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Live Updates: Johnny Depp-Amber Heard Trial



Source: NBC News

The trial is nearing its end with testimony expected to end next week and closing arguments set for Friday, May 27.

Depp’s former attorney declines to elaborate on Daily Mail comments

Adam Waldman, Depp’s former attorney, claimed attorney-client privilege when asked questions about the comments he made in the Daily Mail that Heard’s abuse allegations are a “hoax.”

Those three statements to the Daily Mail made in 2020 are the center of Heard’s countersuit against Depp. Waldman admitted to making the comments quoted to him by Heard’s attorney.

“Did you make these statements on Mr. Depp’s behalf?” Heard’s attorney asked.

Waldman was instructed not to answer to protect communications made under attorney-client privilege.

“What were you trying to convey to the press making these statements?” Heard’s attorney asked.

Waldman was instructed not to answer to protect communications made under attorney-client privilege.

“Did you discuss these statements with Mr. Depp before making these statements?” Heard’s attorney asked.

Waldman was instructed not to answer to protect communications made under attorney-client privilege.

“Was Mr. Depp aware either before or after that you were making these statements?” Heard’s attorney asked.

Waldman was instructed not to answer to protect communications made under attorney-client privilege.

“Did Mr. Depp ever ask you to retract or correct these statements?” Heard’s attorney asked.

Waldman was instructed not to answer to protect communications made under attorney-client privilege.

Depp’s former attorney addresses Twitter suspension

Johnny Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman said during a February video deposition that he was suspended from Twitter “for life.”

Waldman was asked about having a Twitter account. He said he previously had one, but was unable to pinpoint exactly how long he had it for or when he created an account.

He said he was suspended from the social media platform.

“I wrote several letters to Twitter to ask why I was suspended for life from their platform,” he said. In response, he said Twitter told him that he had violated its policies.

Adam Waldman, Depp’s former attorney and subject of countersuit, testifies

Adam Waldman, who represented Depp and claimed Heard’s allegations were a “hoax” in statements to the Daily Mail in 2020, provided video testimony that was played for the court on Thursday.

The video deposition occurred in February 2022, but Waldman was instructed by another member of Depp’s legal team on numerous occasions to not answer certain questions due to attorney-client privilege protections.

Waldman said he met Depp after his divorce settlement with Heard was reached. He said he represented him in his lawsuit against Depp’s former business manager and other suits.

In response to Heard’s attorney saying Waldman had no personal knowledge of Depp and Heard’s relationship, he said, “I wasn’t there if that’s what you mean.”

Speaking generally, Waldman agreed with Heard’s attorney that it is up to a client to determine whether to follow an attorneys advice or not.

Waldman was instructed not to respond to questions about his role in Depp’s lawsuit against The Sun newspaper in the United Kingdom, his interactions with Rolling Stone magazine on behalf of Depp regarding a 2018 interview, and whether it was Depp’s decision to file lawsuits.

Depp became increasingly ‘less filtered’ and erratic, former business manager said

Depp’s former business manager, Joel Mandel, testified that he saw the actor’s behavior became erratic and displayed “disproportionate” reactions to things.

“I felt things were less predictable,” Mandel said. “I felt like you know I was professionally in a place where I never knew day-to-day what to expect.”

Depp’s behavior began to change around 2010, according to Mandel, and at some point it appeared clear to Mandel that Depp’s “use of alcohol and drugs became a daily event,” he said. Depp’s stretches of sobriety helped but that Depp began to express his discontent in an aggressive manner.

Mandel said that Depp became increasingly “less filtered.”

“People moderate their behavior, they might moderate their behavior in public because things are inappropriate in particular settings … my experience was that Mr. Depp became increasingly less constrained,” Mandel said. “Less concerned with whether he was going to upset someone’s feelings or, or just increasingly comfortable venting in an aggressive way when he was upset or disappointed with something.”

Depp’s former business manager testifies on actor’s finances, spending

Joel Mandel, a former business manager who met Depp in around 1999 and worked with him until 2016, testified to Depp’s income and spending during the time they worked together.

Mandel denied accusations that he stole money from Depp or failed to file required tax returns on Depp’s behalf during his testimony. He also testified that he was never charged or found liable for malpractice during his time with Depp.

The former business manager described how Depp’s lifestyle changed as his star began to rise, saying that the increase in income also came with increased spending to maintain a lifestyle.

“I don’t want to fix dates, it’s a long stretch of time,” Mandel said. “But that meant a bigger life, it meant more employees. That meant buying additional property, buying additional personal property … a bigger life and more expensive.”

Depp spent about $10,000 a day on his personal security guard, Jerry Judge, Mandel testified, offering examples of how much Depp’s new lifestyle could cost. During the time Depp employed a personal doctor and nurses to help his sobriety, he spent $100,000 a month.

There became a point when Depp’s income could not longer support his lifestyle, Mandel said, requiring the business manager to require severe cutbacks.

“The spending levels had grown very, very, very large and require that level of incredibly high income to be maintained,” Mandel said. “And when it dropped off, that disconnect became untenable.”

Depp would acknowledge over numerous conversations that changes had to be made, Mandel said, but often commitments to adjust to new circumstances fell short. The actor’s financial situation became relatively dire between July 2015 and when Mandel was terminated in March 2016, Mandel confirmed.

Mandel testified that he was unable to pay Depp’s taxes in October 2015.

“His financial circumstances in 2015 had reached a point where I was extremely concerned and was on a very regular basis was expressing that concern,” Mandel said. “And it seemed as I increased my level of expressing that concern, there was anger directed, you know in my direction. And so, my warnings in 2015 that we were in very dire circumstances were not met very favorably.”


Pope Francis to undergo intestinal surgery and will be hospitalized for several days




Pope Francis went to the hospital on Wednesday for surgery on his intestine, two years after he had 33 centimeters (13 inches) of his colon removed because of an inflammation and narrowing of the large intestine.

The Vatican said Francis, 86, would be put under general anesthesia and would be hospitalized for several days.

Pope Francis appeared at his weekly general audience on Wednesday, a day after he went to the hospital for a checkup.

The Vatican provided no details about the medical tests Francis underwent on Tuesday at Rome’s Gemelli hospital. Francis, 86, appeared in good form, though, at his audience in St. Peter’s Square, zipping around the square in his popemobile greeting the faithful. He also had two meetings Wednesday morning beforehand, the Vatican said.

Francis spent three days at the Gemelli hospital in late March. Initially, the Vatican said he had gone in for scheduled tests, but the pontiff later revealed he had felt pain in his chest and was rushed to the hospital where bronchitis was diagnosed. He was put on intravenous antibiotics and was released April 1, quipping that he was “still alive.”

The Argentine pope had part of one lung removed when he was a young man. He also suffers from sciatica nerve pain and has been using a wheelchair and walker for more than a year because of strained ligaments in his knee.

Francis has had a packed schedule of late, with multiple audiences each day. The Vatican has recently confirmed a travel-filled August, when the Holy See and Italy are usually on vacation, with a four-day visit to Portugal the first week of August and a similarly long trip to Mongolia starting Aug. 31.

In a sign that the trips were very much on, the Vatican on Tuesday released the planned itinerary for Francis’ visit to Portugal for World Youth Day events from Aug. 2-6. The itinerary confirms a typically busy schedule that includes all the protocol meetings of an official state visit plus multiple events with young people and a day trip to the Marian shrine at Fatima.

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My son was born with bulging eyes and totally blind – but baffled doctors don’t know why




A mother is appealing for answers over the mysterious condition which left her son with bulging eyes.

Kobi-Jai Morgan, who is registered blind, was born last March with bruising around his eyes and was unable to open them.

He spent six weeks in hospital, where doctors discovered the structure of his eyes had not fully developed but could not figure out why.

Despite appointments with specialists, medics have been left scratching their heads over what is causing his condition.

His mother, Morgan Nottingham, from Ystalyfera in South Wales, is now desperately searching for answers.

The 24-year-old’s labour was induced in last spring at a hospital in Bridgend, where she had a difficult delivery.

Kobi-Jai was then transferred to a neonatal intensive care unit at Singleton Hospital in Swansea and put on ventilation and a feeding tube.

As well as bruising around the eyes, he had a large hole in his heart and a floppy larynx — the tube that helps carry air to the lungs and contains vocal cords.

His unknown condition means his eyes are light-sensitive and he spends a lot of time in discomfort.

As a result, he sometimes scratches his eye and pushes his eyelids towards his eyebrows when they are irritated.

His mother administers four different types of eye drops to Kobi’s eyes every day and he wears specialist transparent glasses made by Cardiff University.

The 15-month-old has been to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and visited private specialists — but still does not have a diagnosis.

However, tests show that he can see some light and shadows.

Ms Nottingham said: ‘We’ve come to terms with the fact that he might not have his vision for life. But we get looks as it is.

‘He has bulgy eyes and the bottom of his eyes scrape across his cheek. He doesn’t realise while he’s little but it’s really sad, bless him.’

Kobi-Jai can now tell his mother when his eyes are bothering him.

She added: ‘He cannot carry on with his eyes like that. There has to be someone out there that knows something.

‘This is completely new to us. When he starts going to school — you know what kids are like. He has children coming up to him already and saying: “Oh mammy he looks scary”. I want answers.’

Ms Nottingham called for more research and resources that could help Kobi-Jai.

She said: ‘At the moment we have found no blind support centres, schools or sensory classes locally. The closest specialist school is in Birmingham.

‘We want to bring more awareness and help and support other parents going through the same thing. We’re all learning.’

A fundraiser set up to support Kobi’s medical care has raised over £12,500.

Family friends have organised a 12-hour charity walk, five-a-side football tournament and bike ride in a bid to raise more funds to help with his care.

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US actor Danny Masterson found guilty on two rape counts




Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Masterson arrives at the Los Angeles court to learn his fate with his wife, Bijou Phillips

A jury in Los Angeles has found US actor Danny Masterson guilty on two out of three counts of rape.

The star of That ’70s Show, a TV series, faces up to 30 years in prison. He was led from court in handcuffs.

Three women, all former members of the Church of Scientology, accused the actor of sexual assault at his Hollywood home from 2001-03.

Prosecutors argued Masterson had relied on his status as a prominent Scientologist to avoid accountability.

The jury of seven women and five men was unable to reach a verdict on a third count after a week of deliberations, ending up deadlocked at 8-4.

One of his victims, who was raped in 2003, said in a statement quoted by the Associated Press: “I am experiencing a complex array of emotions – relief, exhaustion, strength, sadness – knowing that my abuser, Danny Masterson, will face accountability for his criminal behavior.”

Masterson’s wife, actress and model Bijou Phillips, wept as he was led away, CBS News reports. Other family and friends sat stone-faced.

Another jury in an earlier trial was unable to reach a verdict in December 2022.

Prosecutors chose to retry Masterson and this time the judge allowed attorneys to present new evidence that had been barred from the first trial.

Though the actor was not charged with drugging his victims, the jury heard testimony that the women had been dosed before he raped them.

Masterson was first accused of rape in 2017 during the height of the #MeToo movement. He responded by saying that he had not been charged or convicted of a crime, and that in the climate at the time “it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused”.

Charges came after a three-year investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department. Prosecutors did not file charges in two other cases because of insufficient evidence and the statute of limitations expiring.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors argued that the Church of Scientology had helped cover up the assaults – an allegation the organisation has categorically denied.

At the time of the assaults, Masterson and all three of his accusers were Scientologists. Several of the women said it took them years to come forward because Church of Scientology officials discouraged them from reporting the rape to police.

Instead, they were forced to rely on the Church’s “internal justice system”, prosecutors said.

Scientology officials told one survivor she would be kicked out of the Church unless she signed a non-disclosure agreement and accepted a payment of $400,000 (£320,000), according to prosecutors.

Judge Charlaine Olmedo allowed both sides to discuss the dogma and practices of Scientology.

But Deputy District Attorney Ariel Anson told jurors during the trial: “The Church taught his victims, ‘Rape isn’t rape, you caused this, and above all, you are never allowed to go to law enforcement.'”

Throughout the trial, the defence tried to undermine the credibility of the “Jane Does” by focusing on inconsistencies in their testimony and their supposed drive to get “revenge” against their former Church.

During closing arguments, Masterson’s defence lawyer said of the survivors: “If you are looking for motives why people are not being truthful… there are motives all over the place.”

Although the Church of Scientology was not a defendant in the case, before closing arguments began, a lawyer with ties to the Church emailed the district attorney’s office to complain about the way the Church was portrayed during the retrial.

The defence also argued that the prosecution had relied heavily on testimony about drugging because there was an absence of evidence of any force or violence.

Masterson’s lawyers tried, unsuccessfully, to have a mistrial declared.

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