The question of whether British supermodel Kate Moss will testify at the trial of dueling defamation lawsuits between ex-spouses and celebrities, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, is something that has been on a lot of people’s minds as the trial is poised to resume next week after a break.
Depp is suing Heard for $50 million for defamation, for allegedly false domestic abuse accusations she made against him that he said hurt his career. Heard is counter-suing Depp, also for defamation, for $100 million.
Earlier this week, it was reported some of the witnesses Heard’s team is planning to bring to the stand include actor Ellen Barkin, Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez, and even Depp himself (again), amid the trial that has been publicly broadcast from a courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia since mid-April, Law & Crime Network reports.
However, Depp might have the opportunity to present a rebuttal witness, too.
Last week, Heard name-dropped Moss during her testimony, apparently referencing a rumor that Depp pushed Moss down some stairs.
Heard said the only time she landed a blow was when she “swung at” Depp during a fight because Depp was about to punch her sister, Henriquez, who Heard said was standing at the top of some stairs.
“I don’t hesitate. I don’t wait. I instantly think of Kate Moss and the stairs, and I swung at him,” Heard said.
While the reference may have been a maneuver to seemingly add credibility to her domestic violence claims against Depp, it may have been a poorly-calculated one in the grander scheme of the trial, some analysts say.
As Insider reports, Heard’s referencing of Moss opens up the possibility for Depp’s team to discuss past relationships, which could have a couple of negative repercussions for Heard’s case.
Many people have pointed to an instance when Depp’s lawyer, Ben Chew, appeared to react in a celebratory manner by pumping his fist when Heard mentioned Moss.
According to the Insider article, Depp pushing Moss down the stairs when they were dating in the 1990s is a rumor that has yet to be verified. She’s also spoken fondly about him in interviews and never publicly accused him of wrongdoing.
Though Moss isn’t on any witness list, according to the report, Depp does have the ability to call “any witnesses identified” by Heard and “any witness necessary for rebuttal or impeachment,” according to court records.
Whether Moss would agree to be called in as a rebuttal witness is still up in the air at this point. However, Fox News reported that Depp and Moss have maintained a close friendship over the years, according to an unnamed source close to the Pirates of the Caribbean actor. The thinking is that if Moss does testify, it would presumably be to dispel rumors that Depp harmed her.
Analysts have also speculated Heard’s mentioning of Moss could open up the possibility of Depp’s team grilling Heard, under cross-examination, about a past domestic violence charge she faced with her then-girlfriend.
In 2009, Heard was arrested at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for allegedly hitting Tasya van Ree, whom she was in a relationship with at the time. The charges were later dropped and van Ree released a statement in 2016 saying Heard was “wrongfully accused” of the incident.
While Heard maintains she was abused by Depp, Depp claims just the opposite: he was abused by her and not the other way around.
Depp’s lawsuit against Heard centers around an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post in 2018, in which she describes herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Though Depp isn’t named in the article, Heard made prior allegations of abuse against Depp in 2016, which he claims is referenced in the piece.
The trial is expected to resume Monday, where Heard will continue her testimony under direct examination.