Johnny Depp trial latest: ACLU employee helped draft controversial op-ed; Amber Heard was repeatedly asked for promised pledge

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard again appeared in a Fairfax, Virginia, courtroom today, as another round of witnesses testified about their relationship, their finances, and a controversial Washington Post op-ed over which Depp is suing his ex-wife.

The 2018 piece saw Heard obliquely accusing Depp of domestic abuse; while she didn’t name him, he claims that her accusations essentially torpedoed the Pirates of the Caribbean series star’s career.

Today’s proceedings delved into the genesis of the op-ed, with Depp’s legal team playing video testimony of Terence Dougherty, the ACLU’s general counsel, who testified that the organization helped Heard draft and edit the piece.

It also came out in court that Jessica Weitz, the ACLU’s director of artist engagement at the time, pushed for the article to come out, “to capitalize on the tremendous campaign for Aquaman,” in which she starred.

“From the ACLU’s perspective…what better a time…so that it generates significant readership about our issues,” Dougherty said.

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Also at issue today was Heard’s promise to split the $7 million as a divorce settlement from Depp between both the organization and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Dougherty testified that the ACLU received $1.3 million of the pledge, which her attorneys claim showed she was fulfilling her promise.

Depp’s attorneys’ questions to the witness and presentation of related documents proved that $350,000 came from Heard, while $500,000 was kicked in by a charitable fund tied to Heard’s former boyfriend Elon Musk, $350,000 came from another fund, and $100,000 of the donated money actually came from Depp himself.

In 2019, Dougherty said he was informed that Heard was having financial problems and was unable to pay the remainder of the monies she promised.

Other witnesses today included Depp’s accountant, who was quizzed by both sides about details of the state of his finances and his divorce settlement, and former security staffers, who testified about the couple’s tumultuous relationship.

The case will resume on Monday.

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