Johnny Depp’s lawyers have told the UK Court of Appeal that Amber Heard told a ‘calculated and manipulative lie’ when she claimed she donated her $7 million divorce settlement to charity.
Depp’s team is currently trying to have a High Court libel case ruling that he assaulted his ex-wife and put her in fear for her life overturned. The ruling was made last year during a high-profile trial.
During a hearing last week, Depp’s lawyers asked for permission to appeal the judgement, which found in favor of British tabloid newspaper The Sun that a column brandishing the Hollywood actor a ‘wife beater’ was ‘substantially true’.
Depp claims he ‘did not receive a fair trial’, while his barrister Andrew Caldecott QC has given details of ‘fresh evidence’ submitted that apparently demonstrates that Heard did not donate her divorce settlement to charity.
After the couple parted ways in 2016, the 34-year-old actress – who was a witness for The Sun’s publishers NGN Newspapers during the trial – claimed she intended to split the $7m between the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
However, Mr. Caldecott said the hospital wrote to Depp’s business adviser in 2019 to say Heard had not made “any payments”.
In their written submissions, 59-year-old Depp’s legal team said Heard’s claim was a “calculated and manipulative lie, designed to achieve a potent favorable impression from the outset”.
In a court hearing this week, Mr. Caldecott said Heard’s claim that she had donated the full settlement to charity sent out a “subliminal message” that she wanted Depp to pay but didn’t “want to keep a dime of his money”, which implied “revulsion at the way he treated her physically”.
The claim “tipped the scales against Mr. Depp from the very beginning”, he told the court.
During his ruling in November last year, Mr. Justice Nicol said of Heard: “Her donation of the $7m to charity is hardly the act one would expect of a gold-digger.”
Mr. Caldecott claimed that if “the truth” about the charity lie had been known during the trial, it would have affected the judge’s consideration of the actress’s evidence.
Mr. Wolanski however said that the “fresh evidence” only demonstrated that Heard has not yet finished making her pledged payments to the charities and “is of no relevance to the pleaded issues”.
Depp took legal action against NGN in June 2018 over the column in The Sun, by the newspaper’s then executive editor Dan Wootton, which referred to “overwhelming evidence” he attacked Heard.
Mr. Justice Nicol concluded as part of his judgement that 12 of the 14 alleged incidents of domestic violence relied on by NGN in its defense of the actor’s claim did occur.
But Depp’s legal team claims the judge “failed to examine the competing accounts of each incident, or to explain whether he found them proved and, if so, on what basis”.
At the conclusion of Thursday’s hearing, Lord Justice Underhill – sitting with Lord Justice Dingemans – said the court would give its ruling at a later date.
He said: “We are not going to reach an immediate decision today… we will make it very shortly.”
Meanwhile British broadcasting regulator Ofcom has revealed that television presenter Piers Morgan’s outburst about the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle on Good Morning Britain has become their most complained about TV moment ever.
Morgan’s comments, made after Meghan and Harry’s controversial interview with Oprah Winfrey, have now resulted in more than 57,000 people – including Meghan herself – complaining to the broadcasting watchdog, which is investigating the issue.
On Wednesday, Morgan tweeted: “Only 57,000? I’ve had more people than that come up & congratulate me in the street for what I said. The vast majority of Britons are right behind me.”
An Ofcom spokesperson said: “We can confirm that this issue has attracted the highest number of complaints since our reporting began.”
Speaking outside his home the following morning, Morgan said of Meghan: “I don’t believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth and I think the damage she’s done to the British monarchy and to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible.
“If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it.”
Buckingham Palace issued a statement in response, saying race issues the interview brought up are “concerning” and confirmed that they “will be addressed”.
The statement issued on behalf of the Queen said: “The whole family is saddened to learn the full extent of how challenging the last few years have been for Harry and Meghan.
“The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. Whilst some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.
“Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved family members.”