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Why Johnny Depp Should Be 'Very Concerned' Over Video Showing Alleged Fight with Amber Heard – PEOPLE

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A new video allegedly showing a fight between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard could have a major impact on the estranged couple’s upcoming divorce battle, according to a legal expert.
The video, which was obtained by TMZ, apparently shows the 53-year-old actor throwing a wine bottle and a glass in a kitchen. It was reportedly filmed months before the 30-year-old actress was granted a temporary domestic violence restraining order against Depp and filed for divorce. Heard denied releasing the tape in a statement to PEOPLE but otherwise both sides have declined to comment.
While the video could have serious ramifications in court, L.A. family law expert Steve Mindel tells PEOPLE, “The first question is whether or not it can be authenticated.”
According to TMZ, Heard recorded the video herself but sources close to Depp say the leaked footage is “heavily edited.” Though the portion leaked is a steady shot without any cuts, there allegedly are portions of the tape where Heard can be “seen smiling and egging him on,” the website claims.
“Because video can be manipulated, the court needs to decide if it’s authentic,” Mindel continues. “So whoever shot the video, allegedly Heard in this case, has to be able to explain how they shot it and all the little things that have been done to it since. There’s a lot you can do to change the video, some people still don’t believe we landed on the moon.”
If the video is determined to be authentic, “then the second second step is to sort out privacy issues. We have a right to privacy but not in public spaces. So if you’re inside your house, you have the right to privacy. But if you’re on the street yelling at your wife or husband, that probably isn’t protected.”
Because the State of California requires all-party consent when recording conversations, the court will also need to determine if Depp was aware he was being recorded and consented to continue the conversation anyway. In the video, it appears Depp does not realize he’s being filmed until the end of the recording, when he seems to notice Heard’s camera and says, “Oh you got this going? Oh really…” before the video abruptly ends.
“If it was being recorded on something like a hidden camera or nanny cam, that could be inadmissible,” says Mindel. However, the court might decide otherwise because it seems Heard was holding her camera phone in plain site.
Mindel says he’s “tried many court cases where video evidence was thrown out because it was found to be heavily edited.” But in those situations, the lawyer says often times each side will be allowed to show still frames from the video in question. “Even if the full video doesn’t get in, the still frames are likely still admissible,” he explains. “It’s the same thing as taking a picture: You don’t have to show every single picture you have on your camera, so you can also pick and choose which frames of the video you want to show.”
But whether it’s still frames or video, any evidence showing Depp’s alleged temper could be detrimental to his case. “Strategically, any time you’re angry or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that doesn’t play well to you, it just helps her credibility,” says Mindel.
“She’s trying to show an angry side to him that people don’t usually see,” he adds. “So if she can say, ‘Your honor, you haven’t seen his angry face like I have,’ and then she can point to these tapes or frames and show the court his angry face – especially if he’s really angry in an uncontrolled way – then that’s not good for Depp.
“So having a video that verifies something you’ve been saying to the court can be really persuasive to a judge,” adds Mindel. “[Depp] would have to be very concerned about any video tapes. Not to mention just that these could be very harmful to his reputation.”
It remains unclear if the tape is one of the many recordings Heard plans to submit as evidence in court in her ongoing divorce battle with Depp.

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Anand works as a work from home journalist based in Trivandrum, Kerala, India. Anand had contributed content for various websites and also worked as a chief technical editor for ASPAlliance.com. He also contributed content for several print magazines like DevPro (formerly asp.netPRO) and his headshot appeared on the front page of the July 2006 issue of the magazine.