Amber Heard could face perjury investigation after admitting she didn’t donate divorce money, legal experts say

Amber Heard perjury.
Amber Heard could face a perjury investigation, according to legal experts. Pic credit: © Silbiger/CNP/AdMedia

Things got tense with Amber Heard in court as Johnny Depp’s lawyer grilled the actress about a $7 million donation she was supposed to make to charity. 

After she and Pirates of the Caribbean actor Johnny Depp divorced in 2016, Amber claimed that she did not want Johnny’s money. Instead, she said she wanted to donate her $7 million divorce settlement, split equally between the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Amber has testified in her current defamation trial that she was unable to donate the majority of the money because Johnny sued her. However, she said under oath during Johnny’s previous libel case in the UK High Court that she had already made the donation.

Some commentators now say she could face a perjury probe over allegations she lied under oath, but legal experts admitted this would be hard to prove and that she would likely not end up being prosecuted for it.

Amber Heard says she has not donated all of the $7 million she pledged

During her testimony, Amber Heard addressed the charity donations and explained why she has not yet made them.

Johnny Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez tackled the issue with Amber head-on.

She asked, “As of today, you have not paid $3.5 million of your own money to the ACLU,” and “As of today you have not paid $3.5 million of your own money to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles?” 

Amber replied, “I have not yet. Johnny sued me.”

However, she continued by saying that she planned to honor her commitments once she is no longer being sued by Johnny.

She said, “I fully intend to honor all of my pledges. I would love for him to stop suing me so I can.”

Johnny lost a libel case against UK newspaper The Sun in November 2020 and during that trial, Amber testified under oath that she had donated the settlement.

Perjury is defined as “The offense of willfully telling an untruth in a court after having taken an oath or affirmation.”

However, perjury can be hard to prove because the prosecution must show that the person in question intentionally lied under oath.

Lawyer Sean Caulfield, a partner at the law firm Hodge, Jones and Allen, told MailOnline, that Amber could in theory face a police probe.

“While it may not be a central issue to the case [the donations], perjury is the single biggest threat and cuts to the core of our justice system,” he said. “So the police may be invited to investigate to show that any member of the public who lies to the court can be prosecuted for perjury.”

However, he said perjury is notoriously difficult to prove, and another legal expert said a probe was unlikely to result in a prosecution because lawyers would have to prove she knew what she said was false.

Lawyer Mark Stephens told the outlet, “It is notoriously difficult to bring and prosecute a perjury case. You have to show that someone deliberately told an untruth as opposed to them being confused or misremembering. I think it would be a very difficult thing to do.

“Police could investigate it, but they probably would not prosecute it.”

Johnny Depp sues Amber Heard for defamation

Johnny Depp filed a $50 million lawsuit against Amber Heard in 2019 for defamation. The suit came because, in December 2018, Amber Heard wrote an article for The Washington Post and referred to herself in the article as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” 

Amber countersued for $100 million and claimed Johnny used the media to discredit her.

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