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ACLU executive testifies Elon Musk donated $500,000 to organisation for Amber Heard

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Elon Musk allegedly donated half a million dollars to the ACLU in Amber Heard’s name, according to a new court testimony.

During Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against Heard on Thursday, Terence Dougherty, the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), testified that he believed part of Heard’s donation pledge to the organisation was supplied by her ex-boyfriend.

The Aquaman actress pledged to donate her $7 million (£5.6 million) divorce settlement equally between the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles in 2016. After the divorce was finalised in early 2017, Heard began dating Tesla founder Musk.

Dougherty testified on Thursday that the organisation has so far received $1.3 million (£1 million) from Heard. He alleged $100,000 (£80 million) came directly from Depp and $500,000 ($400,000) came from a Vanguard fund connected to Musk yet registered as a donation from Heard. Dougherty explained that he believes the donor to be Musk because the billionaire emailed the ACLU about the donation.

According to Deadline, Dougherty said Heard donated $350,000 ($280,000) in 2016, $500,000 in 2017 and $350,000 in 2018. Her contributions dried up by 2019, and Dougherty told the court the ACLU “learned that she was having financial difficulties”.

ACLU employees also helped the actress craft the Washington Post op-ed at the centre of the trial. Depp is suing her for $50 million (£38 million) for describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse” in the piece. She also countersuing him.

Dougherty said that Heard wanted to include a reference to her obtaining a restraining order against Depp in 2016 in the op-ed but her lawyers didn’t clear it and so no reference was featured.

The trial continues at Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia.

– Cover Media