The former employee testified that her own story of being violently raped was “twisted” by Amber Heard for “her own use”

By Maria Pasquini
July 16, 2020 02:11 PM
Advertisement
Amber Heard
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

Amber Heard’s former personal assistant testified that her story of sexual assault had been used by the actress to exploit as her own in her accusations against ex-husband Johnny Depp.

Kate James addressed a London court on Wednesday, as part of Depp’s ongoing libel case against News Group Newspapers (NGN), parent company of the U.K. outlet The Sun, which published a 2018 article calling the actor a "wife beater."

Heard's ex-assistant, who worked for Heard between 2012 and 2015, testified that she had described her rape at machete-point in Brazil around 25 years ago to her former employer. According to The Hollywood Reporter, James said that in Heard's witness statement, the actress used her sexual assault story as her own.

"She referred directly to a violent rape that occurred to me 26 years ago and she twisted it into her own story and she used it for her own use," James testified. "This of course caused me extreme distress and outrage that she would dare to attempt to use the most harrowing experience of my life as her own narrative."

James added: "I am a sexual violence survivor and that's very, very serious to take that stance if you are not one."

Heard is expected to provide evidence in the court case later this week.

Heard, 34, previously alleged that Depp, 57, had been abusive during their 15-month marriage, a claim he has denied, saying that he was the victim of domestic violence in their relationship.

On Tuesday, Depp’s bodyguard testified that he helped cover up that Heard allegedly severed the actor's finger in a fight, addressing a previous allegation that Heard put a cigarette out on Depp's face and threw a bottle at him that severed his finger during a fight in Australia in 2015. (Heard's attorney previously shot down the claim, saying, "This allegation is absurd, offensive and categorically untrue.")

Heard's lawyer Eric George denied the allegations against the actress, saying in a statement obtained by PEOPLE: "The evidence in this case is clear: Johnny Depp repeatedly beat Amber Heard. The increasingly desperate attempts by Mr. Depp and his enablers to revive his career by initiating baseless litigation against so many people once close to him — his former lawyers, former managers, and his former spouse — are not fooling anyone.”

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp
Venturelli/Getty; John Phillips/Getty

Heard and Depp tied the knot in 2015. In May 2016, she sought a domestic violence restraining order against him, accusing him of abusing her. Depp denied the claims, and the former couple settled their divorce out of court in August 2016. She donated her $7 million divorce settlement to charity. Both actors signed NDAs barring them from discussing their relationship publicly.

After she wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described being an alleged victim of domestic violence, Depp sued her for defamation in the United States. While she never mentioned Depp by name, the actor’s lawsuit called her allegations against him a “hoax.”

Heard’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, urged the court last fall to throw out the suit, arguing that the column was not about Heard’s allegations against Depp, but in March, a Virginia judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.