The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial is in recess this week, but to look at social media you might not know it.
The steady stream of hot takes and armchair analysis has continued unabated, and legal experts are still weighing in with predictions for what might be the most buzzed-about celebrity court case since O.J. Simpson’s murder trial.
(Note: We’re not suggesting that anyone in the Depp-Heard situation has done anything on par with a double homicide, merely that the level of obsession over the two trials is comparable.)
Heard took the stand for the first time this week, and her shocking allegations against Depp made headlines in both tabloids and the mainstream press.
In her first day of testimony, the actress claimed that Depp was driven to extreme behaviors by jealousy and paranoia.
She recalled one incident in which he performed a forced cavity search after becoming convinced that she had stolen and hidden his cocaine.
In her second day on the stand, Heard further shocked the jury by describing a fight in which Depp allegedly sexually assaulted her with a glass liquor bottle.
But despite the many dramatic moments that unfolded in the courtroom last week, much of the conversation today has to do with a comment that probably went unnoticed by most casual observers.
Recalling an instance in which she admittedly punched Depp, Heard said she did so to protect her sister, fearing a repeat of an alleged incident in which the actor pushed then-girlfriend Kate Moss down a flight of stairs.
“I don’t hesitate and wait — I instantly think of Kate Moss and stairs," Heard told the court.
It was a passing reference to an event that allegedly took place over 25 years ago — but it could have been a major slip-up for Heard.
According to The New York Post, Depp attorney Benjamin Chew pumped his fist in a “celebratory acknowledgment" of Heard’s error.
“Amber mentioned an ex of Johnny’s that clearly she felt was not supportive of him, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” a source told the outlet.
Yes, it seems that Moss is one of several ex’s of Depp’s who are willing to testify that the actor was never abusive toward them.
And if the model confirms that the rumored staircase incident never happened, then she could single-handedly undermine Heard’s credibility in the eyes of the jury.
Heard previously mentioned the alleged altercation between Depp and Moss when Depp sued UK tabloid The Sun for defamation in 2020.
“I remembered information I had heard [that] he pushed a former girlfriend — I believe it was Kate Moss — down the stairs," she said at the time.
"I had heard this rumor from two people and it was fresh in my mind, the actress said at the time.
Legal experts say that by mentioning Moss in the current trial, Heard has opened the door for Depp’s lawyers to call her to the stand.
“[Moss] is still allegedly friends with Johnny and her testimony wasn’t allowed to come in before because it wasn’t as relevant,” said California entertainment lawyer Mitra Ahouraian.
“That’s one mistake that [Heard] made, was bringing up Kate Moss, which potentially opened the door to [Depp’s team] bringing [Moss] on as an impeachment witness” — and Moss “saying ‘This never happened,’” Ahouraian added.
“You brought up Kate Moss and she wasn’t going to be part of this trial but now she is," former California judge Halim Dhanidina echoed.
“Johnny Depp’s team is going to argue that they should be permitted to call her to debunk any rumor about Johnny Depp pushing [Moss] down stairs,” he continued.
Legal experts say that in addition to calling Heard’s credibility into question, the mention of Moss could open up a "side trial" about the staircase incident that will distract from the main narrative of Heard’s testimony.
We’ll have further updates on this developing story as more information becomes available.