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Amber Heard’s Legal Team Changes Course Last-Minute, No Longer Plans to Call Johnny Depp Back

Amber Heard‘s legal team no longer plans to call on Johnny Depp to testify again in the ongoing defamation trial between the two exes.

On May 12, PEOPLE confirmed that Depp, 58, would once again go under oath and be questioned by Heard’s legal team. As of Saturday, it was still planned that Depp would be called to testify on Monday.

However, a source close to Heard revealed to PEOPLE Monday that Heard’s team no longer plans to bring back Depp for their defense.

“Calling Depp back to the stand would be as relevant to us as a bicycle to a fish,” says the source. “Everything Depp has testified up to this point has been irrelevant to the heart of this case, and there’s no reason to believe it would be any different now.”

Heard, 36, is countersuing Depp for defamation, seeking $100 million in damages and arguing that he spearheaded a campaign to discredit her and her abuse allegations as a “hoax,” tarnishing her reputation and career.

Depp is suing Heard for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote about coming forward with domestic violence allegations, though she didn’t mention him by name in the article. He originally filed the $50 million lawsuit back in 2019, and the case began last month after being delayed to the pandemic. This is the final week of testimony before closing arguments are expected to take place later this week.

The change in legal tactic plans comes hours after a source close to Depp confirmed to PEOPLE that his ex-girlfriend, supermodel Kate Moss would speak to the court in Fairfax, Virginia, via video link this Wednesday. Moss, 48, was referenced by Heard earlier this month during her time on the stand, when discussing an alleged altercation between Depp and Heard’s sister, Whitney Henriquez.

Depp previously testified that his “goal is the truth” as he seeks to clear his name in the trial, adding that because of Heard’s allegations, he lost “nothing short of everything.” Depp has said under oath that he has never struck Heard or any woman in his life.

Last week, before Heard’s cross-examination began, a spokesperson for the actress said in a statement, “There’s an old saying by trial lawyers: When the facts are on your side, argue the facts; when the facts are not on your side, pound away on the podium. Today, we expect Depp’s attorneys will instead pound away on the victim.”

“We fear it will be equal parts shameful and desperate,” the statement continued. “And, the overwhelming evidence — the truth — is not on Depp’s side. The one thing we suspect Depp’s attorneys will avoid is the central issue of this trial: Does Amber or any woman have the First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech.”

During Heard’s cross-examination, Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez at one point asked Heard — who testified that she “survived” Depp’s alleged abuse and worried he’d eventually kill her — whether she was, in fact, Depp’s abuser in their former relationship.

“Mr. Depp is your victim, isn’t he?” asked Vasquez, to which Heard responded, “No, ma’am.” Vasquez then questioned, “And once he left you, you continued to abuse him publicly by calling him an abuser, didn’t you?” Said Heard, “He is an abuser. And you can look up either of us online and figure out who’s being abused online.”

Johnny Depp arrives at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax
Credit: JIM LO SCALZO / POOL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Prior to that, a spokesperson for Depp issued a statement after Heard’s second day testifying, casting doubt on her credibility and vowing to “highlight the many fallacies” during cross-examination.

“As Mr. Depp’s counsel correctly predicted in their opening statements last month, Ms. Heard did indeed deliver ‘the performance of her life’ in her direct examination,” the statement read at the time. “While Ms. Heard’s stories have continued to grow new and convenient details, Mr. Depp’s recollections have remained exactly the same throughout the six painful years since her first allegations were made. His truth — the truth — is the same no matter the environment in which it is has been presented. The upcoming cross examination from Mr. Depp’s team will be most telling, and will certainly highlight the many fallacies Ms. Heard has now attempted to pass off as fact throughout her convoluted testimony.”

In response to that, Heard’s spokesperson criticized Depp’s “panicked” legal team and their approach so far.

Amber Heard testifies in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse
Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AP/Shutterstock

“As evidenced by the statement just released, Mr. Depp’s defamation claim is falling apart so rapidly that his counsel are turning from prosecutor to persecutor,” read the statement. “They boast that Mr. Depp’s story has not changed. If so, since he lost the domestic violence restraining order and he resoundingly lost the libel case in the U.K., perhaps he should consider a new strategy rather than the recycled approach of attacking the victim, and refusing to take responsibility for his own conduct.”

“If Mr. Depp was truly innocent, why has he repeatedly apologized to Ms. Heard and promised to put the ‘monster away for good’? One of Ms. Heard’s disappointments is Mr. Depp’s inability to distinguish fact from fiction — a malady which appears to have spread to his legal team,” the statement continued. “That same team is so panicked they are fighting tooth and nail to prevent compelling evidence and photos from being introduced. Small wonder Mr. Depp does not have the fortitude or courage to even look at Ms. Heard at all throughout the proceedings — as he could not in the U.K. trial — and instead he doodles and snickers.”

Back in November 2020, Depp lost his highly publicized U.K. libel lawsuit case against British tabloid The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.” The court upheld the outlet’s claims as being “substantially true” and Heard testified to back up the claims. In March 2021, his attempt to overturn the decision was overruled.

Source: PEOPLE

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