Why Johnny Depp Wants James Franco to Testify in His Defamation Suit Against Amber Heard

Johnny Depp's ongoing litigation with ex Amber Heard is now involving James Franco

Johnny Depp‘s lawyer is interested in speaking to James Franco after the actor was seen in surveillance footage with Amber Heard and plans to issue a subpoena for Franco, 41, to give testimony in Depp’s ongoing defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife.

Franco was seen stepping into an elevator with Heard, 33, from the apartment building the actress once shared with Depp, 56, according to surveillance footage obtained by The Blast.

The video was captured on May 22, 2016, and featured Heard and Franco speaking to each other in the elevator 24 hours after the actress and Depp had a fight that ended their marriage, according to the outlet. Depp is now suing Heard for defamation over her allegations that he was violent towards her, which Depp has denied.

The actor’s attorney Adam Waldman confirmed to PEOPLE he plans to subpoena Franco and Elon Musk as “fact witnesses” on behalf of his client. “We already know from 87 surveillance videos and 31 eyewitnesses what Elon Musk and James Franco saw the week of May 21 — that Ms Heard’s ‘battered face’ was a hoax,” Waldman said.

A rep for Franco did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

James Franco, Johnny Depp, Amber Heard
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Luo Yunfei/Getty Images; Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Regarding the subpoena, Heard’s attorney Eric George told PEOPLE, “This bogus story is just another lame attempt by Johnny Depp and his team to spread deliberately misleading information through the tabloid media so that he can continue to attack and abuse his ex-wife.”

George continued, “Amber Heard and James Franco once lived in the same apartment complex and were simply taking an elevator at the same time. Period. Johnny Depp and his team have been trying — and failing — to place a salacious story based on this irrelevant footage for weeks. It’s pathetic.”

In March, Depp accused Heard of beginning a romantic relationship with Tesla founder Musk “no later than one month after” she and Depp married. The claims came from Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Heard, in which he is seeking $50 million in damages after the Aquaman actress wrote an op-ed characterizing herself as a domestic abuse victim. In the lawsuit obtained by PEOPLE, Depp claims Heard received “late night” visits from billionaire businessman at the L.A. penthouse.

A rep for Musk denied the entrepreneur was involved with Heard at the time of her split from Depp.

“Elon and Amber didn’t start seeing each other until May 2016, and even then it was infrequent,” the rep said in a statement to PEOPLE at the time. “Their relationship didn’t become romantic until some time later.”

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Todd Williamson/Getty; John Shearer/Getty

George previously denied Depp’s allegations regarding Heard’s accusations of physical abuse.

Heard and Depp married in 2015. In May 2016, she filed for 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 for $7 million, which she donated to charity. Both actors signed NDAs barring them from discussing their relationship publicly.

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

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