Previously unseen reality TV footage of Amber Heard’s sister after she was allegedly attacked by the actress has been shown to the High Court after being sent in anonymously.
The clip was dramatically played on Friday afternoon, with Depp‘s barrister David Sherborne telling the court it was sent by a “confidential source” on Thursday night – after Whitney Henriquez gave evidence to say her sister had never been violent towards her.
Ms Henriquez told the court the footage was for a “really bad reality TV show” and said they were discussing a verbal argument, not a physical one.
In the short video, which Mr Sherborne said was recorded in 2006 or 2007, Ms Henriquez is with some other women by a pool. She says she “got into an altercation” but does not want to discuss it further.
A woman, who at one point appears to be examining Ms Henriquez’s face, says: “I can’t believe Amber beat your ass. I know you could beat her ass,” and then later on: “Whitney truth or dare? Did you really start the fight with your sister? Or did she start it? For real, for real, for real.”
When Ms Henriquez then says: “We’re not going to talk about that”, the woman replies: “She really did whoop your butt.”
Sasha Wass, NGN’s lawyer, said the video was “light-hearted” and said it showed “no evidence of any injuries”.
Depp’s team say the new video “demonstrates Ms Whitney (Henriquez) was lying yesterday”.
On Thursday, she denied that Heard had ever hit her, or that she was “frightened” of her sister.
Ms Henriquez also gave evidence saying she saw Depp punch Heard “really hard in the head… multiple times” in Los Angeles in March 2015, in the so-called “stairs incident”.
She admitted that her sister also punched the actor on that occasion, but said she only did so “in my defence” because she believed he was going to push her down the stairs.
Speaking about the new video, Mr Sherborne told the court: “After [Ms Henriquez] gave evidence yesterday, one of our team was contacted by an individual, on the basis of being kept confidential.”
He added: “We were contacted to explain that Ms Amber Heard had a history of violence and attacking people and this video, which was attached, of her sister Whitney was taken shortly after Amber Heard had attacked her and Ms Whitney [Henriquez] was filmed with people commenting on the bruises on her face and body.”
Mr Sherborne reminded the judge in the case, Mr Justice Nicol, of Ms Henriquez’s evidence from the previous day, and that she had said the “stairs incident” was a “one-off”.
Ms Henriquez’s evidence about the incident in March 2015 is “the only occasion on which any other human being is supposed to have witnessed” Depp being violent towards Heard, the barrister continued.
“The reliability of Ms Whitney [Henriquez] is critical,” Mr Sherborne said.
Questioned about the new footage, Ms Henriquez denied there was a “physical fight”. She said the show’s producers were trying to make a storyline better.
“They were trying to make a narrative that wasn’t there,” she said. “Trying to make a really, really boring conversation more interesting.”
Ms Henriquez told the court she did not want to discuss a dispute with her sister on TV.
“I wanted to shut the conversation down,” she said. “I had no interest in talking about that on camera.”
Eleanor Laws, Depp’s lawyer, also questioned Ms Henriquez on what she said was a visible mark on her chest in the footage, which Heard’s sister said was not true, arguing that the lawyer was “looking for injuries that are not there”.
Depp is suing NGN, the publishers of The Sun newspaper, over the publication of an article in April 2018 which ran with the headline: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”
NGN is defending the article as true and is relying on 14 allegations of violence made by Heard, their witness, in its defence.
The case, the biggest English libel trial of the 21st century, is due to finish next week with closing submissions from both sides’ legal teams on Monday and Tuesday, and a ruling expected at a later date.