Johnny Depp’s libel trial against News Group Newspapers, publisher of U.K. tabloid The Sun, nears the end of its second week in London’s High Court. Depp sued the tabloid for labeling him a “wife beater,” following 14 allegations of abuse from ex-wife Amber Heard. On Wednesday, Heard’s ex-personal assistant Kate James testified and alleged that her former boss stole her sexual assault story.
According to The Guardian, James submitted a written statement in which she said she was raped at machete-point in Brazil over two decades ago. Once she heard Heard’s submissions to the trial, she claimed she “discovered that Ms. Heard had in fact stolen my sexual violence conversation with her and twisted it into her own story to benefit herself... This of course caused me extreme distress and outrage that she would dare to attempt to use the most harrowing experience of my life as her own narrative.”
James testified to the court via video that Heard “referred directly to a violent rape that occurred to me 26 years ago and she twisted it into her own story and she used it for her own use... I am a sexual violence survivor and that’s very, very serious to take that stance if you are not one.” When News Group Newspapers lawyer Sasha Wass inquired if she colluded with Depp to lie about Heard, James responded, “That’s simply not true.”
On Thursday, Johnny Depp’s current bodyguard Sean Bett testified that it was Amber Heard who was abusive—not Depp—the same stance Depp’s other employees have taken in court this week, The Guardian reports. “I was with Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard very regularly throughout this period and I never saw any cuts, bruises or other injuries on Ms. Heard. I also never saw Mr. Depp commit any act of physical violence to another person,” he said in a statement. “I was also told by Mr. Depp on multiple occasions that Ms. Heard had physically abused him. A very common occurrence throughout the relationship would be that Mr. Depp would have me, and other members of his security team, take him away from Ms. Heard, due to her behavior. He would then stay somewhere else.”
Bett’s statement continued: “Ms. Heard often behaved in this way when she had been drinking. I learnt quickly to recognize the signs, so that we were able to leave the situation before it escalated further... In addition, I have observed Ms. Heard throwing bottles, glasses and other objects at Mr. Depp while being verbally abusive towards him. As a rule, during these episodes Mr. Depp remains fairly passive and either tries to calm Ms. Heard down or remove himself from the situation.”
Heard is expected to provide evidence in the case soon. Jezebel will continue to follow the trial.
Correction: An earlier version of this headline misidentified Amber Heard’s ex-assistant as Johnny Depp’s ex-assistant. Jezebel regrets the error.