“Terriergate” may not be over after all for Amber Heard.
On Saturday, Oct. 30, a spokesperson for Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment confirmed to E! News that they are “investigating allegations of perjury by Ms. Heard during court proceedings for the 2015 illegal importation of (her) two dogs into Australia.”
This is in regard to a previously closed 2015 court case, in which she was charged with bringing her then-husband Johnny Depp‘s Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country illegally. The spokesperson added in their statement that “the department is seeking to obtain witness statements and once obtained, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions will consider whether the evidence is sufficient to warrant pursuance of the matter.”
The news comes almost a year after one of Depp’s associates testified in the actor’s 2020 libel suit against a British tabloid that Heard asked him to lie under oath after the Aquaman actress was charged with illegally importing the dogs into Australia after flying with them on a private jet without obtaining a permit and without having the pets spend two weeks in quarantine. After Australian’s agriculture minister threatened to have the dogs euthanized unless they “buggered off back to the United States,” Depp and Heard had the dogs flown back, again on a private jet.
Facing the prospect for a maximum 10-year prison sentence, the actress pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of falsifying a travel document to sneak the dogs into the Australia. Her lawyer told the court the actress was jetlagged, worried about a hand injury that Depp suffered during filming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and believed her assistants had sorted out the paperwork for the dogs.
At the time, the attorney said Heard “made a tired, terrible mistake.” An Australian court let the actress off with a one-month $1,000 good behavior bond in April 2016, one month before she filed for divorce from Depp.
Heard’s attorney criticized the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s new investigation against the actress.
“The Court of Depp’s choice – the London High Court of Justice – found that Depp committed at least 12 acts of domestic violence against Amber Heard, causing her at times to fear for her life,” the lawyer said in a statement to E! News Saturday, Oct. 30. “It is truly inconceivable, and we are confident it is not true, that either the Australian Government, or the FBI, would embrace a policy of further pursuing and victimizing a person who has already been adjudicated to be the victim of domestic violence. This is especially true where the exact same claims being reported in the press now were made, unsuccessfully, in the UK High Court.”
Depp lost his libel case against News Group Newspapers, whose tabloid The Sun labelled him a “wife beater.” The London High Court judge ruled the actor had repeatedly violently assaulted Heard, as she said he did during their five-year relationship. The actor was later denied an appeal. He has repeatedly denied her accusations and claimed in a separate $50 million defamation lawsuit against her, which is still pending, that she was the abuser in their relationship.
During the proceedings for the libel case, Depp’s former estate manager, Kevin Murphy, testified about Heard’s charges in Australia, saying that the actress asked him to falsely claim that she didn’t know it was illegal to bring the dogs into the country, which has strict animal quarantine laws.
“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, according to the Associated Press.
He also said the actress told him, “I want your help on this. I wouldn’t want you to have a problem with your job.”
When asked by The Sun‘s lawyer why he didn’t ask Depp to intervene, Murphy said, “Because Amber wielded a lot of power and would have made my life miserable,” the news wire reported.
According to The Daily Mail, Australia’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment responded by reopening their new criminal probe and enlisting the help of the FBI to track down witnesses in the U.S. The FBI has not confirmed the report.
The Daily Mail said Australian investigators have already interviewed Murphy and that he provided a lengthy witness statement and a trove of emails allegedly implicating Heard. The outlet quoted sources close to the investigation as saying the actress could be weeks away from being hit with charges of perjury or subornation of perjury, which involves inducing someone to provide false testimony, and could face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
Depp and Heard’s dog drama marked one of the biggest scandals of their tumultuous relationship. After charges against her were dropped, both she and the actor recorded an awkward apology video that was submitted to the Queensland court and released online. It was heavily mocked by viewers, and by the actor, who weeks later told reporters, “I’m going to do this everywhere I go.”
Months later, Depp joked at a press conference at the Venice Film Festival, “I killed my dogs and ate them under direct orders from some kind of sweaty, big gutted man from Australia.”
—Reporting by Alli Rosembloom
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