Entertainment People Long-time Depp friend casts doubt on Heard allegations

Long-time Depp friend casts doubt on Heard allegations

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A long-time friend and next-door neighbour of Johnny Depp testified that Depp’s ex-wife, Amber Heard, had told him the movie star threw a phone at her and hit her inside the couple’s Los Angeles penthouse.

But Isaac Baruch said he never noticed any evidence of abuse on Heard’s face, both when he first saw her in the hallway or the next day in the sunlit lobby of their art deco-style building.

“She’s got her face out like this to show me, and I’m looking, and I inspect her face,” Mr Baruch said of the encounter in May 2016.

“And I don’t see anything. … I don’t see a cut, a bruise, swelling, redness.”

Mr Baruch is the second witness called in the trial over Depp’s allegations that Heard falsely portrayed him as a domestic abuser.

Depp says an opinion piece Heard wrote for The Washington Post in 2018 indirectly defamed him.

Heard refers to herself in the article as a “public figure representing domestic abuse”. It doesn’t name Depp.

But his lawyers argue that it clearly referenced a restraining order that Heard sought in May 2016, right after Depp told her he wanted a divorce.

Depp denies abusing Heard.

Mr Baruch, a painter, has been friends with Depp since 1980. He also worked at the Viper Room when the Pirates of the Caribbean actor partly owned the famed Los Angeles club.

Mr Baruch said Depp had financially supported him, providing him with places to live and giving him about $US100,000 ($A134,229) over the years.

Mr Baruch testified that he noticed no makeup on Heard’s face when she said Depp hit her.

But during cross-examination, Mr Baruch conceded he didn’t know if Heard – who worked with cosmetics giant L’Oreal – had applied any concealer, foundation, powder or tint.

At one point, Mr Baruch got emotional, stating that Heard needed to “take responsibility and move on”.

He said he never saw violence from Depp.

“His family has been completely wrecked by all of this stuff, and it’s not fair,” Mr Baruch said. “It’s not right, what she did. … It’s insane.”

Heard’s lawyers have said the evidence will show that Depp physically and sexually assaulted Heard on multiple occasions.

They also argue that Depp’s denials lack credibility because he frequently drank and used drugs to the point of blacking out and failing to remember anything he did.

The first witness called for the trial was Depp’s older sister, Christi Dembrowski. She faced a barrage of questions from Heard’s lawyers about Depp’s alcohol and drug use.

Ms Dembrowski struggled when asked why she sent texts to Depp in February 2014 that said, “Stop drinking. Stop coke. Stop pills”.

Both Depp and Heard are expected to testify at the trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court, scheduled for six weeks. Actors Paul Bettany and James Franco and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk will also give evidence.