On Wednesday, jurors in Johnny Depp's libel case against his ex-wife Amber Heard listened to police officers who responded to the couple’s penthouse immediately after a major fight on May 21, 2016, but none of the officers saw the red mark that was so prominent six days later.
Officer Tyler Hadden, one of the officers who responded to the couple’s penthouse apartment following the altercation, said Heard refused to talk to officers and had no signs of an injury, although he acknowledged she’d been crying and was red-faced.
“Just because I see a female with pink cheeks and pink eyes doesn’t mean something happened,” he said in a recorded deposition played for jurors on Wednesday.
Depp had already left the penthouse by the time officers arrived. Officers said they had no idea who Heard was, or that she was married to Depp. He said neither Heard nor anyone at the penthouse complex was willing to tell him or the other officers who Heard’s husband was.
An officer who made a follow-up visit that night, William Gatlin, said on Wednesday that he had seen no injuries either, though he acknowledged that his visit was brief and he came no closer than three metres from Heard.
He said his check was a perfunctory one because it appeared that the call was a duplicate to the one that Mr Hadden had already responded to.
Heard’s lawyers, in their questions, have suggested that Heard could have covered her injuries with make-up, because at that point she still wanted to protect Depp. They also asked officers why they didn’t investigate a potential case of domestic violence more thoroughly.
The officers’ testimony is some of Depp’s best evidence that Heard contrived the allegations against her ex-husband. It complements earlier evidence from witnesses who say they saw Heard and her sister practising fake punches in the days after the attack.
It’s far from definitive, though. Heard’s lawyers have yet to put on their case and some of her friends say they were at the penthouse when Depp reportedly attacked her.
And even if jurors were to conclude that Depp never assaulted his wife on May 21, they have heard evidence of other alleged assaults before and during the couple’s brief marriage.
Depp is suing Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse".
Jurors also heard recorded evidence on Wednesday from Christian Carino, an agent who represented both Depp and Heard. He said he believes the abuse allegations scuttled Depp’s participation in a sixth Pirates of the Caribbean film, but he did not pin the loss of that film specifically on Heard’s 2018 op-ed.
Heard’s lawyers told jurors in opening statements that there must be proof that the Post article specifically damaged Depp’s reputation for him to prevail in a libel case.
Mr Carino also said that Heard twice tried to reconcile with Depp, even after she filed for divorce — once in 2016 and again in 2017. At one point in 2016, he brokered a meeting between Heard and a reluctant Depp that ended in a fight.