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Johnny Depp is expected to take the stand again next week in his headline-grabbing defamation trial.
Depp, 58, is suing ex-wife Amber Heard, 36, for $50 million (£38.2 million) in a defamation lawsuit over domestic abuse claims she made in a 2018 article in The Washington Post.
On Monday (23 May), the trial will enter its sixth and final week at Virginia's Fairfax County Circuit Court, and Heard's team is expected to call on Depp to take the stand as a rebuttal witness on Wednesday or Thursday, sources told the New York Post.
Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor and legal analyst, believes the objective for Heard's team is to 'control the narrative a little bit more' - though the strategy could backfire.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he said: "We saw how charismatic Johnny was when he testified the first time around, so the last thing you want to do is give him a second opportunity to charm the jurors.
"This is Heard's chance to catch up.
"The con is you're putting a hostile witness in your case-in-chief, so if you don't do a good job, that may undermine your whole case… What Amber needs is some independent corroborative witnesses. Sexual abuse and domestic are the two most underreported crimes, but some jurors believe they can be falsely reported."
Mitra Ahouraian, the founder and principal attorney at Ahouraian Law, agreed it would be a risky strategy for Heard's team.
She said: "Their cross-examination of him early in the case did not go well for Amber.
"Attorneys did not seem prepared for the number of objections Depp's team came armed with, and perhaps did not account for the overall charm and credibility of Johnny's nature on the stand.
"Since Depp's team was first to introduce testimony of his alcoholism and drug abuse — a narrative Heard's lawyers were no doubt planning to lean heavily into — it took some of the sting away when her side finally got into it. It had already been framed by Depp's narrative."
Depp is suing Heard for $50m (£38.2m), and she has issued a counterclaim for $100m (£76.4m).
The pair began dating after meeting on the set of 2011 film The Rum Diary and got married in 2015. Heard obtained a restraining order against Depp the following year and they finalised their divorce in 2017.
Asked about her decision to file for divorce from Depp in May 2016, Heard said in court earlier this week: "I knew if I didn't I'd likely not literally survive.
"I was so scared that it was going to end really badly for me and I really didn't want to leave him, I loved him so much.
"I would have done anything but I couldn't do that one thing, I couldn't stay."
In 2020, Depp lost a libel case brought against The Sun over an article in which he was labelled a 'wife beater'.
He has denied all allegations of abuse.
The trial continues.
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