Amber Heard’s Hollywood PA has accused her of stealing her experience as a survivor of sexual assault and twisting it into her own story in her battle with Johnny Depp.
Kate James said her former employer had taken elements of her personal account of being raped and used them for her own ends.
The sensational claim came on the seventh day of Mr Depp’s case against The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers (NGN), and its executive editor Dan Wootton over an article from April 2018 alleging he was violent towards Ms Heard, 34, before and during their marriage.
His lawyers say the article suggested there was "overwhelming evidence" Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard on a number of occasions and left her "in fear for her life".
Ms James, who worked as Ms Heard’s personal assistant, arranging her personal and work schedules until her contract was terminated in 2015, revealed she had felt compelled to give evidence in support of Mr Depp’s claim because of her own experience.
Giving evidence via video link from LA, Ms James told the High Court: “I’m a sexual violence survivor and that’s very, very serious to take that story if you’re not one, and I am one, and that’s the reason I’m here."
Ms James said she had told Ms Heard in 2013 that as a young woman she was raped at machete-point in Brazil and that she was recently shocked to discover that Ms Heard had allegedly misrepresented and exploited the incident in a witness statement.
In her witness statement Ms James said: “To my utter shock and dismay, I discovered that Ms Heard had in fact stolen my sexual violence conversation with her and twisted it into her own story to benefit herself.
“This of course caused me extreme distress and outrage that she would dare attempt to use the most harrowing experience of my life as her own narrative”
In court Ms James added: "She referred directly to a violent rape that occurred to me 26 years ago and she twisted it into her own story and she used it for her own use.”
The court was not told which elements of Ms James’ account of being a sex assault survivor where used by Ms Heard or in what way.
The PA - who now works for a senior Hollywood figure in LA - also accused Ms Heard of having a “pool party” with friends after declaring that she had to leave Mr Depp and check into a hotel because he had once again attacked her, this time on a private flight from Boston to LA in May 2014.
Ms Heard had texted her to say: “I have to leave JD - he’s just freaked out on me - he’s drinking again, worse than ever, I need to get out”.
But Ms James, 52, questioned why she needed a hotel when she still had her own apartment in LA to escape to, adding: “I don’t know why she went to the Chateaux [Hotel] with four of her friends and they basically had a pool party all day. They were drinking and swimming and having fun.”
The court was earlier told that Ms Heard “demanded” that a member of Mr Depp’s staff make a false statement to the Australian authorities about their two dogs being smuggled into the country.
Kevin Murphy, who worked as estate manager for Mr Depp for almost eight years, claimed that Ms Heard forced him to declare that she was “unaware” that it would be illegal to take the Yorkshire terriers with her to Australia, despite having "repeatedly" told her that was the case.
The alleged incident took place in October 2015, when Ms Heard faced criminal proceedings for taking the couple's two terriers, Pistol and Boo, into the country illegally.
In a written witness statement Mr Murphy claimed that Ms Heard "demanded verbally that I myself make a false witness statement regarding the dogs' illegal entrance into Australia", leading him to perjure himself to the Australian authorities.
Mr Murphy admitted that he co-operated with Ms Heard's request to provide a statement supporting her account to the Australian authorities that she thought the relevant papers had been completed.
He said: "I expressed that I was extremely uncomfortable with doing so, to which Ms Heard responded with words to the effect of: 'Well I want your help on this ... I wouldn't want you to have a problem with your job'. Ms Heard's threatening language made me feel anxious and uneasy.”
Employee denies lying to protect Depp
Depp's current estate manager who has worked for the star for eight years, denied lying to “absolve'' his boss after telling the court he saw no injuries on Amber Heard after a violent argument at their LA penthouse.
Kevin Murphy said he responded to a text from Ms Heard telling him “maids were needed” at the Eastern Columbia Building after Mr Depp trashed the luxury property on 16 December 2015.
He arrived to find gold-coloured graffiti sprawled across the kitchen countertops and went upstairs to check on Ms Heard, who he found crying on her bed.
But Mr Murphy claimed he became “suspicious” when she told him she had been subjected to a “very violent” attack because she appeared to have no signs of physical injury.
Ms Heard claims that during the alleged attack Mr Depp ripped out her hair and threw her onto a bed so forcefully the frame splintered and broke.
Mr Murphy told the High Court the bed was broken, but added: "I saw she had no bruises, no marks, no scratches, no signs of physical confrontation that she said was very violent.
“I remember her not having any marks... No scratches no contusions, none of the marks she described to me."
Lawyer Ms Wass said: “I suggest you're lying about that to number one discredit her and number two absolve Mr Depp from the accusations that he faces.”
Mr Murphy replied: “That is incorrect.”
In his witness statement Mr Murphy said that he had taken photographs of the scene because he was suspicious of her claim that Mr Depp had pulled hair from her head the previous evening.
He added: “I was subsequently shocked to see a photo on the internet which had been produced by Ms Heard, showing the hair she claimed had been pulled out by Mr Depp and an injury to her head.
“When I compared this to the photograph I had taken on my own mobile phone, the hair looked quite different to the hair in the photograph Ms Heard had presented as evidence.”
Former fiancee to back star in court
The evidence from the two employees came on the day that Depp's former fiancee and fellow Hollywood star Winona Ryder had been set to appear in support of his libel claim.
Ms Ryder, 48, who recently starred in Stranger Things and who had a relationship with Mr Depp in the 1990s, was due to give evidence in support of the actor's case over a video link from Los Angeles.
In a witness statement, part of which was revealed in court at preliminary hearing in the case, Ms Ryder stated: "I cannot wrap my head around (Ms Heard's) accusations.
"He was never, never violent towards me. He was never, never abusive at all towards me."
The court has previously heard Mr Depp had a "Winona Forever" tattoo when the pair were an item, which he later changed to "Wino Forever" and which Ms Heard is alleged to have mocked in light of him failing to give up drink and drugs.
The court was also due to hear from Katherine Kendall, the actress and advocate for the #MeToo movement, who claims she was "misquoted" in The Sun's article.
In court documents, Mr Depp's lawyers said Ms Kendall will give evidence to explain her anger that the article was presented as if she was "endorsing" a comparison between the actor and the disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein.
In a complaint to the newspaper, Ms Kendall wrote: "I never meant to be in an article that called Johnny Depp a 'wife beater'. I told you that I didn't know that to be true at all! I have heard SEVERAL times that she was in fact abusive to him. He's never been a convicted 'wife beater'.
"It seems that the whole article was about defaming him. I said over and over that I didn't KNOW that he had caused her harm.
"Even a picture only makes it 'seem' so. I'm telling you that you misquoted me and intentionally took things I said out of context in what I now realise was your purpose in defaming Johnny Depp.
"I told you I have heard Amber Heard hit him, which is why as you know I don't condone 'any' violence. You have improperly tried to use the £MeToo movement for your purposes by using me in this way."
The Pirates Of The Caribbean star is suing NGN and Mr Wootton over the publication of an article on April 27 2018 with the headline: "Gone Potty: How can JK Rowling be 'genuinely happy' casting wife beater Johnny Depp in the new Fantastic Beasts film?"
His lawyers say the article bore the meaning there was "overwhelming evidence" Mr Depp assaulted Ms Heard on a number of occasions and left her "in fear for her life".
Ms Heard claims that, during the incident in Australia, she was subjected to a "three-day hostage situation" during which Mr Depp drank copiously and took controlled drugs.
NGN is defending the article as true, and says Mr Depp was "controlling and verbally and physically abusive towards Ms Heard, particularly when he was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs".
One of worst of the 14 incidents of violence alleged by Ms Heard was a three-day ordeal of physical and verbal abuse inflicted on her by Mr Depp while he was high on drink and drugs during the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean in Australia.
The actor allegedly smashed Amber Heard’s head against a fridge twice, slapped her and threatened to stub a cigarette out on his own face, during a sustained period of violence in March 2015.
The actor’s drug and drink fuelled rage allegedly culminated in him smashing up the rented house he was sharing with Ms Heard, destroying furniture, smashing a window and painting graffiti on walls and mirrors.
It is claimed his rage was such that he cut his finger off while destroying the house and wrote some of the graffiti in his own blood.
Mr Depp denies ever being violent with Ms Heard and claims that she severed his finger by throwing a bottle of vodka at him.
The hearing continues.