Uh, permission to treat the witness as hostile? The cross examination of Amber Heard finally began on Monday afternoon, and it started off SO combative!
Johnny Depp‘s lawyer Camille Vasquez began by pressing Amber on the divorce money she pledged to charity — but has never given.
As you may recall, right after the couple’s divorce in 2016, Amber made it clear she was not after Johnny’s money by declaring she would give the whole $7 million she was getting to charity. Every cent. Because, as she confirmed once again on the stand, she was “never interested in Johnny’s money”. She testified on Monday:
“I didn’t care about the money. I was told if I didn’t agree to a number it could be overturned, we would never settle. I took far less than what they were offering and what I was entitled to.”
She pledged half to the American Civil Liberties Union and have to Children’s Hospital LA, two great non-profits that could always use a big donation like that. The thing is… she never gave them all the money.
Late last month ACLU lawyer and COO Terence Dougherty was finally forced to admit — after being subpoenaed by Depp’s team — that Amber never gave them the $3.5 million. He testified that ultimately they got $1.3 mil, just over a third, and $500k of that came from her boyfriend at the time, billionaire Elon Musk. Not only did she stop paying, but once they broke up, Elon stopped paying, too. Dougherty confirmed they haven’t heard from Amber since 2019.
It’s unclear how much she’s donated to the Children’s Hospital, but last year a letter was unearthed that their Associate Senior VP sent to Amber in 2019 saying they’d only gotten $100k — and asking after the other 3.4 mil she’d pledged.
So how much has she actually given? Vasquez dug to find out, and it did not go well. She stated point blank that Amber had not donated the $7 million, to which the Aquaman star responded:
No joke: Vasquez laughed, balking at the answer. She then rephrased her question:
“Sitting here today, Ms. Heard, you still haven’t donated the seven million dollar divorce settlement to charity, isn’t that right?”
Amber would not give in, responding — speaking directly to the jury:
“Incorrect, I pledged the entirety of the seven million to charity and I intend to fulfill those obligations.”
Vasquez tried multiple times to interrupt, pointing out that she was not answering the question. She rephrased again:
“Sitting here today, you have not donated the seven million dollars — donated, not pledged, donated — the seven million dollar divorce settlement to charity?”
Amber equivocated, explaining — once again directly to the jury:
“I use pledge and donation synonymous with one another… That’s how donations are paid.”
Depp’s lawyer pointed out those are NOT synonymous with one another — one is a promise, the other is a fulfillment — and held the actress’ feet to the fire, stating:
“Respectfully, Ms. Heard, that’s not my question. As of today, you have not PAID $3.5 million of your own money to the ACLU, yes or no?”
Amber finally relented, saying:
“I have not yet.”
Vasquez asked again:
“And as of today, you have not paid $3.5 million of your own money to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles?”
Amber responded, throwing in her excuse for never having paid:
“I have not yet. Johnny sued me.”
Vasquez finally laid it out again, asking angrily:
“So as of today, you have not donated — PAID — seven million dollars of your divorce settlement to charity, right?”
“I have not been able to fulfill those obligations yet.”
Whoa! See the full, contentious exchange (below)!
Wow. Damn. We’d all kind of figured that out already over the past few months, but let’s not breeze past the fact that’s kind of a bombshell here. It was how she always took the legs out from under his team’s claim that she was extorting him for money. That can’t possibly be true because she didn’t even keep the money, she gave it to charity.
Amber straight up lied more than once about this. She said in a 2018 interview on a Dutch talk show:
“Seven million dollars in total was donated — I split it between the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. I wanted nothing.”
And she testified under oath to the UK high court during that 2020 libel trial — which Johnny lost — that she had donated the entire amount.
Now her defense is twofold — one is that she uses the words “donate” and “pledge” interchangeably. Which is NOT a legal defense. The second is that Johnny sued her, so suddenly she couldn’t afford the money. But… he didn’t sue her until March 2019. Why didn’t she pay the money before then? In 2019, the Children’s Hospital was already saying they hadn’t heard from her since 2016. That doesn’t add up.
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