Amber Heard made domestic violence claims to blackmail Johnny Depp, actor’s friend says

Isaac Baruch tells High Court he did not see any marks on actress after alleged assault

Peter Stubley
Friday 17 July 2020 23:03 BST
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard arrive at the High Court as libel hearing continues

Amber Heard filed a “fraudulent domestic violence claim” against Johnny Depp to “extort and blackmail him”, a friend of the actor has told the High Court.

Isaac Baruch, an artist who has known Mr Depp for 40 years, said he did not see any marks on Ms Heard’s face the day after she was allegedly attacked by the Hollywood star.

Mr Baruch – who lived rent-free in a penthouse owned by the actor at the Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles – also described how Mr Depp told him that Ms Heard “likes to argue and likes to hit”.

He gave evidence by video-link from the US on the ninth day of Mr Depp’s libel action against The Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an article which labelled 57-year-old Depp a “wife beater”.

The court was read a text message sent by Mr Depp to Mr Baruch in October 2016 which read: “I hate it but I’ve got to lose those f*****g penthouses. That c**t ruined such a f*****g cool life we led for a while. I can’t even look at the building anymore.

“F****d up. I really loved that spot.”

Mr Baruch told the court that Mr Depp used the word “c**t” about Ms Heard “because she filed for a fraudulent domestic violence claim to push her hand and extort and blackmail him”.

The court also heard from Travis McGivern, a member of Mr Depp’s security team, who said he saw Ms Heard punch the actor in the eye, spit on him and throw a can of Red Bull at his back during a heated row in March 2015.

Mr McGivern denied the allegation that Mr Depp hit Ms Heard repeatedly while holding her hair, telling the court: “This did not happen and at no point did Mr Depp hit Ms Heard.”

In other evidence, Alejandro Romero, a concierge at the Eastern Columbia Building, told the court that Elon Musk regularly visited Amber Heard at Mr Depp’s penthouse late at night from March 2015.

The court further heard from actress and #MeToo activist Katherine Kendall, who claims she was “completely misquoted and misused by The Sun” in the April 2018 article.

Ms Kendall said that after reading the story, “I immediately understood that The Sun’s purpose was to present the appearance of a #MeToo backlash”.

A photo of Ms Heard, which is said to show her with a reddened face after an alleged assault in May 2016, was released after being referred to as an exhibit in the case.

On Monday Mr Justice Nicol is expected to hear legal arguments about whether images apparently showing injuries to Ms Heard have been “manipulated or edited”.

Ms Heard is then due to be called as NGN’s first defence witness. Her evidence is due to last three days.

Additional reporting by agencies

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