Top 10 Pivotal Moments From the Johnny Depp Amber Heard Trial

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Top 10 Pivotal Moments From the Johnny Depp Amber Heard Trial

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
This celebrity trial has had more ups and downs than a roller coaster. For this list, we'll be looking at key moments from Depp v. Heard that might sway the jury about believing either side. Our countdown includes Sisters Take the Stand, Heard & Franco in Elevator, Heard Accused of Editing Photos, and more!
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Top 10 Pivotal Moments from the Johnny Depp Amber Heard Case


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Pivotal Moments from the Johnny Depp Amber Heard Case.

For this list, we’ll be looking at key moments from Depp v. Heard that might sway the jury about believing either side.

Which Depp v. Heard moment do you think has been the most pivotal? Let us know in the comments.

#10: Sisters Take the Stand

Christi Dembrowski, Depp’s sister and personal manager, was the first to take the stand on the actor’s behalf. According to Dembrowski, Depp was mistreated by their mother growing up, which was why he supposedly promised never to be the aggressor in a violent home life. Dembrowski also claimed that Depp’s relationship with his mother mirrored his marriage to Heard. In both cases, Depp allegedly had to hide when feeling threatened. During the trial’s fifth week, Heard’s younger sister, Whitney Henriquez, claimed to witness multiple altercations between the former couple. Henriquez accused Depp of causing physical harm to Heard and others caught in the way.

#9: Heard’s Divorce Settlement & Incomplete Donations

Heard received a $7 million settlement from her divorce from Depp, pledging to donate $3.5 million to the American Civil Liberties Union over a decade with the other half going to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. While Heard started paying the ACLU in 2016, the non-profit states that it hasn’t gotten anything since 2018. Terence Dougherty testified that the ACLU received $1.3 million, only $350,000 being straight from Heard. $100,000 came from Depp, $500,000 came from an account thought to be Elon Musk’s, and $350,000 more came from a fund associated with Heard. Being cross-examined by Camille Vasquez, Heard admitted that she had yet to fulfill her pledge, blaming the legal fees. Vasquez noted, though, that Heard had $7 million six months before Depp sued her.

#8: Hell’s Kitchen

While the trial has largely consisted of testimonies, photos, and audio recordings, this video also provided a window into their alleged toxic relationship. In the video, recorded by Heard, Depp is seen slamming kitchen cabinets, pouring a tall glass of wine, and shouting obscenities. Depp eventually finds the recording device shortly before the video abruptly ends. Being cross-examined by Benjamin Rottenborn, Depp said that he was having a bad time. While Depp owned up to being rough with the cabinets, he noted that the video didn’t show him laying a finger on Heard, who he accused of making recordings without his consent. It’s unclear if this video evidence will help either side’s case.

#7: Red Bull Gives You Witnesses

Testifying over video, Depp’s bodyguard, Travis McGivern, accused Heard of verbally and physically mistreating the “Pirates” star. McGivern highlighted a 2015 altercation in which Heard allegedly threw a Red Bull can and bag at Depp in addition to spitting on and smacking him. McGivern also claimed that Depp threw racks of Heard’s clothes and shoes down the stairs. His testimony contradicted Heard’s claims that Depp threw the Red Bull at Whitney Henriquez. Heard further testified that she punched Depp to protect her sister. Henriquez gave a similar account, alleging that the Red Bull hit nurse Debbie Lloyd. While we may never know the whole truth, any of these testimonies could sway the jury one way or another.

#6: Heard & Franco in Elevator

Although he was listed as a potential witness, James Franco is unlikely to testify. The most the jury is likely to see of Franco is a video of him getting into an elevator with Heard. On the stand, Heard claimed that Depp kicked her in the back on a private plane, accusing her of cheating on him with Franco. Although Depp has denied mistreatment allegations, he did express his suspicions of Heard having an affair with Franco. In the security footage, Franco and Heard are seen in an elevator at the building where they both lived on the night before Heard filed for divorce, exiting on the same floor.

#5: Heard’s Diagnosis

The trial has sparked numerous discussions about mental health, with Heard being at the center. Hired by Depp’s counsel, forensic psychologist Shannon Curry testified that Heard suffers from borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. Meanwhile, Heard’s legal team enlisted Dawn Hughes, another forensic psychologist who instead diagnosed Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from her relationship with Depp. Curry based her diagnosis on 12 hours with Heard while Hughes spent 29 hours with her. While the two forensic psychologists’ diagnoses did not match, Hughes did testify that Heard had confessed to hitting Depp numerous times. It’s also worth noting that neither Curry nor Hughes evaluated Depp’s mental health. The jury’s perception of Heard will largely boil down to which diagnosis they find the most credible.

#4: The Body Search Testimony

This testimony will likely come to mind when the jury is attempting to reach a verdict. Recalling a 2013 incident that allegedly occurred in Hicksville, Heard accused Depp of being jealous and violent while camping. She claimed that Depp performed an invasive body search, having accused her of taking his cocaine. Dawn Hughes also relayed this story while discussing Heard’s mental health. Although it’s hard to say what the jury thinks, this account from Heard has perhaps sparked the most debates online. Since jurors aren’t supposed to discuss the case or conduct their own research outside of court, it’ll all depend on what they hear and believe.

#3: Heard Accused of Editing Photos

Heard’s legal team has presented various photos depicting signs of physical violence that she’s seemingly endured. As part of her strategy, Camille Vasquez attempted to poke. However, Camille Vasquez called much of this into question when she cross-examined Heard. Vasquez pointed to several photos taken around the same time that Heard had allegedly been beaten, showing few visible injuries that met the descriptions. Heard claimed that they had been covered with makeup and that ice had been used to reduce the swelling. Vasquez also accused Heard of manipulating photos from May 2016, enhancing the image’s saturation to make her face appear more seriously injured. Heard denied editing any photos, saying that the differences were due to a change in the lighting. Every picture tells a story, but in this case, the story can go in two very different directions.

#2: The Audiotapes

Numerous audio recordings have been played for the jury, including one of Depp moaning on a plane after mixing opioids and alcohol. Even before the trial, though, the recording that garnered the most attention saw Heard admitting to starting a physical fight with Depp. In addition to distinguishing hitting from punching, Heard can be heard calling Depp several names in the midst of obscenities. In another audiotape that surfaced shortly after, Heard tells Depp that nobody would believe his allegations against her. If the jurors didn’t hear these recordings already, they definitely heard them at the trial. Since much of the testimony comes down to he said vs. she said, the jury’s decision may very well depend on what they think of the recordings.

#1: Pointing The Finger


We all know that Depp lost his middle fingertip, but there are several differing accounts of how this transpired. Depp claims that Heard threw a bottle that cut it off. Fleeing into the closet, Depp says he eventually emerged to write “little reminders” on the wall with his blood and paint. Heard denied Depp’s accusations, claiming that she went to sleep after taking a sedative, waking the next morning to find the rented house in disarray. Orthopedic Surgeon Richard Moore testified that Depp’s story wasn’t consistent with the evidence, although he couldn’t rule out a bottle as the injury’s cause when Camille Vasquez cross-examined him. As one of the trial’s most talked-about stories, the most credible version may point the jury toward their verdict.
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