The protracted legal battle between former husband and wife and movie stars Johnny Depp and Amber Heard is full of the kind of drama and twists, and now the story that simply won’t end has cast a new player. Actor James Franco has gotten roped into Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s legal issues, and it seems that it is largely due to being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Johnny Depp’s legal team is expected to subpoena James Franco because of a surveillance video obtained by The Blast, that shows him in an elevator with actress Amber Heard. To understand the relevance of this video though, and why James Franco may now find himself a part of this nasty legal battle between the former couple, it is first necessary to provide some background.
Johnny Depp is suing Amber Heard for defamation of character to the tune of $50 million alleging that the actress’s 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post about sexual violence got him fired from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Although the op-ed doesn’t mention him by name, Johnny Depp and his lawyers have argued that it and her abuse allegations are all part of an “elaborate hoax” meant to advance her career.
In May 23 of 2016, Amber Heard filed for divorce from Johnny Depp after 15 months of marriage following an explosive fight between the two said to have taken place on May 21. The fight was allegedly physical in nature, with Amber Heard alleging abuse on the part of Johnny Depp that left her with bruises on her face and body.
On May 27, the actress was granted a temporary restraining order against Johnny Depp, who has claimed innocence and that Amber Heard’s wounds were “painted on” and meant to garner public support for the actress. Those dates are important to why James Franco may find himself part of this legal battle.
In 2016, James Franco apparently lived in the same apartment complex as the apartment that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard shared together. The surveillance video from the apartment complex allegedly shows James Franco entering an elevator with Amber Heard late on May 22, 2016, the day after the fight that ended Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s marriage and the day before the actress filed for divorce.
According to The Blast, Johnny Depp’s lawyers will subpoena James Franco to sit for a deposition in the defamation lawsuit to question if the actress had any visible injuries on her face from the fight that took place the night before or if James Franco and Amber Heard discussed it at all.
So basically, if the bruises, that Johnny Depp’s lawyers say were painted on, were present when the actress filed for a restraining order on May 27, they should have been visible to James Franco the night after the fight on May 22 or so the thinking goes for Johnny Depp's side. Johnny Depp’s legal team is also interested in speaking with Elon Musk, because he too allegedly saw Amber Heard’s face in this time period.
In response to this development, Amber Heard’s attorney’s told E! News that the video is irrelevant and that Amber Heard and James Franco were just taking an elevator at the same time because they lived in the same apartment complex. There is no word from James Franco or his representatives on this matter at this time.
The trial date for the defamation suit is set for February 3, 2020, with the judge setting aside 12-days for the case.