Amber Heard was ‘repeatedly’ told it would be illegal for her to take her two dogs to Australia but did so anyway, a former employee of Johnny Depp claimed today.
Kevin Murphy, who worked for Depp for nearly eight years, said Heard ‘demanded’ he make a false statement about the animals being ‘smuggled’ into the country.
He also claimed in a written witness statement submitted as part of Depp’s libel case against News Group Newspapers (NGN) that Heard asked him to contact her former assistant, Kate James, and ask her to ‘lie under oath’ to an Australian court.
Mr Murphy said Heard threatened him that his job was under threat if he did not make a statement exonerating her of blame for taking the dogs to Australia in May 2015 and putting it down to errors committed by him and Ms James.
In October 2015, Heard faced criminal proceedings in Australia for taking the couple’s two Yorkshire Terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country illegally. Heard and Depp recorded a now infamous video in 2016 apologising for doing so.
A photograph of Amber Heard’s pet Yorkshire Terriers Pistol and Boo, which has been referred to as an exhibit in the hearing of Johnny Depp’s libel case against the publishers of The Sun
Mr Murphy, who worked as an estate manager for the Hollywood actor until 2016, claimed that on October 11 and 12, 2015, Ms Heard asked him to contact Ms James and ‘ask Ms James to lie under oath to the Australian court prosecuting Ms Heard’.
He said: ‘Specifically, Ms Heard wanted Ms James to give a false statement that Ms Heard was unaware that it would be illegal for her to bring her dogs into Australia.
‘Ms Heard was aware that this was illegal, because I had informed her repeatedly by email, telephone and in person.’
Mr Murphy alleged he had told Ms Heard he was ‘uncomfortable’ with giving a false statement to the court and that ‘he would not ask Ms James to do so’.
In his written statement, Mr Murphy also said that shortly after this, Ms Heard ‘demanded verbally that I myself make a false witness statement regarding the dogs’ illegal entrance into Australia’.
He said: ‘I expressed that I was extremely uncomfortable with doing so, to which Ms Heard responded with words to the effect of: ‘Well I want your help on this … I wouldn’t want you to have a problem with your job’.
‘Ms Heard’s threatening language made me feel anxious and uneasy.
‘As stated above, I had instructed Ms Heard on a number of occasions by email, telephone and in person that she could not take the dogs to Australia because the relevant paperwork and permits were not complete and the required ten-day quarantine arrangements had not been put in place.’
Mr Murphy claimed he told Ms Heard the penalties for taking animals into Australia without following the correct procedures ‘could be severe’.
In a second witness statement, Mr Murphy said he was ‘shocked’ to learn that Ms Heard had taken the dogs to Australia, ‘despite our discussions and my warnings of severe legal ramifications’.
He alleged that he co-operated with Ms Heard’s request to provide her with a statement supporting her account for the Australian authorities, saying: ‘I felt extreme pressure to co-operate, despite knowing this would involve being untruthful.’
Mr Murphy said that on October 13, 2015, he signed a declaration on the circumstances in which the dogs were taken into Australia, claiming this was prepared by Ms Heard’s US lawyer.
‘That declaration contained statements that were not entirely truthful,’ he said.
Mr Murphy said in his written statement that in May 2016, after Ms Heard filed for divorce from Mr Depp, he sought legal advice over the declaration and retracting it.
‘I felt I could take this step at this time because Ms Heard no longer had control or influence over my job,’ he said. ‘This was my attempt to right a wrong.’
Heard took the dogs to Australia when she went to visit Depp, who was filming Pirates of the Caribbean at the time.
Johnny Depp (left, outside the High Court this morning) is suing The Sun’s publisher over an article which alleged he was violent towards Amber Heard (right, at the court also today)
After news of the dogs being in Australia became public, Depp and Heard were given 72 hours to send Pistol and Boo back to the US, with officials warning that the dogs would otherwise be euthanised.
In April 2016 in an Australian court, Heard received a $1,000 fine and a one-month good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to one count of falsifying border protection documents when entering the country with the dogs.
Australian prosecutors dropped more serious charges of illegal animal importation which could have resulted in Heard being imprisoned for 10 years.
Heard and Depp then recorded a now infamous video apologising for their actions.
Mr Murphy alleged that when Heard asked him to provide a false statement she told him: ‘Well I want your help on this…I wouldn’t want you to have a problem with your job.’
Mr Murphy told the court that travelling with the dogs was always something that Heard wanted and not Depp.
He added: ‘Johnny never wanted the dogs to travel, it was only Amber who wanted to the dogs to travel.’
Ms Wass told the court that the dogs were as much Depp’s responsibility as Heard’s but that she was being blamed for what has been dubbed the dog episode to ‘discredit her.’
Heard and Depp at Southport Magistrates’ Court in Australia in April 2016. Heard received a $1,000 fine and a one-month good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to one count of falsifying border protection documents when entering the country with the dogs
Referring to Mr Murphy’s allegation that Heard ordered him to lie, Ms Wass said: ‘She never asked you to lie. I suggest that you are lying. You have represented this (issue of the dogs) in a misleading way in an attempt to discredit Miss Heard.’
Ms Wass asked Mr Murphy: ‘Ms Heard never asked you to make a false statement in the Australian proceedings relating to the dogs?’ Mr Murphy replied: ‘That’s incorrect.’
Ms Wass continued that Mr Murphy’s evidence was that Heard ‘threatened’ him and said to him: ‘I want your help on this. I wouldn’t want you to have a problem with your job.’
The barrister said: ‘Ms Heard, I suggest, never said that to you at any stage… I suggest you lied in that witness statement.’ Mr Murphy said: ‘I completely disagree.’
Ms Wass continued: ‘Because your evidence on that point is that Ms Heard wanted you to commit perjury?’ Mr Murphy replied: ‘That’s correct.’ Ms Wass said: ‘Would you commit perjury if somebody asked you?’ He replied: ‘I would not.’
Ms Wass then pointed out that Mr Murphy did give a false statement to the Australian court, which was not mentioned in his first statement and was only referred to in his second witness statement, filed in June.
The barrister said: ‘It (the omission from the first witness statement) was intentional and it was deliberately misleading on your part.’ Mr Murphy said: ‘I wouldn’t agree with that.’
Ms Wass took Mr Murphy through the declaration he gave to the Australian court, which said that it was ‘a household policy to arrange all the necessary travel-related paperwork’ for the dogs to travel with Mr Depp and Ms Heard.
Depp and Heard were given 72 hours to send Pistol and Boo (file picture) back to the US, with officials warning that the dogs would otherwise be euthanised
Mr Murphy also said that he would ‘only inform Mr Depp or (Ms Heard)’ if the paperwork could not be obtained.
Asked by Ms Wass whether that was true, Mr Murphy said it was not ‘completely’ true, adding: ‘Johnny never wanted the dogs to travel; it was always Amber who wanted the dogs to travel.’
Ms Wass said: ‘Mr Depp was as keen for the dogs to go to Australia as Ms Heard was?’ Mr Murphy replied: ‘That’s incorrect, ma’am.’
Asked why he made a false statement, Mr Murphy said he did it because of ‘the threat of losing my job or having trouble with my job’.
Ms Wass said: ‘Your evidence is that you were being asked not only to commit perjury in a witness statement, but committing perjury, or potentially having to commit perjury, in a court after having sworn to the truth. That’s what you are saying Ms Heard asked you to do?’
Mr Murphy said: ‘That’s correct.’ Ms Wass continued: ‘It is a really serious thing, isn’t it, lying on oath.’
She said Mr Depp was ‘very loyal’ and ‘approachable’, and asked: ‘Why on earth did you not go to Mr Depp to ask him to intervene rather than just lying on oath?’ Mr Murphy replied: ‘Because Amber wielded a lot of power and would have made my life miserable.’
Ms Wass asked Mr Murphy how Heard could have made his life ‘miserable’ while working for her and Depp. Mr Murphy said: ‘I think there’s many ways that she could have, by being subversive, saying negative things to Johnny.
‘I think if you imagine yourself and your own employer, what somebody in power over you could do to you, I think you would understand.’
Ms Wass suggested: ‘Mr Depp would have intervened if this was a false statement that you were being asked to make?’ Mr Murphy replied: ‘I didn’t feel like that was an option.’
Mr Murphy later said that his false statement was ‘written for me by Marty Singer and Amber Heard’. Ms Wass asked: ‘Where was this statement made?’
Mr Murphy said: ‘In conversations with me, Amber had explained that it was her idea to place the blame on Kate (James, Ms Heard’s former assistant) as she was no longer working there.
‘However, as things progressed and the charges in Australia were so severe, she also need additional back-up and that was me. I believe that she targeted Kate first and then it was me second.’
Ms Wass said: ‘You are now admitting that you committed perjury in Australia as a result of something your boss’s wife asked you to do?’ Mr Murphy said: ‘That’s correct.’
Ms Wass then suggested that it would be ‘much easier… to commit perjury as a result of what your boss asked to do’. Mr Murphy said: ‘It wouldn’t, no, because Johnny’s never asked me to lie.’
Depp, 57, and Heard, 34, met on the set of the 2011 comedy ‘The Rum Diary’ and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. They are pictured at the film’s premiere in London in November 2011
Ms Wass said Mr Murphy’s witness statements in the present proceedings contained ‘a number of lies that you have made in order to assist Mr Depp and discredit Ms Heard’. Mr Murphy denied that was the case.
Ms Wass put to Mr Murphy that Heard and Depp were ‘equally involved’ in their pet dogs Pistol and Boo being taken to Australia.
Mr Murphy said: ‘No that is not true, Johnny never wanted the dogs to travel and that is why Amber’s name is on the paperwork.’
The court was then played a clip of Depp appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in September 2015, in which the actor discussed the dogs incident with the chat show host.
Ms Wass suggested that Depp took ‘joint responsibility’ for taking the dogs illegally into Australia.
The court was then played a video Depp and Heard recorded after the incident, in which they apologised for taking their pets into the country.
Ms Wass put it to Mr Murphy that Depp ‘knew exactly what was going on with the dogs’ and had arranged for legal representation, to which Mr Murphy responded: ‘I don’t agree.’
Amber Heard rubbished accusations that she defecated in Johnny Depp’s bed, as photographs of faeces at the centre of their bitter court row were made public for the first time
She then read out a text sent by Depp to Heard on April 20, 2016, and she told the court the Australian legal action over the dogs was concluded on April 18.
The text message read: ‘How many times can I be apologise (sic) for the same f****** thing? What is it with you? I have been by your side for every drama … how do you think the goddamn felony charges went away?’
Ms Wass asked: ‘Were there any other felony charges?’ To which Mr Murphy replied: ‘I don’t know.’
Ms Wass also moved on to the ‘defecation incident’, when faeces were found in the couple’s bed after Ms Heard’s 30th birthday party in April 2016.
The barrister said: ‘You were aware that, as far as Mr Depp’s dog Boo was concerned, Boo had a number of difficulties with toilet training.’ Mr Murphy replied: ‘I did, but not in the bed.’
He added: ‘I don’t think it was about the training, it was about the follow through.’
Ms Wass then read out a text conversation between Ms Heard and Mr Murphy in October 2014, in which Mr Murphy suggested putting Boo with a dog trainer which he said was a ‘good training environment’.
Ms Heard replied: ‘I’m worried she’s got brain damage. She can’t seem to predict or control when she uses the bathroom. Last night she s**t ON Johnny while he was sleeping, like all over him. Not exaggerating.’
The case continues.