- A lawyer who cited Amber Heard’s abuse claims to be a “hoax” who has raised thousands of dollars to obtain unsealed court files.
- The effort may have backfired on the legions of Depp fans who helped raise money for the trove of documents.
- So far, the documents have shed light on evidence that Heard was not allowed to present at the trial.
For weeks, Johnny Depp fans have held in high esteem the actor’s relative victory in his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, who insinuated in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that he had physically abused her.
But their parade was dampened somewhat last weekend by the release of thousands of pages of unsealed court documents in the case, with much of the new information casting Heard in a more sympathetic light and Depp in a less flattering light.
For example, the newly released documents show that Heard refused to demand her fair share of Depp’s multi-billion dollar fortune when they divorced and allegations that Depp’s lawyers were trying to get nude photos of Heard submitted as evidence at trial.
A pro-Depp lawyer is chasing the documents
Last month, when Judge Penney Azcarate unlocked thousands of court documents in the case, Andrea Burkhart, a Washington state attorney, contacted the Fairfax County Circuit Court to get copies of the records, according to her tweets.
Burkhart described himself as a “legal color commentator” who closely followed the Depp v. Heard case.
In videos, Burkhart says she has been a practicing lawyer for 15 years. In addition to the Depp trial, she has also closely followed the lawsuits involving Marilyn Manson and has expressed the belief that both men are victims of false abuse allegations.
In her Depp coverage, Burkhart tries to offer a legal perspective on his case, but often turns into an opinion.
From the start, Burkhart made it clear that she thought Heard had committed an “abuse hoax.” On the first day of the trial, Burkhart tweeted it was “time to stop ignoring the reality of female violence and erasing male abuse victims.”
During the trial, Depp insisted that he never physically abused Heard and that he was the real victim in their relationship.
When Burkhart learned that many of the sealed court files would be made public after the verdict, she was almost giddy on her YouTube channel at the prospect that they could contain dirt on Heard.
“If Amber Heard was hoping to keep all these things secret behind a seal in the Fairfax County courthouse, I think she’ll be out of luck and at the end of the day,” Burkhart said in a response. YouTube video two weeks ago, before she got her hands on the unsealed files.
Depp fans raise over $7,000 for unsealed deposits
Obtaining the unsealed court documents was expensive. Burkhart was told by the court’s legal documents administrator that there were more than 6,600 pages of unsealed files and that it would cost $3,321 to get copies, Burkhart said in another document. tweet.
So she appealed to her more than 44,000 followers to raise the money. Less than an hour later, Burkhart tweeted that the fundraising goal had been exceeded. Many of those who responded to her call had pro-Depp pirate hats in their Twitter handles.
In subsequent tweets, Burkhart posted screenshots showing her donating the more than $7,000 in additional money to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and The Art of Elysium.
The selection of those charities was a bull’s eye for Heard, as the two organizations became a focal point during the trial when Depp’s team offered evidence that Heard had broken donation promises to them and to the ACLU.
Leslie Cup, a vice president at The Art of Elysium, confirmed Burkhart’s donation in a statement to Insider on Tuesday, which also took a subtle shot at Heard.
“Yes, I can confirm that we have received a donation of over $5,000 from Andrea Burkhart. We are extremely grateful,” Cup said.
Insider could not independently confirm the donation to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which has not returned a request for comment.
The newly debunked court documents were seen by many as a net gain for Heard after she faced a lot of criticism online during the trial – as well as a bit of karma for her opponents.
“Johnny Depp defenders crowdsourced thousands to pay to unlock new pages and texts that support Amber Heard’s cause….sometimes fate has a sense of humor,” Cat Tenbargea technology and culture reporter at NBC News, tweeted July 31.
News week spoke with two lawyers Tuesday who believed the unsealed documents misrepresented Depp and may have come as a surprise to fans who helped get them published.
Entertainment attorney Frank Salzano told the outlet he thought the unsealed files “damaged Johnny Depp,” while Seattle attorney Kirk Davis told Newsweek, “If the fans thought opening the records would help Depp significantly, they would have.” definitely wrong.”
—camilla (@k4mil1aa) August 2, 2022
-bruce Wayne’s wife (@whatismisandry) July 31, 2022
—Tealariss (@Tealariss) August 2, 2022
—הילה (@lovingheard) July 31, 2022
Mainstream media ‘cherry picking’ information
Insider contacted Burkhart, who declined to be interviewed but issued a statement focusing primarily on the importance of public access to court documents.
“After following this process for over two years, my appreciation for the importance of direct access to court records has grown as prestigious media outlets have been unable or unwilling to accurately and honestly report on the proceedings. inaccurate reporting of these unsealed documents reaffirms the importance of making these materials public so that everyone can judge the content for themselves,” Burkhart said in her statement.
To a Depp supporter Youtube Channel On Wednesday morning, Burkhart expressed the view that the mainstream media was “picking” and “misinterpreting” information from the unsealed documents.
“The funny thing about all of this is that the bottom line really hasn’t changed. The things that were important in the process haven’t been undermined in the least,” Burkhart said.
“It’s kind of a sociological observation to see how these things can be so distorted and so twisted and imagine if we just had the mainstream media telling us what was going on with this stuff,” Burkhart added.
Burkhart then spent much of the hour-long appearance downplaying the seriousness of a series of text messages between Depp and Manson that were included in the unsealed documents.
In one exchange, Manson appears to be offering Depp a groupie.
“My new fan meet and greet girl. Looks like you need it. Trust me. I’ll send a photo,” Manson said in the caption.
In particular, Burkhart characterized this exchange as mere “bro talk.”
“Shocker – these are rock and roll people, I’m sure they pay attention to beautiful women in their entourage,” Burkhart said.