Elon Musk and James Franco will not testify at Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial

The Independent received confirmation that neither the Tesla CEO nor the actor will end up taking the stand

Megan Sheets
Thursday 28 April 2022 21:32 BST
Amber Heard's former agent discusses her relationship with Elon Musk
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Elon Musk and James Franco will not testify at the defamation trial opposing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, a source familiar with the situation has confirmed to The Independent.

Ms Heard’s legal team had included Mr Musk and Mr Franco on its list of potential witnesses ahead of the trial, with both appearing via video link.

On Thursday morning, nearing the close of the third week of the trial, The Independent received confirmation that neither the Tesla CEO nor the actor are expected to take the stand. No reasoning was provided.

Mr Musk’s name was brought up in court on Wednesday during testimony from Christian Carino, a former talent manager for Ms Heard and Mr Depp.

Mr Carino told the jury that Ms Heard dated Mr Musk while she was trying to reconcile with Mr Depp following their divorce.

Ms Heard and Mr Musk are believed to have dated on and off between 2016 and 2018. When Mr Depp sued News Group Newspapers, the company that publishes The Sun, for libel in the UK (over a headline calling him a “wife beater”), Mr Musk came up in the ensuing court case.

Eleanor Laws QC, who represented Mr Depp, read out text messages from May 2016, in which Ms Heard told Mr Musk she was going to obtain a restraining order against her then-husband Mr Depp.

Laws said Mr Musk offered to “arrange 24/7 security” for Ms Heard, and that he added: “The offer would stand, even if you never wanted to see me again... anyway, sorry for being an idiot. The radio silence hurts a lot. It only matters because I really like you.”

Mr Depp’s team had subpoenaed some of Mr Musk’s past communications with Heard as part of the Virginia defamation case.

Mr Franco’s name was brought up in court last week when Mr Depp testified that he was worried Ms Heard was having an affair with Mr Franco, her co-star, in 2014.

Mr Franco also came up during the UK court case opposing Mr Depp and The Sun.

Joshua Drew, a friend of Ms Heard, told the court he had heard Mr Depp had a “particular issue” with Mr Franco, and that mention of his name would “cause fights” between Ms Heard and Mr Depp.

Mr Depp’s side subpoenaed Mr Franco in the Virginia case for some of his past communications and documents reflecting interactions with Ms Heard.

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