Amber Heard suffered from PTSD due to ‘intimate partner violence by Mr. Depp’, psychologist told court

Editor’s Note: This article contains descriptions of sexual violence, which some readers may find disturbing.

Amber Heard’s legal team called its first witness Tuesday afternoon in Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation lawsuit against the “Aquaman” actress.

Dr. Dawn Hughes spoke and told the court that in her view, “Heard’s report on domestic violence is consistent with what we know about domestic violence, characterized by physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual violence, coercive control and surveillance behaviors”. .”

Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist specializing in interpersonal violence and traumatic stress, was hired to conduct a psychological evaluation of Heard. Hughes told the Fairfax, Virginia courtroom that she reviewed medical records, psychological records, texts, emails, audio and video recordings from the case and met with Heard’s therapists. and the actress’ mother. Hughes said she also met with Heard for 29 hours over four visits in September 2019 and January 2021 for the assessment.

The psychologist said Heard reported a number of physically abusive behaviors from Depp. “He pushed her, he pushed her, he slapped her with the front and the back of his hand, he choked her, he threw her against the wall, he pushed her and she fell, he kicked her in the back,” Hughes said.

She also alleged that there had been a number of incidents of sexual abuse in the relationship.

“When Mr. Depp was drunk or high, he threw her on the bed, ripped off her nightgown and tried to have sex with her,” Hughes said. “There were times when he forced her to perform oral sex on him when he was angry.”

Hughes referenced an incident in which she said Depp accused another woman of hitting Heard, and in response “Depp performed a cavity search”. She said the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ actor was looking for drugs and “felt it was okay to rip off her nightgown and put your fingers in her vagina to look for cocaine.” She said the incidents often happened in a drug-fueled rage.

Hughes said another incident of sexual violence occurred in Australia. She alleged that Depp beat and choked Heard, telling her he hated her and was going to kill her, then “grabbed a bottle that was on the bar and penetrated her with that bottle”. Hughes said Heard told him she was out of her body and thought, “Oh my God, I hope it’s not the broken one. [bottle].”

Hughes said: ‘The second primary opinion was that Ms. Heard demonstrated very clear psychological and traumatic effects or exacerbation of trauma as a result of the statements Mr. Depp made through his attorney.’

“I diagnosed Ms. Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Hughes said. She said the cause was “Mr. Depp’s domestic abuse”. His diagnosis contradicts the opinion of Dr. Shannon Curry who was hired by Depp’s legal team to assess Heard. Curry testified that Heard did not have PTSD and that the actress “grossly exaggerated the symptoms of PTSD”.

Hughes said she disagreed with Curry’s assessment because “there were flaws in the way she chose to administer it,” she said. She also disputed Curry’s diagnosis that Heard had borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder. “I did not diagnose Ms. Heard with a personality disorder,” Hughes told the court.

Heard also reported several injuries to Hughes which she said were suffered from abuse, “mostly bruises, pain, cuts, vaginal pain from some of the sexual assault, she reported she had scratches and cuts on her from broken glass, she reported that she believed she may have passed out twice.

Hughes said Depp engaged in coercive control. “He didn’t want her to show nudity, he didn’t want her to show breasts, he didn’t want her to work with certain actors because of this excessive jealousy.” As a result, Hughes said Heard’s career suffered.

During Hughes’ testimony, Heard turned to the jury and appeared to hold back tears as Hughes detailed alleged cases of physical and sexual abuse.

Depp’s legal team closed his case earlier today after 13 days of testimony and more than a dozen witnesses, including bodyguards, Hollywood insiders, doctors and accountants.

Before resting, the Depp team called forensic accountant Mike Spindler to the stand, who said Depp lost tens of millions of dollars as a result of Heard’s 2018 Washington Post op-ed.

“I have concluded that Mr. Depp suffered a loss of revenue of approximately $40 million,” Spindler said.

The accountant was hired by Depp’s team to calculate the actor’s total lost earnings from the play, in which Heard describes herself as a public figure representing domestic violence, despite not did not name Depp.

Spindler said he reviewed “accounting records, exhibits, trial depositions and testimony, and various other documents and exhibits relating to the case.” He calculated Depp’s shortfall by analyzing the period from October 2018 to October 2020, after the op-ed was published.

In another development Tuesday, Judge Penney Azcarate rejected Heard’s bid to dismiss the lawsuit.

Heard’s attorney had argued that Depp had not met the charging threshold and that the case should be dismissed. Barrister Ben Rottenborn told the court: ‘Mr. Depp bears the burden of proving this by the preponderance of the evidence and satisfying the required intent and showing that Ms. Heard acted with actual malice. He has a higher standard of proof which he must prove with clear and convincing evidence that Ms. Heard acted with such malice.

“In this case, your honor, if Mr. Depp physically, verbally, emotionally or psychologically abused Ms. Heard even once, then she wins on those claims,” ​​Rottenborn said. He added that the evidence “is overwhelming and undisputed” that Depp has made.

The “Aquaman” actress is set to speak on Wednesday.

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