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Johnny Depp’s longtime friend and neighbor next door testified Wednesday that Depp’s ex-wife, Amber Hard, told him that the movie star threw a phone at her and hit her inside the couple’s Los Angeles penthouse.
But Isaac Baruch says he saw no evidence of abuse on Hard’s face, both when he first saw him in the hallway or in the sunlight lobby of their Art Deco-style building the next day.
“He pulled his face out like this to show me, and I’m looking, and I’m looking at his face,” Baruch said of the encounter in May 2016. “And I can’t see anything.… I can’t see a cut, a wound, a swelling, a redness.”
Baruch is the second witness to be called in the trial of Depp’s allegations that Hard misrepresented him as a domestic abuser. Depp says part of an opinion piece Hard wrote for The Washington Post in 2018 indirectly defamed him.
Hard described himself as a “public figure who represents domestic violence.” It’s not Depp’s name. But his attorneys argue that it explicitly referred to a restraining order that Hard wanted in May 2016, just after Depp said he wanted a divorce.
Depp denies abusing Heard.
Baruch, a painter, has been friends with Depp since 1980. He also worked in the Viper Room when the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor was partly the owner of the famous Los Angeles Club. Baruch said Depp helped him financially, provided him with a place to live and paid him about $ 100,000 over the years.
Baruch testified that he didn’t notice any makeup on Hard’s face when he said Depp hit him. But during the interrogation, Baruch admitted that he did not know if Hard – who worked with cosmetics giant L’Oreal – had applied any concealer, foundation, powder or tint.
At one point, Baruch became emotional, saying that Hard had to “take responsibility and move on.”
He said he had never seen violence from Depp.
“His family is completely devastated by all this, and it’s not fair,” Baruch said. “It simply came to our notice then. “It’s crazy.”
Hard’s lawyers say evidence will show that Depp physically and sexually abused Hard more than once. And they argued that Depp’s denial lacked credibility because he frequently drank and used drugs to turn black and failed to remember what he did.
The first witness to be called for trial was Depp’s older sister, Christy Dembrowski, who was confronted by questions from Hard’s lawyers about Depp’s alcohol and drug use.
When he took the position on Tuesday, Dembrowski said he and his brother had endured a difficult childhood where Depp learned to hide from an abusive mother. Dembrowski, who also worked as Depp’s personal manager, said he saw the same pattern in Depp’s relationship with Hard, adding that he would book an extra hotel room for Depp if Hard started fighting.
But when Dembrowski was asked why he texted Depp in February 2014, he fought back during the interrogation, saying, “Stop drinking. Stop Coke. Stop pills.”
Hard’s lawyers asked similar questions on Wednesday, void a text exchange between Hard and Dembroski in February 2014.
“Microsoft. Hard says, ‘JD is in a bender’ and your response is, ‘Where are the kids?’ -Okay? ” J. Benjamin Rottenburn asked.
Dembrowski said it was right. He also confirmed a 2014 email exchange with a doctor who treated Depp’s pain medication addiction.
“Do you believe your brother needed help with drugs and alcohol?” Rottenburn asked.
Dembrowski responded that he was concerned about Depp’s use of a drug but did not believe that his drug or alcohol problems were overall or that he had romanticized drug culture.
Depp and Hard are expected to testify in Fairfax County Circuit Court, scheduled for six weeks, with actors Paul Betany and James Franco and technology entrepreneur Elon Musk.
Hard’s lawyers wanted the case to be tried in California, where the actors live. But a judge ruled that Depp was in a position to sue in Virginia because the online version of the Washington Post’s computer was located in Server County. Depp’s lawyers say they have brought the case to Virginia in part because the law here is more favorable to their case.