A claim by Amber Heard that she gave her entire $ 7 million (£ 5 million) divorce settlement with Johnny Depp to charity was a “calculated and manipulative lie” to influence a libel lawsuit, her lawyers told the court in appeal.
A judge who found, on the balance of probabilities, that he had assaulted her was “subliminally influenced” by the evidence of the donation, which included victims of domestic violence, Depp’s legal team claimed.
The actor’s attorneys began her request for permission to appeal against the 2020 superior court ruling questioning whether she had kept her promise to split her $ 7 million divorce settlement equally between two charities: Los Children’s Hospital. Angels and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). ).
Neither Depp nor Heard were present in court for the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where a lawyer for his described her as “the key witness” in last year’s defamation trial against the Sun’s editor, News Group. Newspapers (NGN).
In submissions written on Depp’s behalf, Andrew Caldecott QC said that the pledges on the $ 7 million gift had “strengthened Heard’s credit in an exceptional way.” But, he added, it was a “calculated and manipulative lie, designed to make a powerful favorable impression from the start.”
Depp lost his high-stakes libel suit in November against the Sun after the newspaper described him as a “wife beater” in an article. The high court dismissed the claim for compensation of the protagonist of Pirates of the Caribbean and other films at the end of one of the most followed defamation suits of the century.
“They [NGN] I would have had no defense without Mrs. Heard. There were many other witnesses, but she was in any point of view center stage, “said Caldecott, adding that Heard’s witness statement referred to how” the entire amount of my divorce settlement was donated to charity. ”.
The lawyer told three appellate court judges: “We say it’s a potentially subliminal message: ‘I want you to pay, but I don’t want to keep a penny of your money for the way I’ve been treated’ – and obviously in the The context of this case implies revulsion for the way he has physically treated her ”.
On August 18, 2016, Heard publicly stated that the $ 7 million would be divided equally between them, according to the attorney, but added that “the only donation” to the hospital was one of “$ 100,000, not the $ 3.5 millions that we say the court was led to believe was the true position. ”He said the ACLU, which worked with victims of domestic violence, received $ 350,000 initially and then $ 100,000, according to documents that have been released.
At the end of last year’s hearings in November, Judge Nicol rejected Depp’s claim that Heard was a “gold digger”, saying in his ruling: “Your donation of the seven million US dollars to charity is not the act that one would expect. ” a gold digger. “
Caldecott argued that if “the truth about the charity claim emerged at trial, it would have materially affected Judge Nicol’s consideration of Mr. Heard’s evidence as a whole.”
He said: “The evidence presented a totally exceptional act of philanthropy, which would have deeply impressed any reasonable person.
“His public statements expressly stated that the ACLU donation specifically had victims of domestic violence in mind. In any case, the subliminal message of the charity claim was clear: Ms. Heard would not want to keep Mr. Depp’s money, because he had subjected her to serious violence.
“The evidence was presented, and obviously intended to present it in the strongest terms as virtuous and victim.”
Lord Justice Underhill, one of the appellate judges, said that Heard was never given the opportunity during the original hearing to answer the question of whether all the money had been donated or should be given in installments. If they had asked him this, then the problem would have been easily solved, he suggested.
In a 129-page ruling last year, Nicol said: “I have discovered that the vast majority of the alleged assaults on Ms. Heard by Mr. Depp have been proven to civil standards.” She also said she accepted Heard’s evidence that the allegations she made against Depp “have had a negative effect on her acting and activist career.”
The appeal court hearing continues.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism