Psychologist testifies that actor Johnny Depp assaulted his ex-wife Amber Heard

Actress Amber Heard suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder following the abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband Johnny Depp, including multiple acts of sexual assault, a psychologist testified on Tuesday .

The sexual assaults included being forced to perform oral sex and having Depp penetrate her with a bottle of alcohol, psychologist Dawn Hughes told jurors in Depp’s libel suit against Heard. Depp accuses Heard of falsely claiming in a newspaper editorial that she was the victim of domestic violence.

Hughes’ testimony contradicts that of a psychologist hired by Depp’s lawyers, who said Heard was faking his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered from borderline and histrionic personality disorders. Hughes disputed that Heard suffers from a personality disorder.

Hughes was the first witness to speak on Heard’s behalf after Depp’s attorneys closed their case on Tuesday morning.

Hughes said there was corroboration of numerous instances of abuse, including an apology and confession Depp made to Heard and confessions he made to friends in text messages about his bad drinking behavior . In some cases, Heard talked to her therapists about the abuse at the same time, Hughes said.

Depp said he never physically attacked Heard and that she was the abuser who regularly hit him and threw things at him during their relationship.

Hughes, in her testimony, said Heard acknowledged she sometimes pushed and shoved Depp, called names to him, and insulted his parents.

But Hughes said there was a difference in violence when a smaller person hits a taller person, and Depp’s violence was intimidating and threatened his safety, but Heard’s violence did not have the same effect on Depp.

“It’s just physics; it’s just proportional strength,” she said.

Much of the violence, Hughes said, stemmed from Depp’s obsessive jealousy. He insisted that she avoid nude scenes, if she worked at all, and accused her of having affairs with actors Billy Bob Thornton and James Franco. If she was working on a movie, Depp would call the director and others on set and tell her he “had eyes” there that would let her know if she was fraternizing inappropriately, Hughes said.

And Heard, who identifies as bisexual according to treatment notes presented at trial, has also faced scrutiny in her interactions with women. Hughes said Depp once manually penetrated Heard in anger after witnessing Heard’s interactions with a woman.

“Amber was accused of being hit by women, and she was accused of being hit by men,” Hughes said.

Heard fought back tears, and her lips and chin quivered at times as Hughes described the abuse.

Hughes said she based her testimony on 29 hours of interviews with Heard, as well as interviews with her therapists and a review of court documents.

Earlier Tuesday, Depp’s attorneys closed their case and a judge denied a motion by Heard’s attorneys to dismiss the case. Heard’s attorneys argued that Depp had failed to make his point in law and that no reasonable jury could decide in his favor.

But the judge, Penney Azcarate, said the standard for dismissing a case at this stage of the trial is extremely high and the case should be allowed to move forward if Depp provided even a ‘flicker’ of evidence. in support of his assertions.

Depp and his lead attorney, Benjamin Chew, patted each other on the back after the judge ruled the case could proceed.

Chew argued that the jury had a wealth of evidence to conclude that Heard had falsely accused Depp of abuse. In fact, he said, the evidence shows that “Mrs. Heard physically assaulted him. She was the assailant.”

Heard’s attorney, J. Benjamin Rottenborn, said the evidence was clear over the past three weeks of testimony that Heard’s abuse allegations are true.

“We haven’t been able to put our case in place yet,” he said. “This is all the evidence that came in while the plaintiff controls the playing field.”

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million in Fairfax County Circuit Court after Heard wrote a December 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post describing himself as “a public figure representing domestic violence.” The article never mentions Depp by name, but Depp’s lawyers say it was defamed nonetheless because it is a clear reference to the abuse allegations heard in 2016, amid proceedings of the couple’s divorce.

The judge said on Tuesday she reserved judgment on whether the title of the article in the online editions should be part of the libel suit, as she said the evidence is unclear at this stage whether Heard wrote the title or is responsible for it. The online headline reads: “I spoke out against sexual violence – and faced the wrath of our culture. This must change.”

Hughes will be cross-examined on Wednesday and Heard is also expected to testify on Wednesday.

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