Artist Isaac Baruch, a childhood friend of Johnny Depp’s, told a London court Friday about the day he allegedly found Amber Heard changing the locks to the Los Angeles penthouse she shared with the actor.
Baruch was giving evidence by video link from the U.S. on the ninth day of Depp’s libel trial against the publisher of The Sun newspaper, which is taking place at London’s Royal Courts of Justice.
Depp is suing News Group Newspapers and journalist Dan Wootton for an article on The Sun website that described him as a “wife beater.” Depp denies that he was violent toward Heard, to whom he was married from 2015 to 2017.
Baruch lived, rent-free, in an apartment owned by Depp at the Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles between 2013 and 2016, on the same floor that Depp and Heard had an apartment.
Baruch said he had borrowed $100,000 from Depp, and had yet to repay the money. “He’s an ubermensch, he’s generous to everybody,” Baruch told the court. “He’s a true, honest man; he’s a good guy. He does the right thing, he knows how to do the right thing. He’s someone you wanna care about because he does the right thing.”
Heard’s friends lived in neighboring apartments, also owned by Depp, including Raquel “Rocky” Pennington and her then-fiancee Josh Drew.
Defense attorney Sasha Wass asked Baruch if all the people who lived in the apartments next to Depp and Heard “lived like almost family?”
Baruch said: “That’s exactly what it was, like friends, family, in this amazing top floor of this building, five beautiful apartments and everybody enjoying what Johnny was funding.”
Baruch spoke about how, on May 21, 2016, he found Heard and a group of her friends changing the locks to the apartments. Her marriage to Depp was collapsing.
“I greeted everyone and asked what was going on,” he told the court. “Ms. Heard, whose demeanor I would describe at that moment as being very animated and in control, informed me that Mr. Depp had come by the night before and got violent and that she was now changing the locks on all the doors to penthouses 1, 3 and 5.”
Heard also introduced Baruch to a private security guard, and said “he would be hanging around.”
“I was surprised and taken back as to what she just told me and said something like: ‘wait, what happened?’”
Drew then stepped toward Baruch while giving him a head wave to follow him. Drew told him Depp “was drunk and got angry,” had hit Heard and threw a phone at her.
Heard’s friends said they were going to stay to “protect Ms. Heard just in case Mr. Depp should come back and get violent again.”
Baruch said he did not see any marks on Heard’s face when she alleged Depp had struck her with a telephone.
“She told me that he hit her in the face and threw a phone at her. I then asked her where he had hit her, and she stretched her neck and pushed out the right side of her head for me to look at her right eye.”
“We both were standing in front of the open doorway of Penthouse 1. With lights from the hallway and the sunlight that came in through the windows from Penthouse 1, which filled the room and spread into the hallway, it was very easy for me to get an excellent view of Ms. Heard’s face.”
“I literally was around 12 inches from her, inspecting her face and I did not see a single mark or evidence of any marks, bruising or swelling of any kind anywhere on her face.”
Heard was not wearing make-up, he said. “Her face looked to me just as natural and normal as all the other times I’ve seen it over the past three years while hanging out together around the apartments.”
Baruch said he saw Heard often over the next few days, spotting no injuries, before she went to court sporting a bruised cheek which she said came from the altercation with Depp.
The trial continues Monday, when Heard will take the stand.
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