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Johnny Depp's career and finances were already in serious trouble before his then-wife Amber Heard accused him of domestic violence in 2016, his former agent and business manager testified on Thursday.
Tracey Jacobs, Depp's former agent, said the actor "became the biggest star in the world" during the three decades she represented him in Hollywood.
But the reputation of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star had begun to dim after 2010 because of his "unprofessional behavior," Jacobs said.
The United Talent Agency (UTA) agent made the statements in a videotaped deposition on Day 19 of the defamation suit filed by the 58-year-old Depp against his former wife.
Heard filed for a temporary restraining order against Depp in May 2016, citing domestic violence, and subsequently filed for divorce.
Depp brought suit against Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a "public figure representing domestic abuse."
Heard, who had a starring role in "Aquaman," did not name Depp in the op-ed, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.
The 36-year-old Texas-born Heard countersued, asking for $100 million and claiming she suffered "rampant physical violence and abuse" at his hands.
Depp, during his four days on the witness stand, denied ever striking Heard and claimed that she was the one who was frequently violent.
Depp's lawyers allege that the domestic abuse accusations damaged his reputation but his former agent said his star had already begun to wane before then.
She said Depp's "unprofessional behavior" included drug and alcohol use and "showing up late to set consistently on virtually every movie."
"Crews don't love sitting around for hours and hours and hours waiting for the star of the movie to show up," she said. "It's a small community and it made people reluctant to use him toward the end."
Jacobs also said Depp was in such "financial desperation" in January 2016 that he came to the agency and asked for $20 million.
"The question was not asked as a loan," she said.
Jacobs said her partners told Depp the company was "not a bank" but they did help him secure a loan through Bank of America.
Josh Mandel, Depp's former business manager, was also asked about the actor's financial circumstances.
Mandel said he had become "extremely concerned" about Depp's financial situation in 2015.
There were "constant" conversations with Depp about curbing his spending, he said, but it "never seemed to happen."
"There was no followup," he said.
"It became clear over time that there were issues with alcohol and drugs," he said. "And that translated into more erratic behaviour."
Depp was spending $300,000 a month on full-time staff at one point and another $100,000 a month on a doctor and nurses employed to ensure his sobriety, he said.
Mandel estimated that Depp made around $600 million during the decades that he represented him.
Mandel was fired by Depp in 2016 and subsequently sued by the actor. They settled the case in 2018.
Jacobs was also fired by Depp in 2016.
Asked why Depp fired her, Jacobs said: "I really don't know. All I know is that he terminated essentially everyone in his life."
Depp's lawyers have put experts on the stand who testified that the actor lost millions because of the domestic abuse accusations, including a $22.5-million payday for a sixth installment of "Pirates."
Depp filed the defamation complaint in the United States after losing a separate libel case in London in November 2020 that he brought against The Sun for calling him a "wife-beater."
Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, and Heard met in 2009 on the set of "The Rum Diary" and were married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized two years later.
Judge Penney Azcarate has scheduled closing arguments in the case for May 27, after which it will go to the jury.
Photographic evidence from inside the White House has been obtained by the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"Congressional investigators have obtained a batch of official White House photographs, including images taken on Jan. 6, 2021, according to two sources familiar with the evidence," Politico reported Thursday. "At least some of the photos were taken by official White House photographer Shealah Craighead, the sources indicated. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson confirmed that the panel had obtained some of Craighead’s photos, though he declined to describe their content."
Trump reportedly sought a cut of Craighead's book on her time in the administration.
"The panel has been amassing evidence of Trump’s movements and actions that day, attempting to reconstruct a minute-by-minute account of what the former president was doing while rioters smashed through police lines and disrupted the counting of electoral votes — the last step in finalizing Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory before his inauguration," Politico reported. "In addition to material from the Archives, committee investigators have interviewed nearly all attendees of Trump’s 11:10 a.m. Oval Office meeting including Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Kimberly Guilfoyle."
Trump reportedly spoke to then-Vice President Mike Pence at 11:20 a.m.
“Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution,” Trump tweeted at 2.24 p.m.
"The select committee increasingly views that tweet as a catalyst of the day’s worst violence," Politico reported. "Multiple defendants charged with breaching the Capitol pointed to that tweet as a driver of the mob’s fury. Video footage captured by news media and taken by rioters themselves shows the crowd reacting to the tweet, which posted 10 minutes after the first wave of people entered the Capitol through a window shattered by a rioter wielding a stolen police shield."
Read the full report.
The chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party has apologized for a campaign video shown at the recent state party convention that showed Jewish Holocaust survivor George Soros as a puppetmaster controlling Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, who is also Jewish.
The puppetmaster motif, which was used in a campaign video for GOP-endorsed secretary of state candidate Kim Crockett, is an antisemitic theme long employed to stir suspicion and hatred toward Jewish people.
It drew coverage earlier this week from the Jerusalem Post.
David Hann, the GOP chair, said in a statement that he spoke to the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota, and “We wish to assure our friends in the Jewish community that the image was not intended to invoke hostility toward the Jewish people. It should not have happened, we apologize, and are committed to working with the JCRC to educate our staff and candidates on antisemitism.”
Hann said he spoke to Crockett and concluded, that “the depiction of Mr. Soros was not intended as antisemitic, and that neither Ms. Crockett nor her creative team were aware that the depiction of a puppet-master invokes an old but persistent antisemitic trope.”
Crockett, who did not immediately respond to a text message, is a graduate of the University of Pennslyvania Carey Law School, where she was a founding member of the school’s Federalist Society chapter, according to her LinkedIn page.
As former GOP operative Michael Brodkorb reported, the state party informed the campaigns prior to the convention that “All content needs to be tested, reviewed, and approved at your campaign rehearsal,” which means party officials saw and approved the video.
It’s unclear who produced the video.
Crockett’s campaign has paid Nativ3 Digital Marketing nearly $21,000, but Max Rymer, the company’s president, said the firm “definitely, definitely, definitely” had nothing to do with the Soros video. The company created the campaign’s website and has made social media content.
He said a volunteer produced the video, which Rymer said, “ain’t exactly Hollywood (quality.)”
This is not the first time Crockett has been accused of bigotry.
She previously apologized for comments she made to a New York Times reporter about East African immigrants coming to Minnesota.
“These aren’t people coming from Norway, let’s put it that way. These people are very visible,” she said in 2019, in an article that led her to leave her post at the local conservative outfit Center of the American Experiment.
However, in a recent video posted by Brodkorb, Crockett disavowed earlier apologies. “I would say everything today that I said in 2019,” she said. Her comments were merely taken out of context, she said.
Deena Winter contributed reporting.
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