Johnny Depp made a lot of progress in the first half of his defamation trial against Amber Heard. We’re not convinced it was enough to prove to the jury he never committed an act of domestic abuse against her — after all, that seems inherently impossible to prove. But his evidence and witnesses definitely changed some minds in the public.
But now it’s Amber’s turn. And her team is starting off by trying to refute one of the most controversial witnesses for the plaintiff.
As you may recall, forensic psychologist Dr. Shannon Curry testified that after a brief few sessions with Amber — 12 hours total — she assessed that the Aquaman star likely had histrionic personality disorder, which gave her a need to be the center of attention, and is akin to borderline personality disorder. She also determined the actress was lying about her PTSD, “grossly exaggerating” her symptoms — she said she had 19 of the 20 hallmarks, something Dr. Curry explained was “not typical of even somebody with the most disabling form of PTSD.”
OK, so that was Johnny’s shrink. You knew Amber was going to have her own.
Her team called Dr. Dawn Hughes, who immediately disagreed and said Amber definitely has PTSD. She stated:
“The main opinion is that Miss Heard’s report of intimate partner violence… is consistent with what we know in the field of intimate partner violence. Miss Heard demonstrated very clear psychological traumatic effects.”
She stated that she believed Amber’s post-traumatic stress disorder was caused by “intimate partner violence by Mr. Depp” AND by his former lawyer calling her a liar.
Like Dr. Curry before her, Dr. Hughes is not a psychologist who is treating Amber and never met her during the time in which the alleged abuse took place. She’s also a forensic and clinical psychologist, only lately she’s specialized in pretty specific cases: she testified on behalf of the prosecution against R. Kelly and NXIVM sex cult founder Keith Raniere. So just bringing her onto this case comes with its own implications — Amber’s lawyers know what they’re doing, that’s for sure.
She assessed Amber over a total of 29 hours, during which the actress told her that Johnny was physically, psychologically, and sexually abusive. Hughes testified, based on what Amber told her, that Johnny would exert “coercive control” over his then-wife.
Dr. Hughes also described in detail acts of physical abuse Johnny allegedly perpetuated against Amber. She said that “he threw her on the bed, ripped off her nightgown, and tried to have sex with her… he shoved her, he slapped her with the front of his hand and the back of his hand, he choked her, he slammed her into the wall, he pushed her, and when she fell down, he kicked her in the back.” And then there was the claim he “violated” her with a wine bottle.
But at the end of the day, these were not assessments. This was Hughes repeating what Amber had told her. The doctor acknowledged she had no firsthand knowledge of any of the allegations against Johnny Depp. But clearly she believes Amber.
The question remains, does the jury believe Amber? Does Dr. Hughes negate Dr. Curry? We’ll have to see as the trial continues on Wednesday…
[Image via Law&Crime Network/YouTube.]