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The ACLU helped Amber Heard draft the Washington Submit article accusing Johnny Depp of abuse after the group was promised a $3.5m donation from her divorce – although at the very least $500,000 of it will definitely got here from a fund related to Tesla founder Elon Musk, jurors within the Depp-Heard defamation trial heard on Thursday.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s basic counsel, Terence Dougherty, testified that the group determined to suggest Heard as an envoy for the group after Heard pledged the sizeable donation over 10 years.

“Ms Heard spoke with such readability and experience on problems with gender-based violence that [ACLU representatives] determined she could be an acceptable individual to ask to grow to be an ACLU ambassador,” Dougherty testified.

However of the $1.3m slice of the donation that was meant to return from Heard, $100,000 got here immediately from her ex-husband Depp, and, primarily based on an electronic mail from Elon Musk, the court docket was advised, $500,000 got here from a donor-advised fund related to Musk but registered as a donation from Heard.

Simply $350,000 was contributed from accounts immediately managed by Heard, the court docket heard, and one other $350,000 got here from an nameless donor, whom the ACLU believed to even be Heard. By 2019, when donations attributed to Heard dried up, the ACLU consultant advised the court docket it was the group’s understanding that “she was having monetary difficulties”.

“We didn’t obtain any quantities in 2019 and on,” Dougherty added.

As a part of the connection the ACLU cast with Heard, the group later agreed to draft the 2018 Washington Submit article during which Heard stated she was “a public determine representing home abuse” that lies on the middle of Depp’s libel declare in opposition to his ex-wife.

“Primarily based on my overview of upper drafts of the op-ed, I knew that it was referring to Johnny Depp and her marriage,” Dougherty stated throughout the 2021 video deposition proven to the jury.

The ACLU’s communications staff sought to incorporate Heard’s “hearth and rage” on the topic, however inside ACLU emails, together with drafts and adjustments to the article, mirror the group’s issues that references to home abuse might violate the phrases of the non-disclosure settlement in her divorce.

Heard, the court docket was advised, had needed a reference to her non permanent restraining order in opposition to Depp talked about within the article, however the reference was eliminated by her legal professionals.

“I feel that Amber’s contributions to the portion of the op-ed that talks about private experiences is a part of what knowledgeable the view that this was a powerful op-ed, and the significance of girls’s rights points,” Dougherty stated.

The ACLU and Heard, Dougherty added, have been eager to have the article printed within the week the movie Aquaman was launched to capitalize on her function in it.

The court docket was advised that the ACLU’s communications division contacted the Washington Submit to pitch the article, saying: “As you recognize, Amber Heard was crushed up by Johnny Depp throughout their temporary marriage.”

The connection between the ACLU and Heard, and the group’s function in drafting the article on the middle of the case, comes amid experiences that neither Musk nor James Franco can be testifying within the trial. The 2 celebrities appeared on Heard’s publicly out there witness listing firstly of the trial, however Musk’s legal professional Alex Spiro has stated his shopper won’t testify.

The Fairfax county court docket in Virginia was advised that Heard had “hung out” with Musk whereas she sought to resurrect her relationship with Depp in 2016.

This was two months after she had made allegations of home violence in opposition to Depp, the Pirates of the Caribbean actor, and after the couple had separated, the court docket heard.

“You advised me a thousand occasions [that] you have been simply filling area,” Heard’s expertise agent Christian Carino texted Heard about Musk in 2017. “You weren’t in love with him.”

Jurors have been additionally advised of Heard’s divorce negotiations with Depp after 15 months of marriage. Heard had initially requested for $4m earlier than escalating her calls for, stated Depp’s accountant Edward White.

“It went to $5m, to $5.5m … then it went to $7m, and $500,000 to her attorneys,” White stated, earlier than including $13.5m for neighborhood liabilities underneath California divorce legislation. The funds, which Heard requested to return tax free, would have required Depp to make $30m, White stated.

White was additionally requested to explain Depp’s alcohol invoice, which he stated was $160,000 a 12 months throughout Depp’s marriage and had now “dropped to nearly zero”. Malcolm Connolly, Depp’s longtime safety element and the final witness on Thursday, testified that he noticed that “Amber needed to put on the pants on this relationship”.

Connolly testified that “she might get a bit frosty on the drop of a hat”.

Over time, Connolly testified over video, he started to note marks on Depp. “It might be scratches on his neck, perhaps a fats lip within the nook. He had bruising on the attention socket. It might get extra common. Not each week, however it undoubtedly occurred, yeah.”

On the couple’s honeymoon, a practice journey from Bangkok to Singapore, Connolly stated Depp had marks underneath his proper eye. “He’s walked right into a door, or a door’s walked into him,” he stated to laughter within the courtroom after jurors have been proven {a photograph}. Depp, he surmised, was not having fun with himself. “He was not glad. Not glad in any respect,” Connolly stated.

Connolly described eradicating Depp from the couple’s rented home in Australia in 2015 after the incident during which Depp’s finger was partially severed, allegedly after Heard threw a bottle of vodka at her husband.

“It was like a cartoon exploding cigar,” he stated. “It’s flapping round. I can see bone.”

Heard, he testified, berated Depp as Connolly led him away from the home to his personal house the place he administered first assist, saying, “Fuck off! That’s what you at all times do, fuck off with you guys, you massive man!” the court docket heard.

The safety guard stated he had seen Depp underneath the affect of medicine on a number of events. “I’ve seen him smoke marijuana,” Connolly stated. “I’ve my suspicions that when he was off to the lavatory he most likely does cocaine. I’ve by no means seen him do it.”

“He’s bought a really excessive tolerance of any substance,” he stated, including, “I feel Jack Sparrow was drunker than Johnny.” The trial continues.

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