Amber Heard’s sister quizzed over ‘assault’ video
Amber Heard’s sister, Whitney Henriquez, has been quizzed over a bombshell video which Johnny Depp’s lawyers say shows the actress “assaulted” her.
In a dramatic development on day 14 of Mr Depp’s blockbuster libel trial against The Sun newspaper, the Hollywood star’s legal team told the High Court it had received the video from a “confidential source” on Thursday night, after Ms Henriquez gave evidence that Ms Heard, 34, had never attacked her.
After legal argument on whether the video was admissible as evidence, it was played to the court.
It shows Ms Henriquez, by a poolside with friends, talking, with one person heard to say, “did you get in a fight?” and then “I can’t believe Amber beat your ass”.
One woman appears to inspect Ms Henriquez’ cheek and arm, and Ms Henriquez says she is not going to talk about it.
David Sherborne, Johnny Depp’s barrister, said the video was a clip captured during the filming of a reality television show and was not for broadcast, but was “the rushes”.
He later said it was filmed in 2006 or 2007.
During Friday’s hearing, Ms Henriquez has also been referred by her maiden name, Whitney Heard.
Eleanor Laws QC, representing Mr Depp, reminded Ms Henriquez that she gave evidence on Thursday that she had “only seen your sister hit Mr Depp once that was in self-defence and that your sister had never been violent or hit you”.
The barrister then played the video to Ms Henriquez and said: “What you were being asked by the ladies on that clip was about a fight between you and your sister, wasn’t it?”
Ms Henriquez replied: “We were referencing a verbal argument my sister and I had got into the night before.”
Ms Laws later put it to Whitney Henriquez that “you have been talking about a physical fight”.
Ms Henriquez denied that it was a physical fight and said her friends were “inferring, trying to make a storyline, albeit a bad one, interesting, nothing more”.
She added that they were “trying to make a very, very boring story more interesting”.
Ms Laws continued: “We then see her looking at your face… and we see her holding onto your chin as if you are injured, don’t we?”
Ms Henriquez said: “You don’t see any injuries there.”
The barrister added: “She’s holding onto your chin and remarking on the fact that you have got marks.”
Ms Henriquez replied: “I don’t think she refers to any marks on my face.”
Ms Laws then said: “And all you say is we are not talking about it.”
She added: “You don’t say ‘what are you talking about, we just had a row’.”
Ms Henriquez said: “I had no interest in bringing a personal fight with my sister… a personal matter… I had no interest in doing that.”
Ms Laws said: “That was a lie.”
Ms Henriquez replied: “I disagree with that statement.”
Earlier, during legal argument, Mr Sherborne told Mr Justice Nicol: “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.”
The barrister also said: “Ms Amber Heard says that she was never violent towards Mr Depp and the only time she assaulted him was that occasion when she was with Ms Whitney Heard… in self defence.”
Mr Sherborne continued: “Our case is she (Whitney) has lied in order to support her sister on this very important issue as to what happened on the stairs (in March 2015).”
The court has previously been told that Amber Heard punched Johnny Depp in self-defence because she thought the actor was going to push Ms Henriquez down the stairs at their LA penthouse.
On Thursday, Ms Henriquez alleged that during the “stairs incident” she saw Mr Depp punch Ms Heard “really hard in the head … multiple times”.
Mr Depp denies the allegation.
Sasha Wass QC, for News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, said the film was “an undated piece of film footage in circumstances which appear to be some sort of reality TV programme, which is flippant, certainly not serious.”
“Whitney suggests, according to the transcript, that there is an altercation.
“When she is asked about whether her sister beat her she says she is not going to talk about it.”
She added: “This is a light-hearted exchange, there is no evidence of any injuries and it will take the matter… no further.”
On Friday, the court is also hearing from Ms Heard’s acting coach Kristina Sexton who appears by video link from Australia and Ms Heard’s friends iO Tillett Wright and Raquel “Rocky” Pennington who will give evidence from the US.
Mr Depp, 57, is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an April 27 2018 article with the headline: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
His lawyers say the article bore the meaning there was “overwhelming evidence” Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard on a number of occasions and left her “in fear for her life”.
NGN is defending the article as true, and says Mr Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs”.
The case, the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century, is due to finish next week with closing submissions from both sides’ legal teams on Monday and Tuesday.
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