When the news initially broke that Amber Heard was accusing Johnny Depp of domestic abuse amid their divorce drama, the estranged couple became the focal point of a publicity whirlwind. But even though the media attention has gone from boiling to simmering, the background preparation for the court battle is heating up.
The next phase of their ongoing war will involve a deposition, with the focus on whether Depp abused Heard as she claimed in her temporary restraining order, reported People. It takes place following weeks of postponing and rescheduling drama and will involve Johnny’s lawyers deposing Amber.
The drama began when Heard filed for divorce from Depp in late May. The 30-year-old actress alleged in her court papers that she had been abused by the actor, 53, during their relationship, and the restraining order case against Johnny commenced.
In their response to Amber’s allegations of domestic violence, Johnny’s legal team contended that she was doing so only for financial gains.
“[Heard] is attempting to secure a premature financial resolution by alleging abuse.”
L.A. certified family law specialist Steve Mindel talked with People to explore what Heard could anticipate during the deposition, which takes place on August 6. The deposition is only one phase of the ongoing drama because Johnny has a restraining order hearing facing him in the near future.
What Amber reveals at the deposition could play a key role in the outcome of her divorce from Depp, noted Mindel.
“She can expect that Depp’s team is going to try to elicit every minute detail about the entire day or days during which the domestic violence allegedly occurred,” predicted the family law expert. “Depp’s lawyers will later use that information to find contradictions in her story that they can then use to establish doubt about her credibility at the time of trial.”
Moreover, Mindel emphasized that the deposition is not a game, where Amber could win or lose her case. Instead, the future outcome of the divorce and restraining order involves her credibility.
“The key to deposition is not whether you win or lose, it’s about boxing the person in to a story. The case will be won or lost on the stand in trial, when you can expose those inconsistencies,” he explained.
“…if you can string enough [inconsistencies] together, then the person could lose credibility in the eyes of the judge.”
But it is not only Amber who will have to endure the deposition and be questioned. The family law specialist clarified that when her lawyers depose Depp in turn, he will have to go through a similar process.
One possible outcome involves mediation. If that occurs, then it is possible that a mediator could advise Heard to settle.
“If Depp’s team discovers numerous contradictions during the deposition, it’s possible they could ask Heard’s team to enter mediation,” said Mindel. “During mediation, Depp’s team can present the inconsistencies to a mediator, and if the mediator agrees Heard’s testimony contains many contradictions, the mediator could recommend she settle.”
Both Johnny and Amber have their futures at stake as the legal process plays out. Heard’s reputation is at risk, added the legal specialist.
“Her reputation is certainly at stake because she has repeatedly stated this isn’t about money and is instead about exposing domestic abuse,” he pointed out.
“[Amber] doesn’t want to be found not credible because this is a huge story, and there’s a lot of risk taking on a high-profile person like Depp.”
In order to be granted a permanent restraining order, Heard must demonstrate that Johnny is guilty of domestic violence against her, according to Mindel. In addition, Amber needs to prove that she is threatened with “reasonable apprehension of harm from Depp.”
But Johnny’s lawyers will also have a chance to argue against the restraining order. Their case will involve unveiling contradictions in Heard’s account of what happened, clarified the family law specialist. In addition, he predicts that the actor’s legal team will point out that because Johnny did not contact Heard during the ongoing legal battle, it is not likely that he will do so later.
Adding to the drama, Amber claims that Johnny has stalled their divorce. Depp reportedly demanded that his estranged wife sign non-disclosure agreements before he would unveil financial details, according to Us Weekly.
Heard filed new court documents late last month in which she argued that the demands from Johnny’s team are thinly veiled “threats” to delay the process.
“[The]…demand for the execution of these two non-disclosure agreements which impose undue financial hardships and burdens on [Heard] are nothing but blatant threats by [Depp].”
The documents argued that the non-disclosure agreements were part of intentional attempts to stonewall.
“[Depp] has been stonewalling the progress of this case, by refusing to provide the most basic financial documents,” claim Amber’s court papers.
[Photo by Richard Vogel/AP Images]