An unusual moment took place during the fraught public defamation trial between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, when Depp’s former doorman was seen vaping and driving a car during his testimony.
In a recorded deposition shown in the courtroom on April 27, 2022, Romero responded to questions about Heard and Depp — who lived in a Los Angeles apartment building during the years 2015 and 2016 — while vaping and driving at the same time. The testimony was recorded in January 2021.
Romero described the time Heard asked him to investigate a possible intruder at the Los Angeles apartment building, where he worked as a doorman. He said he believed the intruder was just their dog scratching at the door.
“They were talking about someone trying to get into their unit, and in my head I was saying ‘you really think someone is trying to get into your unit?’,” Romero said. “There’s scratches four inches above the floor on your door. That was a dog trying to get into your unit. […] They were so afraid – I actually went. They asked me to go inside the unit just to check room by room to make sure that no one was actually there.”
He also expressed his frustration with the trial, saying he didn’t “want to deal with this any more.”
As he spoke, he was vaping and driving. After the video of his deposition was over, Judge Penney Azcarate looked visibly bemused, and members of the jury were heard laughing through the recording. Azcarate was seen taking her glasses off and shaking her head.
“Alright … that was a first, I’m sorry,” she said after a pause.
Elaine Bredehoft, Heard’s lawyer, said, “I will say your honour that was the most bizarre deposition…”
Azcarate then said, “Yeah, OK, I just got to say I’ve never seen that before. I’ve seen a lot of things, but I’ve never seen that.”
The full deposition can be seen here:
Romero’s deposition was part of a trial — expected to last six weeks — between the two formerly married actors that started on April 12, 2022, in Fairfax, Virginia. In 2019 Depp filed a defamation lawsuit against Heard because of an op-ed she wrote about domestic abuse in 2018, in which she did not name him but described a timeline that coincided with their divorce. Depp, however, said the article irreparably damaged his career. The former couple has been caught up in a messy series of lawsuits and public accusations about domestic abuse since their divorce in 2016.
Front Desk Employee Testifies on Penthouse Incident (Makes Johnny Laugh). www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RveD76lb0eA. Accessed 28 Apr. 2022.
Thomas, Tobi. “Doorman Witness Vapes and Drives during Testimony in Depp v Heard Trial.” The Guardian, 28 Apr. 2022. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/apr/28/doorman-witness-vapes-and-drives-during-testimony-in-depp-v-heard-trial. Accessed 28 Apr. 2022.
“What to Know About Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s Defamation Trial.” Time, https://time.com/6171006/johnny-depp-amber-heard-trial/. Accessed 28 Apr. 2022.
Witness Vapes & Starts Driving During Testimony. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l04R6SEtBY. Accessed 28 Apr. 2022.