Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard defamation trial: Dr. Dawn Hughes describes Amber Heard's violence as "reactive violence"
by Ana Walia | Thu, 05 May 2022 16:57:00 GMT
Dr. Dawn Hudges. Image Source: MARCA 

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial continues at the Fairfax County Court, Virginia. Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for an essay she wrote for The Washington Post in 2018 as he said that the publication of the op-ed had resulted in him losing out on a couple of movies along with damaging his reputation. Johnny Depp also said that he is the victim of physical and emotional abuse.

Wednesday’s hearing started with Dr. Dawn Hughes, who is testifying from Amber Heard’s side, indicating that the actress had lost a lot of weight, was on more meds, and was having more panic attacks and outbursts of wrath. She claims that when someone is dealing with substance misuse, there is a lot of lying and blaming to cover up the inability to stay clean and sober. (She was referring to Johnny Depp’s substance abuse).

Dr. Hughes said that it was when Johnny Depp was intoxicated that Amber Heard felt more in danger and added that Amber Heard was verbally abusive and did hit Johnny Depp, but it never reached his level because she was never able to shift the power and control balance. She added that reading reports of her trauma being described as a "hoax" would have made her PTSD more severe and resulted in nightmares and sleeplessness.

Dr. Dawn Hughes, who seemed to have formed a strong opinion about Johnny Depp based on what Amber Heard had shared with her, said that women are afraid of coming out with domestic violence and abusive relationships because they are afraid that no one is going to believe them and that calling trauma a "hoax" leads to more severe trauma.

Later, Dr. Dawn Hughes was cross-examined by Johnny Depp’s lawyer, Wayne Dennison, who pointed out the use of the pronoun "she" in her testimony, to which she replied that, according to her determination, it was Amber Heard who was the victim of intimate partner violence. Wayne asked Dr. Hughes if she had even spoken to Johnny Depp, to which she replied that she had not, and then Wayne counter questioned her that how could she assess a relationship without talking to both parties, to which Dr. Dawn Hughes responded that one party may provide a lot of information and said that she studied Johnny Depp's transcripts, medical records, and text messages, and that when a partnership is supported by therapy records and couple's therapy, one can learn a lot about the other partner. (Does it sound like she formed an opinion about Johnny Depp on the basis of what she read and heard rather than actually talking to him?) 

During her cross-examination, Dr. Dawn mentioned that she did not interview the former couple’s therapist, who had spent a lot of time with both of them, and during her testimony, she mentioned that Johnny Depp was in control for 20 to 30 years, but there was something about Amber Heard that triggered him. Dr. Laurel Anderson did not rule out Amber Heard as the victim of an intimate, so Wayne Dennison asked Dr. Dawn if the stuff she disagrees with she disregards and the rest she keeps. Dr. Dawn replied that this is not correct. She also mentioned that she does not agree with Dr. Laurel Anderson's report that the former couple engaged in mutual abuse. Later, the court was shown a picture of a knife that Amber Heard gifted to Johnny Depp that had 'Hasta la muerte', or 'until death', inscribed and Dr. Dawn shared that the gift had a context after she was asked why would a woman who is afraid of her life give such a gift to her partner with an inscription that said until death?

Wayne Dennison asked Dr. Dawn Hughes if she had helped Amber Heard to characterize the encounters as non-consensual, but she disputed it, saying her duty was to assess Amber Heard. She was being paid $500 per hour and testified that Amber Heard reported everything she explained to her after Johnny Depp sued her in 2019. After Dennison played an audio clip in the court where Amber is heard saying to Johnny Depp, "I am sorry I hit you like this, but I did not punch you," to which Dr. Dawn Hughes said that Amber Heard had admitted to hitting on the actor several instances and several times and it would be "reactive violence."

Dr. Dawn Hughes clarified that when a smaller person strikes someone who is proportionally larger, the violence is different and that Johnny Depp's aggression was intimidating and threatened Amber Heard's safety, whereas Amber Heard's violence had no such effect.

The courtroom was shown some of the notes that Dr. Dawn Hughes had written where she mentioned "JF-friends-got close, but really wanted to be with Johnny", which meant that Amber Heard had grown close to James Franco, with whom she was filming, but she wanted to stay with Johnny Depp. During the cross examining Wayne pointed out that Dr. Hughes had written it down under a headline 'Intimate Relationships' but in court she said that it was her judgement and Amber did not tell her whether she was intimate with James Franco or not. Later, in her notes, it was mentioned that Amber Heard had met Elon Musk at the Met Gala and she dated him after she had separated from Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp has denied striking Amber Heard or any other woman in his life.