Johnny Depp claims that his ex-wife Amber Heard tried to "blackmail" him with a photo of the Pirates of the Caribbean actor allegedly smoking illegal drugs from a glass pipe, The Blast has reported. As RadarOnline.com readers know, the feuding exes have been embroiled in a legal battle after Heard penned a Washington Post op-ed in 2018 claiming she was a victim of domestic abuse.
Though she didn’t mention Depp by name in the essay, he filed a $50 million defamation suit against the Aquaman beauty in March 2019.
Before their attorneys met for a hearing in a Virginia courtroom this week, The Blast sources said that Heard's new attorney, Roberta Kaplan, and her associates approached Depp's lawyers. Depp's attorneys allege they were shown photographs, including one in which the star appears to be smoking drugs from a glass pipe, and several other photos showing alleged illegal drugs and paraphernalia located inside Depp's home.
The glass pipe photo appears to show Depp holding the paraphernalia and lighting it, The Blast has reported. The two other pictures allegedly show what appear to be drugs on a surface in the actor's home. They allegedly were taken several years ago, when Depp and Heard were still a couple. According to the new report, Kaplan allegedly threatened Depp's attorney that if they did not drop their opposition to a protective order to keep details of the defamation case private, she would show them to the judge in the case. Depp's team said no, and the photos were presented in court. Kaplan said the drug photos are "good" for their side in the case and the judge viewed the sensitive shots, a court transcript revealed.
Depp's legal eagle told the judge, "The photographs that were shown as an inducement to try to get us to drop our motion don’t relate to Ms. Heard. They relate to Mr. Depp. Mr. Depp has nothing to hide. He has testified about his substance abuse. He owns that. And it’s absolutely – I thinks it’s outrageous, Your Honor they tried to do that. They didn’t come here with materials relating to Ms. Heard." Depp's attorney contended that the photos only show "possible embarrassment to Mr. Depp ... they don’t speak for Mr. Depp. We speak for Mr. Depp."
The actor's lawyer Adam Waldman told The Blast, "Amber Heard’s #Timesup lawyer Roberta Kaplan prefaced a court proceeding in which she unsuccessfully sought to hide abuse hoax and violence evidence with a blackmail attempt. Brandishing undated photos in the courthouse, one of which appeared to show Mr. Depp (who has spoken openly in interviews of his past painful struggles and recovery from drug addiction) smoking a pipe years ago. Ms. Kaplan’s threat was simple: drop your opposition to keeping the evidence secret or we will show the judge these pictures. When Kaplan’s threat was rebuffed, she followed through on it, as the transcript shows."
But Kaplan has argued the photos aren't blackmail and show the need for both Depp and Heard to be protected. Kaplan said, "Mr. Depp’s legal team has grossly mischaracterized our discussions. Before the hearing, we showed them certain photographs to express our astonishment that Mr. Depp was opposing entry of a standard protective order that would preserve BOTH parties’ privacy as we engage in discovery prior to trial. We did not threaten to 'release' any photographs, including photographs showing Mr. Depp using illegal drugs. Instead, we presented certain photographs to the Judge during the hearing in order to explain that a protective order would make sense in this case. Indeed, we were very careful with the contents of the photographs in court— we did not display them to anyone other than the Judge or even describe them on the record. And we have not “released” them to anyone."
She continued, "Unfortunately, when lawyers like Mr. Depp’s make false and inflammatory accusations and distort information about what happened in court or evidence in the case, all that they accomplish is to threaten the integrity of the judicial process." Kaplan told Radar exclusively earlier this month that Depp’s actions are just for show.
“By suing her for defamation, Mr. Depp himself has put at issue the grievous physical and emotional abuse that Ms. Heard suffered at his hands during their marriage,” Heard's lawyer said. “Ms. Heard has already testified that it was almost always drugs and alcohol that fueled Mr. Depp’s abusive behavior and this is consistent with multiple accounts of his drug-fueled rages over many years."
The case is expected to go to trial in the next few months.