Johnny Depp mouthed the word “wow” during the cross-examination of airport security worker who testified to a 2009 domestic violence “altercation” involving Amber Heard.
Testifying as a witness for Mr Depp in his multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against Ms Heard at the Fairfax County court in Virginia on Wednesday, Beverly Leonard told the court that she met the Aquaman actor at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington state during her time working there.
Ms Leonard said she was in the baggage claim area when she “observed [Heard] with a traveling companion” and that “they got into an altercation where Ms Heard had grabbed her traveling companion and pulled something from her neck.”
At that point, Ms Leonard continued, she went over “to try to break up what appeared to be a fight”, asked a colleague to help her and “stepped in between them, and separated them, stopping any further injuries or escalation.”
She described Ms Heard’s behavior towards her fellow traveller, who was the actor’s former partner Tasya Van Ree, as “aggressive”. She also said Ms Heard had “pulled a necklace off of her, and I observed her having it in her hand de ella.”
Ms Heard seemed to “not be very steady on her feet” and her eyes were “blurry and watery”, Ms Leonard gave testimony, adding, “I could smell alcohol”.
Ms Leonard also told the jury that Ms Heard’s co-traveler “raised her hands in what appeared to be a defensive manner” but remained “pretty stoic” other than that. She also said Ms Heard was dismissive of her when she intervened to ask if “they were okay” and “what’s going on”.
“She just said, ‘We’re just having an argument, we’re fine, we’re fine,’” Ms Leonard explained, adding that Ms Heard’s traveling companion had an “abraision on the side of her neck where the necklace was , like a rope burn from the chain as it was removed.”
During Ms Leonard’s cross-examination, Ms Bredehoft suggested that the witness had reached out to Mr Depp’s legal counsel “late last night” so that “you can get on TV”.
“You know that this trial is being televised right?” Ms Heard’s lawyer asked Ms Leonard, who replied: “Yes.”
“So you know that if you have something that might be significant to say, that that way you can get on TV right?” Ms Bredehoft pressed.
“No, I had no desire to be on television,” Ms Leonard replied, as Mr Depp mouthed “wow” over Ms Bredehoft’s line of questioning.
“I actually waited for a call and wondered why I hadn’t been contacted,” she added.
During Ms Heard’s cross-examination, earlier in the trial, Mr Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez brought up claims faced by Ms Heard in 2009, when she was arrested over an alleged domestic violence incident involving Van Ree.
The alleged incident was reported in 2016 by TMZ. The website wrote at the time that Ms Heard “allegedly grabbed and struck [Ms van Ree] in the arm, which upset [Ms van Ree] and triggered the arrest”.
Ms van Ree in 2016 shared a statement with Variety which read: “In 2009, Amber was wrongfully accused for an incident that was misinterpreted and over-sensationalized by two individuals in a power position.
“I recount hints of misogynistic attitudes toward us which later appeared to be homophobic when they found out we were domestic partners and not just ‘friends.’ Charges were quickly dropped and she was released moments later. It’s disheartening that Amber’s integrity and her story are being questioned yet again.
“Amber is a brilliant, honest and beautiful woman and I have the utmost respect for her. We shared five wonderful years together and remain close to this day.”
Final arguments in the trial are listed for Friday (May 27). Prior to that, Ms Heard is expected to return to the stand on Day 23 of the high-profile civil suit – currently underway at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia, US.
Mr Depp is suing Ms Heard for $50m for allegedly implying he abused her in a 2018 op-ed for Washington Postclaiming it impacted his ability to land the kinds of movie roles he once used to.
Meanwhile, Ms Heard is countersuing Mr Depp for orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her, describing his lawsuit as a “continuation of abuse and harassment”. She is seeking $100m in damages.
Follow live updates of the trial here.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.