Johnny Depp’s lawyers say video shows Amber Heard ‘attacked’ sister

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EPA

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Amber Heard arrives at the High Court on Friday, after giving evidence the previous day

A video which Johnny Depp’s lawyers say shows his ex-wife Amber Heard “attacked” her sister has been shown to the High Court.

In the video, which was given to his legal team on Thursday night, friends of Whitney Henriquez suggest her sister had “beat” her and appear to inspect her body for bruises.

Mr Depp, 57, is suing the publisher of the Sun over an online article that labelled him a “wife beater”.

The paper insists it was accurate.

In the video, which was shown to the court on the 14th day of the hearing in London, Ms Henriquez is talking with friends by a pool.

One friend is heard saying, “did you get in a fight?” and then “I can’t believe Amber beat your ass.”

One woman appears to inspect Ms Henriquez’s cheek and arm, and Ms Henriquez is heard saying she is not going to talk about it.

‘Lying’

Mr Depp’s barrister, David Sherborne, said his team received the video from “an anonymous source”, after Ms Henriquez said in court that her sister had never attacked her.

He said the video was captured during the filming of a reality television show and was not for broadcast, but was “the rushes” – the unedited, raw footage.

He told the court: “We were contacted to explain that Ms Amber Heard had a history of violence and attacking people and this video, which was attached, of her sister Whitney was taken shortly after Amber Heard had attacked her, and Ms Whitney was filmed with people commenting on the bruises on her face and body.”

Mr Sherborne said the newly disclosed video material “demonstrates Ms Whitney was lying yesterday” and that she had “tailored” her evidence “to meet her sister’s evidence”.

Returning to the witness stand, Ms Henriquez told the court she had been referring in the video to a verbal argument she had had with her sister and denied it had been physical.

She said her friends were “inferring, trying to make a storyline – albeit a bad one – interesting, nothing more”.

On Thursday, Ms Henriquez said Ms Heard had never hit her and denied being “frightened” of her sister.

She said she had seen Mr Depp punch Ms Heard “really hard in the head… multiple times” in Los Angeles in March 2015. Ms Henriquez acknowledged that Ms Heard had punched Mr Depp on that occasion – but said it was only “in my defence” because Ms Heard believed Mr Depp was going to push Ms Henriquez down the stairs.

Addressing the court on Friday, Mr Sherborne said Ms Henriquez’s evidence about the so-called “stairs incident” was “the only occasion on which any other human being is supposed to have witnessed” Mr Depp being violent towards Ms Heard.

“The reliability of Ms Whitney is critical,” he added.

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Mr Depp denies allegations he was violent towards Ms Heard

Mr Sherborne said Ms Heard’s evidence was that “she was never violent, she (has not) physically attacked Mr Depp… and the only occasion is said to be when she was acting in self-defence”.

“Evidence that Ms Heard was violent towards her sister is relevant to that issue,” he said.

‘Meaningless’

Sasha Wass QC, who represents the Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), said she had not been aware of the video until Mr Sherborne told the court about it and argued it was “meaningless”.

“This is an undated piece of film footage in circumstances which appear to be some sort of reality TV programme, which is flippant, certainly not serious,” she told the court.

“This is a light-hearted exchange, there is no evidence of any injuries and it will take the matter… no further.”

However, Mr Sherborne, representing Mr Depp, argued: “We say it is quite clear from that video that not only did Ms Amber Heard assault her sister, but it was quite clear also that the injuries that were suffered by Ms Whitney Heard are being examined by the individual that we see on the tape.

“There is no denial of the fact that Ms Amber Heard ‘beat up’ Ms Whitney Heard and that there are injuries.”

Depp ‘dictated’ Heard’s work

Ms Heard’s acting coach Kristina Sexton has also been giving evidence by video link from Australia.

In a written witness statement, Ms Sexton said she had met the actress in 2009 and the pair became friends “quite quickly”.

She said Ms Heard became a “nervous wreck” about choosing film roles because she was “so worried” about Mr Depp’s reaction.

Ms Sexton alleged Mr Depp “dictated” his ex-wife’s work and told her not to take certain jobs because he did not want her doing “whore parts”.

Giving evidence, Ms Sexton confirmed to Mr Depp’s lawyer, Eleanor Laws QC, that she had not seen the actor “hit, kick or throw anything” at Ms Heard.

Under questioning from NGN’s lawyer, Ms Wass, Ms Sexton said she had previously been aware of “verbal fights” between the pair but in April 2016, Ms Heard told her Mr Depp had been hitting her and had tried to strangle her.

The libel case, which is due to finish next week, centres on an article published on the Sun’s website in April 2018 under the headline “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”.

The article related to allegations made by Ms Heard, which Mr Depp denies.