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Lawyer says Amber Heard is a hero

Press AssociationPress Association 31/05/2016

Johnny Depp's estranged wife Amber Heard did not come forward sooner with claims she was abused by her husband in an attempt to protect his career, her lawyers have claimed.

Heard has been hailed as a "hero" by her legal team for now speaking out because that silence has been "used against her" and she "cannot continue to leave herself open to vicious false and malicious allegations".

A statement from Heard's legal team claims she suffered "years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of Johnny".

Depp has denied allegations he abused his wife.

Samantha F Spector and her co-counsel Joseph P Koenig said: "As the result of Amber's decision to decline giving an initial statement to the LAPD, her silence has been used against her by Johnny's team.

"Amber did not provide a statement to the LAPD in an attempt to protect her privacy and Johnny's career.

"Johnny's team has forced Amber to give a statement to the LAPD to set the record straight as to the true facts, as she cannot continue to leave herself open to the vicious false and malicious allegations that have infected the media.

"Amber has suffered through years of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of Johnny."

The lawyers said it is not unusual for the perpetrators of domestic violence to miscast the victim as the villain and they claim Depp "desperately" needs help.

The statement said: "In reality, Amber acted no differently than many victims of domestic violence, who think first of the harm that might come to the abuser, rather than the abuse they have already suffered.

"Amber can no longer endure the relentless attacks and outright lies launched against her character in the Court of Public Opinion since the tragic events of May 21.

"With her statement Amber hopes to give the LAPD the opportunity to conduct an accurate and complete investigation into the events of that evening and before.

"If that occurs, and the truth is revealed, there is no doubt that Amber's claims will be substantiated beyond any doubt, and hopefully Johnny will get the help that he so desperately needs."

Ms Spector and Mr Koenig said officers from the Los Angeles Police Department saw the "disarray that Johnny had caused in the apartment" and also the injuries to Heard's face after he allegedly attacked her.

In papers filed with the Los Angeles Superior County Court, Heard, 30, said Depp threw a mobile phone at her at their Los Angeles penthouse, striking her cheek and eye.

The lawyers claim Heard has tried to keep the matter as private as possible after she filed for divorce on May 23 and delayed requesting a domestic violence restraining order because he was out of the country promoting his latest film.

They said: "We took the high road.

"Unfortunately, Johnny's team immediately went to the press and began viciously attacking Amber's character.

"Amber is simply a victim of domestic violence, and none of her actions are motivated by money. Amber is a brave and financially independent woman who is showing the courage of her convictions by doing the right thing against Johnny's relentless army of lawyers and surrogates.

"The Family Law Court is not going to be influenced by misinformation placed in the social media based on anonymous sources. Amber is the victim. Amber is a hero."

Depp has been ordered by a judge to stay away from Heard, who says she lives "in fear" of her husband, who she claims has a "history of drug and alcohol abuse", and has been "verbally and physically abusive" during their 15-month marriage.

In the court papers, Heard wrote: "I endured excessive emotional, verbal and physical abuse from Johnny, which has included angry, hostile, humiliating and threatening assaults to me whenever I questioned his authority or disagreed with him.

"Johnny has a long-held and widely acknowledged public and private history of drug and alcohol abuse. He has a short fuse.

"He is often paranoid and his temper is exceptionally scary for me as it has proven many times to be physically dangerous and/or life threatening to me."

Heard alleged she was attacked by Depp after she celebrated her birthday on April 21 with friends at their penthouse.

She said she then did not see Depp again for another month before he arrived at their property on May 21 "inebriated and high".

After initially having a "peaceful conversation" about his mother's death, she claimed Depp's "demeanour changed dramatically" and he became "extremely angry".

She said: "Johnny then grabbed the cell phone, wound up his arm like a baseball pitcher and threw the cell phone at me, striking my cheek and eye with great force."

In a written response to the court, Depp's lawyer Laura Wasser said Heard's request for a temporary restraining order and financial support "appears to be in response to the negative media attention she received earlier this week".

Depp's mother died three days before Heard filed for divorce.

"Amber is a successful model and actress who earns her own income and is capable of supporting herself," Ms Wasser said.

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