Johnny Depp appeal: Amber Heard’s claim of donating $10.6m settlement ‘a calculated lie’

Amber Heard has donated just $768,000 of her $10.6 million divorce settlement to charity, a court has heard.

Johnny Depp, Heard’s ex-husband, on Thursday launched his appeal against last year’s High Court judgment that he assaulted his ex-wife and that a 2018 article in The Sun calling Depp a “wife beater” was “substantially true”.

The Hollywood star is seeking a retrial of his libel claim against the newspaper, saying “fresh evidence” has emerged allegedly showing that Heard told a “calculated and manipulative lie” when she claimed she donated her $10.6m divorce settlement to charity.

After the couple’s 2016 divorce, Heard said she would split the seven-figure settlement between the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), an organisation which helps victims of domestic abuse.

But lawyers for Depp told the Court of Appeal they have evidence to suggest that the ACLU and LA children’s hospital have received only $625,000 and $139,000 respectively.

“This fresh evidence goes to the heart of the matter,” they argued in written documents. “It demonstrates that Ms Heard was a dishonest witness.”

Andrew Caldecott QC, for Depp, asked the court to permit a retrial of “this exceptional case”, adding: “Ms Heard’s evidence was accepted too glibly, without proper examination.”

The court heard that a further $690,000 donation was made to ACLU anonymously, but it is unclear whether this came from Heard personally.

Adam Wolanski QC, representing the Sun’s publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN), said in written submissions that “the evidence is not ‘fresh’ at all” and only shows that Heard “has not yet finished making her pledged payments to the charities”.

“The evidence would have had no impact on Ms Heard’s credibility had it been before the trial judge, since it does not demonstrate that Ms Heard or any of the respondents’ witnesses lied,” he added.

The Court of Appeal hearing was live-streamed on YouTube and watched by more than 3000 people.

Lord Justice Underhill and Lord Justice Dingemans have reserved judgment to a later date.

Where to get help:

• If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

• If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone call the confidential crisis helpline Safe to Talk on: 0800 044 334 or text 4334.

• Alternatively contact your local police station.

• If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.

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