Amber Heard finds herself at the center of controversy and legal troubles yet again, as Australian authorities have revealed that she is being actively investigated for perjury concerning the 2015 dog smuggling incident.
Back in 2015, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard had plans to travel to Australia, where Depp was filming Pirates of the Caribbean 5. Their two teacup Yorkshire terriers, Pistol and Boo, came along for the journey in their private jet, to the dismay of the Australian government, which has extremely strict biosecurity laws.
While Heard was supposed to declare the animals with customs so they could be quarantined for the mandatory 10 days, she never did, even checking a box on immigration forms that said she was not traveling with dogs. This is a clear violation of Australian law, which carries harsh penalties, including a maximum of 10 years in prison and even euthanasian of the dogs. So, why would Heard take such a big risk and why is this case from seven years ago suddenly being re-investigated?
The Dog Smuggling Incident and the Public Fallout
Despite the steep penalty for breaking Australia’s biosecurity laws, Heard and Depp brought the pups along anyway and likely would have even gotten away with it if it weren’t for one mistake. Heard brought the dogs to a dog grooming salon called Happy Dogz in Gold Coast, Australia, and the business ended up spilling the beans on social media that Pistol and Boo were in the country. One of the dog groomers took to Instagram to post a photo holding the pups, announcing that they were honored to care for the celebs’ dogs. This caught the attention of Australian Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce, who was furious to find American celebrities defying Australian law.
Australia has successfully avoided many diseases that are prevalent around the world, including rabies, due to their strict biosecurity and quarantine laws, but the public attention of a celebrity couple blatantly defying these laws drew concern that others might follow suit. Joyce didn’t want to set an example that rich celebrities can skirt the law just because of their influence and status, so he gave the couple an ultimatum. Pistol and Boo were given a 72-hour notice, with Joyce stating on ABC News, "Mr. Depp has to either take his dogs back to California or we're going to have to euthanize them. He's now got about 50 hours left to remove the dogs.”
Violating Australia’s biosecurity laws can result in prison, as well as the euthanasian of the animals.
While thankfully nothing happened to the dogs once they were sent back to the United States, Heard was charged with two counts of illegal importation of the dogs and one count of falsifying documents. Not only were the dogs not declared or quarantined, but they also didn’t have the proper necessary permits. Suddenly, Heard was facing up to 10 years in prison and over a hundred thousand dollars in fines. Heard and Depp then made a very awkward video where they issued an apology to Australia for breaking their laws, but it came off as very disingenuous and strange and was widely mocked. Many joked that Depp seemed like he was being held hostage – a joke that takes on a whole new context in light of the two trials that have since taken place against his ex-wife’s allegations.
Amber Heard Got Off Easy Back in 2015
Heard’s lawyer explained to the Australian authorities that there was no attempt to deceive and that the paperwork simply slipped through the cracks because Heard was jetlagged and “concerned about a finger injury Depp had suffered while filming” and she assumed that Depp had sorted out the paperwork. However, the authorities accepted this explanation and allowed Heard to plead guilty to a lesser charge of falsifying an immigration document and gave her an $1,000 one-month good behavior bond and no conviction on her record. It’s worth noting that the injury she’s speaking about is the notorious incident where Depp lost the tip of his finger from what he says was a vodka bottle that Heard herself hurled at him. Audio recordings online that were not admitted in the Virginia trial show Heard seemingly acknowledging and admitting to cutting his finger with the vodka bottle.
Dr. Kipper is overheard talking to nurse Debbie Loyd as they’re responding to the scene where Depp’s finger had been severed. Dr. Kipper says that Heard threw a bottle at Depp and shattered the bone, as the two are heard scurrying around the penthouse looking for the tip of his finger. You can hear Heard crying hysterically and wailing that she "never meant to hurt him," that she “didn't do it on purpose," and repeatedly saying she's sorry. Dr. Kipper then says, “I told Ben we'd cover if the police investigate" as he tries to calm Heard down by advising Loyd to administer a dose of Seroquel, which is an antipsychotic medication. He advises her to give her a higher dose than usual to calm her down.
Kevin Murphy Says Heard Blackmailed Him and Tried To Pin the Blame on Her Assistant
If you’re wondering why it was Heard who was charged and not Depp, it’s because Depp seemed to have no idea about the dogs being smuggled in – at least not initially. Depp was already in Australia filming POTC 5 when Heard was flying on his private jet along with the dogs to spend time with him. Kevin Murphy, who was Depp’s estate manager, was the one who was tasked with the responsibility of finding a way to get the dogs into Australia. In court documents, Murphy says he hired the agency All Pet Travel to facilitate the paperwork and he scheduled all veterinary work that needed to be done like vaccinations. When it became clear to Murphy that time constraints would prevent the dogs from receiving all of their mandatory vaccinations and other requirements, he says he contacted Amber Heard through phone, email, and in-person about his concerns. She pleaded for Murphy to find any other way to get the dogs into Australia, at which Murphy investigated further but found the only valid option would be for the dogs to fly cargo on a different flight, which Heard would not accept.
Murphy was tasked with canceling the contract with All Pet Travel after conversing with Heard and determining the paperwork would not be filed in time for the dogs to travel to Australia. Murphy says he was very clear about his warning to Heard about the consequences of taking the dogs into the country without the proper paperwork and vaccinations, insisting that Australia was unlike any other country that they had sent the dogs to before and that there was a strict process with very serious penalties including jail time and euthanizing the dogs. He says he was forward with Heard and several other people in charge of Depp’s affairs about these concerns because she had previously snuck dogs into the Bahamas without the proper paperwork and vaccinations. Because of this, there was a “heightened awareness” about the proper paperwork being in place for future trips.
Amber Heard had previously snuck the dogs into the Bahamas without the proper paperwork.
Murphy then learned that Heard had taken the dogs to Australia despite his warnings. Upon facing legal ramifications for her decision to smuggle the dogs into the country, Heard attempted to procure a false statement from her assistant Kate James, whom she had recently fired, wanting her to lie for her under oath to the Australian court which was prosecuting her. Heard's attorney Marty Singer emailed her this message, "If you could get Kate to sign a statement, it could be helpful. I don't know what your relationship with her is at this time since you fired her. You will have to be careful that she will cooperate and will not go public if you ask her not to be truthful."
Heard emailed back saying she would reach out to Kevin [Murphy] to liaise with Kate [James], and an email forwarded to Murphy reads, "Kevin, do you think you could get her to do it?" One of Heard’s other lawyers emailed Singer, "The only thing we are missing is evidence of the process being initiated however not completed and therefore the dogs weren't taking [sic] on the trip. That is obviously harder to prove since it involves documenting something that DIDN'T happen. However, since I know we attempted to bring them at least once before the Australian trip, I can ask Kate to include that in her statement if that would be helpful?" and Singer replied, “That would be great.”
Ultimately, the decision to rely on a false statement made by a fired assistant was deemed too risky, so Heard demanded that Murphy make false statements under oath to cover for her, to which Murphy expressed his discomfort and that he wouldn’t ask James to provide a false statement. Heard threatened Murphy's job if he didn't comply, saying, "Well I want your help on this…I wouldn't want you to have a problem with your job." Facing threats against his job, Murphy reluctantly agreed to sign a declaration for the Australian proceedings endorsing Heard's false explanation for the dogs ending up in the country. The statements included pawning the blame off to Heard's former assistant Kate James, insisting that she was responsible for the paperwork but that she failed to complete it without Heard's knowledge.
Once Heard filed for divorce against Depp, Murphy no longer felt comfortable having false statements on record and sought legal advice to pursue retracting his declaration now that Heard could not threaten his job security. However, the legal costs became too steep to continue pursuing the matter. Murphy insists Depp never wanted the dogs to travel because they would be in the hands of better care in California – it was only Heard who wanted the dogs to travel.
Amber Heard Shows Repeated Behavior of Lack of Remorse and Duper’s Delight
Heard has consistently shown that she views herself to be above the law and takes every opportunity to gloat about getting away with duping people. Regarding the Australian dog smuggling incident, Heard has been publicly mocking Barnaby Joyce and Australia for years. Joyce was the Australian Agricultural Minister who threatened to euthanize their dogs if they didn’t remove them and later ridiculed their apology video for lacking sincerity. The apology video was cited by Heard’s lawyer as evidence of the remorse she felt for the incident, causing some to question the sincerity of the move. Back in 2015, she threw digs at Joyce in multiple interviews, claiming that he was looking for his 15 minutes of fame.
Amber Heard has been publicly mocking Barnaby Joyce and Australia for years since the incident.
In another interview when she was asked about the dogs, she said, “They are good, despite attempts by certain rogue, thug Australian government officials. They are alright.” When Joyce found himself in hot water upon the public learning he was a dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand, which is a violation of Australian constitutional law, Heard took to Twitter to say, “when @BarnabyJoyce said ‘no one is above the law’ I didn’t realize he meant New Zealand law.” Then, she posted a photo of a box of kiwis with the caption: “To comfort Mr. Joyce in his hour of need, I have sent him a box of New Zealand’s finest kiwi fruit (assuming this passes his biosecurity laws).” In 2018, she mocked the dog smuggling crime once again by posing for a photo pretending to sneak her dog into a Syrian refugee camp with the caption: "What dog?". Then, in 2021, she announced that she named her new dog Barnaby Joyce.
Implications of Investigation
In light of the two trials in the UK and Virginia that have subsequently taken place since the dog smuggling incident, Australia has revealed they are once again actively investigating Amber Heard for perjury. There have been reports that there may be an active investigation, but the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment has just confirmed that the investigation is ongoing. In fact, things might be rolling already, considering Depp’s former lawyer Adam Waldman has just touched down in Australia, according to comments he made on his last Instagram post. What he’s doing there is unconfirmed but many suspect that he’s there to help authorities convict Heard with the information he has from her provided testimony.
Kevin Murphy may also be asked to provide statements since it was his testimony in previous trials that revealed he was pressured by Heard to give false statements under the threat of losing his job. Heard’s credibility has now been shot since being found guilty of defamation with malice in Virginia, which now calls into question her previous statements provided to the Australian government. In addition to being found guilty of defamation, she was caught in a gigantic lie when it was revealed that she never donated the $7 million divorce settlement that she claimed she donated in its entirety to charity. The punishment for perjury in Queensland, Australia is up to 14 years in prison. While she may not be extradited to Australia, this may mean that she needs to avoid traveling to the country if she doesn’t want to be arrested upon arrival.
In Johnny Depp’s 2020 UK trial against The Sun, Amber Heard’s credibility was called into question when it came to charges of illegally smuggling dogs into Australia. However, the judge ultimately determined that this did not affect her credibility, especially because some of the charges were dropped. However, if Heard ends up being convicted of perjury in Australia, this opens up the door for Depp to appeal the UK verdict. After all, a large basis for the verdict in the UK was that Heard did not lie in Australia and did not lie about donating the divorce settlement, and those claims are falling like a house of cards. The Black Belt Barrister has started a Change.org petition to reopen the UK appeal, which almost has 75,000 signatures already.
This investigation will prove to be yet another difficult setback for Heard’s career, which is hanging by a thread following the Virginia judgment against her. She currently owes Depp $10.35 million and is desperately hanging onto her Aquaman 2 role. The release of the film was delayed to 2023. Good thing the film is in post-production, as both Aquaman films were at least partially filmed in Gold Coast, Australia – somewhere Heard might want to be avoiding right now. This poses additional challenges to keeping her in the casting for the third installment of the film series.
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