The actress pledged to donate 3,5 million dollars for ACLU after the settlement was reached between Amber Heard, Johnny Depp and their divorce. The ACLU’s general counsel testified in Virginia on Thursday during the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial. Terence Dougherty stated that Heard had paid only half of the money or for her.
In a settlement for her divorce, Amber Heard was awarded 7 million dollars. She had previously promised to split the money between the ACLU and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Depp’s side claimed that Heard had not kept her promise to the ACLU.
Dougherty stated that the ACLU was awarded 1,3 million. Heard donated 350,000 and Johnny Depp 100,000. An investment fund provided another 350,000. It is not clear why Depp gave money to Amber.
The biggest surprise however was Elon Musk’s donation of 500,000 USD, which Amber Heard, who had dated Elon after the divorce, made.
Musk was to have testified in a defamation case until a few days ago. This has now changed.
Musk and Heard were together for approximately one year following her 2016 divorce. Vanguard provided the $500,000 payment. Dougherty stated that he believed it was an Elon Musk fund.
Evidently, Musk-Heaed took Musk under his wing during their Musk-Heaed relationship. Dougherty stated that, based on Musk’s emails, the ACLU knew that Heard’s donation of $3,5million would be made within the next ten year.
Emails and documents regarding Musk’s donation in Amber’s honor are available.
Amber’s lawyers stated that Amber plans to donate the money but she must pay legal fees.
Heard made her last donation of $350,000 in December 2018. Since then, she had not given any money.
Depp’s lawyer asked Amber if the ACLU had contacted Amber.
“We reached out Miss Heard in 2019 to arrange for her next installment of her gift, and learned that she was facing financial difficulties.”
According to court documents, Musk sent emails to Amber indicating that he intended to help her charity efforts. Musk sent Amber an email on August 18, 2016 in which he wrote to Anthony Romero, the executive director at the ACLU. Tesla owner wrote:
“I described your (Heard) plan to donate $3.5million over the next ten years to the ACLU as you believe in what they are doing.”
Robin Shulman (a communications strategist at the ACLU) made another shocking claim. The jury discovered that Shulman was the one who wrote the Washington Post‘s first draft in 2018.
Shulman sent Heard a message on November 29, 2018 in which she stated that she had tried to “gather fire and rage” to create an op-ed piece.
Did the piece concern Depp? Dougherty stated that the piece was about “gender-based violent issues”. Depp’s lawyers claimed that even though Depp was not named, the alleged abuse was implied.
Shulman also wrote in another message:
“Our lawyers should examine this because I have gotten in the way of your marriage.”
Amber was also informed by Jessica Weitz, another member the ACLU communications team.
“I want you to be sure that nothing in this article puts you in danger with your NDA.”
After Shulman and Heard had drafted the final version, Amber’s lawyers checked the op-ed.
Both Amber and Johnny were prohibited from discussing their marriage under the NDA.
Dougherty was questioned by one of Depp’s attorneys
“Some ACLU members believed that removing references to Johnny Depp’s marriage and divorce made the op-ed less effective.”
Dougherty stated that it was true.
Dougherty stated that the ACLU was responsible to placing the op ed. They looked at the New York Times , Washington Post, Teen Vogue , and USA Today.
Dougherty noted that the list was “decreasing in importance and reach as it goes down.” It was about finding the media that would be most likely to publish the piece.
A part of the ACLU communications team, Gerry Johnson emailed his associates about timing. They wanted it to come out at the same time as the premiere of Aquaman. Amber Heard plays Mera in the movie franchise.
“Since draft turned out pretty strong and Aquaman slated to do large numbers, I’m wondering what you think about it?”
Depp’s lawyers asked Dougherty if Amber Heard’s marriage to Depp made the op-ed a “stronger product.”
“Amber’s contributions to the portion of the op-ed that talks about personal experiences are what informed the view this was a strong op-ed.”
One of Depp’s lawyers asked:
“She wanted the op-ed to come out just after Aquaman’s release?”
“I recall there was a conversation for optimal timing.”
On December 11, 2018, Witz emailed her colleagues that Heard’s team had sent back a final draft, but it “neutered much of her marriage and domestic violence.”
Witz said that the goal was to “get this out this week to capitalize on the tremendous campaign for Aquaman,” referring to the film’s publicity.
In follow-up emails, Witz said that Heard wanted to get a mention of her getting a restraining order back into the article.
“Is there an artful way to do that?”
This did not make it into the final version.
At the time, Stacey Sullivan, a member of the ACLU’s communications, pitched the article to Michael Duffy, an editor at the Washington Post.
The email wrote:
“Hey Michael, wondering if we might interest you in an op-ed by Amber Heard, who, as you may recall, was beaten up during her brief marriage to Johnny Depp.”
After the two agreed, Amber emailed her team and the ACLU, writing:
“It’s going to the Washington Post!!!”
The court also heard about the ACLU’s troubles. In 2019, Reuters inquired about how much Heard had paid off her $3.5m pledge.
Witz insisted that Heard had “donated her full settlement to charity” in an email sent to the coworkers. However, investigations indicated she had only paid $1.3m
As Witz and her associates struggled to phrase a statement to Reuters, she emailed her coworkers:
“I had nightmares about this last tonight. Do you think this is OK?”
Depp’s lawyers asked if Witz was “concerned the ACLU was not telling the truth?”
Depp smiled as Dougherty said:
“She was doing everything she could to give a correct statement to the press.”