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Johnny Depp defamation trial attendees auction off trial memorabilia for Children’s Hospital LA

Children's Hospital LA is the very same charitable organization to which Amber Heard failed to fulfill a previously pledged donation.

Amber Heard & Johnny Depp Getty Images Remix By Keane Eacobellis

A lawyer and a journalist who both attended the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard defamation trial in Fairfax, Virginia are teaming up in order to auction off memorabilia from the trial for charity.

And it’s not just for any charity, but Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), the organization Heard had pledged to donate to, but had apparently not fulfilled her donation to completion. The auction now stands to raise a figure in the 10s of millions, more than quadruple the amount Heard originally pledged.

Both the Kentucky lawyer, Larry Forman, and the news producer who covered the case, Vanessa Blair, made announcements that they would be auctioning off wristbands and a notebook on eBay, Law and Crime Network reported.

The trial centered around dueling defamation claims, with Depp and Heard each accusing the other of defaming them. They also exchanged allegations that they were abused by the other person while they were in a relationship. The result of the trial ultimately favored Depp more heavily, with him having been awarded all three of his defamation claims against Heard that she falsely accused him of domestic abuse. In a stunning mixed verdict, Heard was also awarded just one of her three defamation claims against Depp, with the jury finding that Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman, defamed her by falsely stating to the press that she staged a hoax. After all the red tape cleared, Depp’s net monetary award was $10.4 million while Heard was awarded $2 million.

In regard to the abuse claims, there was seemingly never a point-blank piece of evidence shown to the jury that cast either party in an unambiguously guilty light, such as a video showing Heard directly physically assaulting Depp, or vice-versa. Instead, much of the case hinged on one person’s word against the other’s. Plus, it was a civil trial about defamation, not a criminal one about assault charges, so neither party ever faced the prospect of going to jail as an outcome. Arguably, the decision was reached based on how credible the jury found each person’s overall narrative to be.

Something that no doubt hurt Heard’s case, on the credibility front, was that representatives from both CHLA and the American Civil Liberties Union testified they did not receive the entirety of the charity donations pledged to them by Heard — totaling $7 million from Depp’s divorce settlement — despite Heard apparently previously indicating she had completed the donations, in the press.

Heard’s reasons for not completing the donations were that she was receiving Depp’s settlement money in installments, that she had to make the donations in installments due to tax purposes, and that she was saddled with legal debts due to being sued by Depp. However, Depp’s legal team indicated he had allegedly sent Heard the entire $7 million more than a year before the litigation began.

Forman, the lawyer now making a charity pledge to CHLA, said in a statement he’s “very excited” to be part of the “great cause” of helping sick kids.

“I am very excited to be a part of such a great cause in helping sick children and I’m looking forward to seeing how much our efforts can raise for the organization.”

Forman, who goes by @KYDUIGuy on Twitter, also clarified aspects of the notebook that is currently up for auction. All of the proceeds from the notebook would be going to charity, with 90 percent of its content already being available on Twitter, he wrote. The notebook would also be shipped after the appeal deadline expires, apparently referencing the fact that Heard has previously indicated she intends to appeal the verdict.

According to its eBay listing, Forman’s notebook contains notes on jurors’ reactions to Heard during the trial. That is one point of fact that Forman claimed would not change the course of the trial at this point. The current bid for the notebook is for more than $14.5 million, more than quadruple Heard’s original pledge of $3.5 million to the hospital, as of press time.

As for Blair, the news producer who covered the trial, she released a statement committing her support of CHLA when “others have failed to keep their promises.”

“While others have failed to keep their promises, we are here for you. We stand by you and we support you. It is our deepest hope that our proceeds from the memorabilia auction from the Depp v. Heard trial will bring assistance and sustenance to all in need. We stand with CHLA.”

A spokesperson for CHLA also released a statement to Law and Crime network in response to the fundraiser set up by Forman and Blair, saying in part that CHLA’s ability to be a leader in pediatric medicine and research is in large part “thanks to its compassionate and generous donors.”

“Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is a leader in pediatric medicine, research and education, in large part, thanks to its compassionate and generous donors. Philanthropists of all financial means help ensure the hospital can achieve its mission to create hope and build healthier futures.”

Of the $3.5 million originally pledged by Heard to CHLA, only a fraction of that was fulfilled. CHLA representative Candie Goldbronn testified $250,000 came from Heard directly, and another $100,000 that was donated by Depp, on Heard’s behalf, to be credited toward the initial $3.5 million pledge.

While Goldbronn testified she ended up contacting Heard’s publicist and Depp’s business manager to inquire about further installments, in June 2019, she never received a response from Heard’s publicist.

In all fairness, Goldbronn also testified CHLA and Heard had not worked out an official payment schedule for the donations, nor would CHLA turn away any future installments of the donations Heard might submit later. Despite Heard’s net worth reportedly plunging into the negative digits after the fallout of the trial, Heard’s team has indicated she intends to fulfill her charity pledges.

Even though Depp came out decisively ahead in the trial, overall, unsavory revelations about the actor that surfaced during the proceedings don’t exactly paint him as a saint, either. For instance, though Depp admitted to having a long history of struggling with drugs, he was caught on the stand during cross-examination seemingly downplaying his drug and alcohol use at one point, in arguably much the same manner Heard was faced with no other choice but to own up to falling short of charity pledges.

No matter who you choose to believe more in the trial, there’s little doubt a lot of ugliness has surfaced from it. And the overall picture is one of a relationship that went, sadly, and now in full public view, on the rocks.

Danny Peterson
About the author

Danny Peterson

Danny Peterson covers entertainment news for WGTC and has previously enjoyed writing about housing, homelessness, the coronavirus pandemic, historic 2020 Oregon wildfires, and racial justice protests. Originally from Juneau, Alaska, Danny received his Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Alaska Southeast and a Master's in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon. He has written for The Portland Observer, worked as a digital enterprise reporter at KOIN 6 News, and is the co-producer of the award-winning documentary 'Escape from Eagle Creek.'