Amber Heard is accusing Johnny Depp of paying millions of dollars in "hush money" to possible witnesses to the actor's alleged abuse, and now is asking his former manager to turn over records regarding any payments.
According to legal documents, obtained by The Blast, Heard has subpoenaed The Mandel Group (TMG) who was Mr. Depp's longstanding business management firm from 1999 until they parted ways in 2016 amid a bitter dispute.
Hush Money Payments
The actress is seeking records from the company, including "payments on Mr. Depp's behalf to conceal acts of violence, payments to witnesses who observed Mr. Depp's violence and/or helped cover it up, and incidents of violence by Mr. Depp."
In the filing, Heard's team says, "TMG also paid millions of dollars to various members of Mr. Depp's staff, many of whom will be witnesses in the underlying lawsuit, as well as millions of dollars to "bail (Mr. Depp) out of numerous legal crises and make a series of hush money settlements."
The Legal Documents
Amber's lawyers point out that TMG has extensive records from Johnny's business dealings, but also his personal life.
"Of particular relevance here, by its own account, TMG was aware that Mr. Depp had violently abused Ms. heard and that he had pressured his employees to make false public statements denying this fact," the filing says.
Heard says the companies boss, Joel Mandel, "was informed well after the fact through communications with various house staff and security that Depp had been extremely volatile and had sometimes 'gotten physical' with Heard" and that "Depp had violently kicked Heard during an incident that took place in or around 2014."
Lies To Protect Him?
Specifically, she says TMG itself claimed in their fight with the actor that he "repeatedly coerced individuals to lie to protect him."
TMG has denied producing the records to Amber Heard. So, she is asking an LA judge to force the company to hand over the documents. TMG claims in their objection that it would be burdensome to retrieve all the documents from their case with Depp, so Heard's team has offered to cover the $5,575 it cost to produce it.
Depp "Paid Millions" To Staff Members...
Amber's lawyer Roberta Kaplan tells The Blast, “TMG was Mr. Depp’s longstanding business manager from 1999 until they parted ways in 2016 amidst a bitter dispute. As a result, TMG is in possession of extensive records of his business dealings as well as his personal life. In fact, by its own account, TMG was aware that Mr. Depp abused Ms. Heard and pressured his employees to make false public statements denying that abuse. TMG also paid millions of dollars to various members of Mr. Depp’s staff, many of whom are witnesses in Mr. Depp’s lawsuit against Ms. Heard.
She continued, "Assuming the court in Virginia permits this case to proceed, trial is scheduled for early February. As a result, TMG needs to produce these documents now.”
Johnny Denies The Allegations
Heard's says TMG is very important to the current defamation case in Virginia, partially based on the fact, during their own nasty dispute with Depp they claimed he had no "impulse control" and "identified several examples of Mr. Depp's habitual lying to the public and to public authorities, and his efforts to strong-arm others to lie on his behalf."
Obviously, the information could be important to Depp's and his witnesses' credibility.
In the defamation case, Depp has deposed several witnesses to "debunk" Ms. Heard's claim of prior abuse, so it is important to Amber's team "evidence of payments or even attempts to pay witnesses" could change to bias or motive of that specific witness.
Depp Claims Amber Is The Violent One
Adam Waldman, Depp's attorney said in a statement, "These are the facts: Amber Heard confessed under oath to multiple violent attacks on Johnny Depp. We have 31 (and counting) eyewitnesses, surveillance footage, and photographs that disprove her absurd hoax. She was arrested and incarcerated for violent domestic abuse against her former wife. And we have interviewed other victims of brutal violence at the hands of Amber Heard."
He continued, "She responds to these facts by (a) never responding to these facts; (b) repeatedly refusing to sit for her deposition; (c) hiring Harvey Weinstein’s #TimesUp lawyers to replicate Harvey Weinstein's victim-smearing tactics."
In response to the alleged payments, Waldman says, "This is the truth: good people have come forward to set the record straight on the violent injustices and hoax perpetrated by Amber Heard. Today, Amber Heard and Harvey Weinstein’s #TimesUp lawyers have a new gambit – suggest the dozens of witnesses who have come forward, many of whom have never even met Mr. Depp, are all somehow paid off by Mr. Depp! In the alternative universe of Harvey Weinstein and #TimesUp’s lawyers, they don’t seem to get that most people are good, and the truth is free."
Prior Abuse Allegations
Amber is also requesting information pertaining to any prior abuse with Depp's previous relationships. She is asking for "documents that relate to Mr. Depp's other romantic partners that involve violence, abuse, fights, or destruction of property."
It's unclear who Heard may be referring too, during the ex-couples divorce, his previous ex-wife Vanessa Paradis, penned a letter supporting him saying, "In all the years I have known Johnny he has never been physically abusive with me and this looks nothing like the man I lived with for 14 wonderful years."
A Los Angeles judge will decide if TMG will have to turn over any records, and the scope of information shared with Heard.
Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard in Virginia for defamation, after the actress penned an op-ed in the Washington Post about domestic abuse.