The shocking claim from Dr. Dawn Hughes, a clinical and forensic psychologist, was based on her review of the “Aquaman” actress’s medical and therapy records, four face-to-face meetings and Zoom sessions, although Hughes never actually treated Heard. Hughes was the defense team’s first witness and her testimony continued Wednesday.
“There are indications, as I’ve mentioned before, of the sexual assault and the sexual abuse, and how he would, when he was angry and when he was drunk — it was mostly drug- and alcohol-fueled rage when he would throw her on the bed and try to have sex with her,” said Hughes. “Then, you know, if he was not able to perform, he would get more angry at her and blame her. We have this dynamic of blaming her for his inability to take responsibility for his behavior.”
Hughes, testifying based on notes from Heard’s therapist, said Heard told her Depp once penetrated her with a liquor bottle and digitally penetrated her on multiple occasions. She also described a disturbing allegation that Depp once accused Heard of flirting with another man and hiding drugs on her body.
“Mr. Depp performed a ‘cavity search’ and ostensibly was looking for drugs and felt it acceptable to rip off her nightgown and stick his fingers up her vagina to look for cocaine and thought maybe she was hiding it there,” said Hughes.
The bombshell claim came in a Fairfax, Virginia, courtroom where Depp, 58, is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million for accusing him of beating her in a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post about surviving domestic violence. Depp’s legal team sued in Virginia because The Washington Post is printed there.
Heard has counter-sued for $100 million, accusing Depp of smearing her by calling her a liar. The current trial is expected to last into May.
Hughes said Heard’s therapists feared for her safety, and related to her that the actress sometimes “fought back.” She also testified that Heard acknowledged sometimes reacting to Depp’s alleged abuse with “violence” and psychological aggression, saying Heard was”very ashamed and remorseful about that.”
Hughes’ testimony was used to dispute that of a psychologist called by Depp’s team last week, who said Heard showed no signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Depp has insisted that he never struck Heard. After Heard’s attorney Ben Rottenborn accused the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star of abusing his wife of two years, a spokesperson for Depp called the claim false and an attempt by Heard to “exploit a serious social movement.”
The televised trial, pitting one of Hollywood’s biggest stars of the past half century against his ex-wife, has exposed lurid details of their tempestuous relationship. It’s theme of domestic abuse comes after Hollywood was rocked by several “Me-Too” scandals, involving powerful men allegedly abusing women.
A recent poll showed that of Americans who are following the trial closely, most side with Depp.
“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 40% of American Adults believe, based on what they know about the case involving accusations of domestic abuse, that Depp is probably telling the truth,” Rasmussen reported. “Just 10% think Heard is probably telling the truth. Fifty-one percent (51%) are undecided.”