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Depp ex-employee: Heard asked him to lie in court over dogs

LONDON (AP) — Johnny Depp’s former estate manager said Wednesday that Amber Heard asked him to lie under oath after she was charged with bringing her two dogs to Australia illegally. Kevin Murphy was testifying in Depp’s libel suit against a British tabloid that accused the actor of physically abusing Heard, his ex-wife.

Murphy claimed Heard pressured him to commit perjury about the traveling terriers or risk losing his job. “She wanted me to say essentially that it was my fault in one way or another that the paperwork wasn’t completed, so that I could take the blame for her," Murphy said.

Heard was charged in July 2015 with bringing Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo to the country illegally earlier that year. She pleaded guilty in April 2016 and escaped a conviction after expressing remorse.

In a written witness statement for Depp’s libel case, Murphy said Heard asked him to falsely claim that she didn't know it was illegal to bring the dogs to Australia, which has strict animal quarantine rules. Murphy claimed Heard said “'I want your help on this. I wouldn’t want you to have a problem with your job.'”

Murphy gave evidence to the case at the High Court Wednesday in London by video link from Chicago. He was accused of lying by The Sun’s lawyer, Sasha Wass, who pointed out that he had subsequently made a misleading declaration in the Australian court case. Murphy said he did so at Heard’s request because he was afraid of losing his job.

“Why on Earth did you not go to Mr. Depp to ask him to intervene rather than just lying on oath?” the lawyer asked. Murphy said: “Because Amber wielded a lot of power and would have made my life miserable.”

Heard is due to give evidence in the case later this week. Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, publisher of The Sun, and the paper’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over an April 2018 article that called him a “wife-beater.” He strongly denies abusing Heard.

Depp and Heard give wildly differing accounts of their volatile relationship, which began after they met on the set of the 2011 comedy “The Rum Diary” and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. Heard, a model and actress, filed for divorce the following year, and the divorce was finalized in 2017.

Heard, 34, has made 14 allegations of violence by 57-year-old Depp between 2013 and 2016, in settings including his private island in the Bahamas, a rented house in Australia and a private jet. He denies them all.

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