The defamation trial between Mr Depp and Ms Heard began on Monday 11 April in Fairfax, Virginia following Mr Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife in March 2019. Mr Depp is arguing that she defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.
Dr Dawn Hughes was shown a picture of a knife with the words “hasta la muerte” – “until death” in Spanish. The image has appeared previously in the trial.
Mr Depp’s lawyer Wayne Dennison asked Dr Hughes if it was her testimony that someone who was “afraid for her life” would gift this to their partner.
There’s “context”, Dr Hughes said.
Ms Heard appeared to smile in the courtroom as Mr Dennison asked Dr Hughes if she spoke Spanish before showing the image of the knife, to which Dr Hughes said “un poquito” – “a little”.
Dr Hughes said that Ms Heard’s reports of intimate partner violence (IPV) were in line “with what we know and the literature” concerning IPV.
“You have no independent knowledge of the facts underlying the alleged abuse, correct?” Mr Dennison asked.
“I have the knowledge of the plethora of documents I’ve reviewed,” Dr Hughes responded.
Mr Dennison went on to note that Ms Heard’s reports of abuse to Dr Hughes came after Mr Depp’s lawsuit against Ms Heard, which Dr Hughes said was accurate.
In her 2018 op-ed, Ms Heard wrote that “like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim”.
“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she added at the time.
While Mr Depp isn’t named in the piece, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”. Mr Depp is seeking damages of “not less than $50m”.
Ms Heard has filed a $100m counterclaim against Mr Depp for nuisance and immunity from his allegations.