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Former personal assistant accuses Amber Heard of ‘stealing’ rape story

Kate James said the actress stole her own account of a rape ‘for her own use’.

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Amber Heard (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Amber Heard (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Amber Heard (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Amber Heard’s former personal assistant has accused the actress of “twisting” her own account of a machete-point rape for “her own use”, in explosive evidence on the seventh day of Johnny Depp’s libel claim against The Sun.

Appearing by videolink from Los Angeles on Wednesday, Kate James claimed Ms Heard, 34, had “stolen” her story of being “violently raped” in Brazil almost three decades ago.

In her witness statement, Ms James said she discovered the Aquaman actress had “stolen my sexual violence conversation with her and twisted it into her own story to benefit herself”.

She added: “This of course caused me extreme distress and outrage that she would dare to attempt to use the most harrowing experience of my life as her own narrative.”

Ms James said she was giving evidence in Mr Depp’s case against the tabloid’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), because she took “offence” at Ms Heard’s actions.

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Court artist sketch of Kate James (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

Court artist sketch of Kate James (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

PA

Court artist sketch of Kate James (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

NGN’s barrister Sasha Wass QC suggested Ms James had been “influenced” by Mr Depp, 57, and his associates and “encouraged” to give “vicious evidence” against Ms Heard.

Ms James replied: “I’m here for my own reasons … I’m a sexual violence survivor and that’s very, very serious to take that stance if you are not one and I am one.

“That’s the reason I’m here, because I take offence.”

Ms James, who worked for Ms Heard between 2012 and 2015, said her former employer would send a “barrage of drunk text messages between the hours of two and four in the morning … on an almost daily basis”, describing the messages as “abusive”.

She accused Ms Heard of deleting all the “abusive” texts after the actress terminated her employment, adding: “She saved the ones that weren’t.”

In her statement, Ms James said Ms Heard felt she was “above the law”, and claimed she “did not care about throwing anyone under the bus, if it meant saving her own skin”.

Ms Heard asked her in September 2014 to send a letter the actress had drafted to Homeland Security officials in the US about a woman named Savannah McMillan, who had been hired to work as a set assistant, Ms James claimed.

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A letter Kate James claims Amber Heard asked her to send to Homeland Security officials (PA)

A letter Kate James claims Amber Heard asked her to send to Homeland Security officials (PA)

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A letter Kate James claims Amber Heard asked her to send to Homeland Security officials (PA)

According to Ms James, Ms Heard said in the letter: “Savannah McMillan is a personal friend and, to my knowledge, has never worked unlawfully or otherwise in the United States. Or for me.”

Ms James said in her statement that Ms Heard “knew this to be untrue” and “Amber was therefore wilfully lying to the US immigration department”.

She also claimed Ms Heard “deliberately smuggled” two Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into Australia illegally in April 2015.

The High Court in London earlier heard evidence from Kevin Murphy, Mr Depp’s former estate manager, who claimed Ms Heard asked him to contact Ms James and ask her to “lie under oath” to an Australian court.

Mr Murphy said the actress also “demanded” he make a false statement about the animals being “smuggled” into the country, and told him: “I wouldn’t want you to have a problem with your job.”

In October 2015, Ms Heard faced criminal proceedings in Australia for taking the couple’s two dogs into the country illegally.

She and Mr Depp later recorded a now infamous video, which was played to the court, apologising for doing so.

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Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

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Johnny Depp arrives at the High Court (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Mr Murphy said he lied under oath “because Amber wielded a lot of power and would have made my life miserable”.

He also gave evidence about the “defecation incident”, when faeces were found in the couple’s bed after Ms Heard’s 30th birthday party in April 2016.

Ms Wass read a text from Ms Heard to Mr Murphy in October 2014, when the actress said: “I’m worried she’s got brain damage. She can’t seem to predict or control when she uses the bathroom.

“Last night she shit ON Johnny while he was sleeping, like all over him. Not exaggerating.”

Mr Murphy said in his witness statement that, when he spoke to Mr Depp in April 2016 about the “defecation incident”, the actor was “sullen and disgusted”.

Ms Wass read two text messages sent by Mr Depp shortly after the incident, saying that in one, he wrote “my wife left a whopper poop on my bed” and “then he says ‘Amber Turd’”.

She said: “In fact, it appears from those texts that Mr Depp found the subject quite amusing,” to which Mr Murphy said he thought the actor was being “sarcastic”.

Mr Murphy was asked if Ms Heard had told him the faeces in the bed was a “harmless prank”, and said: “She certainly did.”

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The bar area in the house where Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were staying in Australia (PA)

The bar area in the house where Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were staying in Australia (PA)

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The bar area in the house where Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were staying in Australia (PA)

On Wednesday morning, Mr Depp’s previous estate manager, Ben King, gave evidence that Mr Depp and Ms Heard “argued like schoolchildren”, with explosive rows starting from “banal beginnings”.

He claimed Ms Heard was the “antagoniser” in the relationship, often “goading” and attempting to provoke the actor.

Mr King, who worked for the Hollywood star for three separate periods between 2014 and 2016, said he never saw Mr Depp “be violent or unkind towards Ms Heard, or indeed towards anyone else”.

In his first witness statement, Mr King said that in March 2015 he was summoned to the house the couple were renting in Australia, where he found a “significant amount of damage” and discovered the actor’s severed fingertip on the floor of the bar area while cleaning up broken glass and debris.

Mr Depp has been accused of subjecting Ms Heard to a “three-day hostage situation” and trashing the house during the Australia trip, which he denies.

His finger was severed during the stay, which he says was caused by Ms Heard throwing a vodka bottle at him, which she denies.

The court was due to also hear evidence from Mr Depp’s ex-fiancee, actress Winona Ryder, 48, but there was no time on Wednesday.

Mr Depp is suing NGN and Mr Wootton over the publication of an article on April 27 2018 with the headline: “Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be ‘genuinely happy’ casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?”

NGN is defending the article as true, and says Mr Depp was “controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs”.

On Thursday, the court is due to hear evidence from witnesses including Mr Depp’s former long-term partner Vanessa Paradis and Alejandro Romero, a concierge at Mr Depp’s former LA penthouse, who claims he saw Tesla founder Elon Musk visiting Ms Heard “many times” over more than a year.

PA