
“That declaration contained statements that were not entirely truthful. It was not true that Ms. Kate James, Ms. Heard’s assistant, was responsible for the paperwork and had not completed it and that this was the reason why Ms. Heard travelled with the dogs to Australia without the necessary paperwork.”
“The true position is that I was responsible for the paperwork, which I could not obtain in time, and that Ms. Heard was fully aware of this in advance of traveling to Australia with the dogs.”
Murphy said he was “relieved” when the case was settled and he did not have to lie in person.
Asked why he lied, he said, “That’s what I was asked to agree to, and had the threat of losing my job or having trouble with my job.”
“Why on earth did you not go to Mr. Depp to ask him to intervene rather than just lying on oath, which you say you did?” Wass asked.
Murphy replied, “Because Amber wielded a lot of power and would have made my life miserable.”
Asked how she would do that, he added: “By being subversive, saying negative things to Johnny.”
The trial continues Thursday.
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