But DailyMail.com understands that Elon Musk will likely be a high profile no-show when the explosive case kicks off because neither side can compel the world’s richest man to appear.
Musk’s name features prominently in court filings and was included in Heard’s list of 80 possible witnesses she plans to call upon to back her story that she was savagely beaten and abused by her Fantastic Beasts ex.
But under Virginia law there is no way Musk, a non-resident of the state, can be forced to attend proceedings at the Fairfax County Circuit Court, either in person or via video-link.
If a witness decides not to participate lawyers can instead draw upon their deposition as evidence – but the mercurial Tesla boss, 50, never sat down for one with either side.
Elon Musk will likely be a high profile no-show at Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s $100million defamation trial that kicks off next week
Depp and Heard are preparing to square off over a 2018 op-ed she penned for the Washington Post describing herself as a domestic violence survivor
Depp’s lawyers tried to subpoena Musk on six different occasions to grill him over allegations he had an affair with Heard during their 18-month marriage
DailyMail.com can reveal that Depp’s lawyers tried to subpoena Musk on six different occasions to grill him over allegations he had an affair with Heard during her ill-fated 18-month marriage.
But despite hiring private investigators and staking out the mogul’s various homes and businesses in California and Texas over the course of two years, they were never able to pin him down to serve the papers.
‘Musk might be the most talked about man in the world right now and his testimony would likely have a seismic effect on any jury,’ dished an insider.
‘But if he chooses not to get involved, there’s nothing anyone can do. He may ultimately decide he’s too busy building rockets and taking over Twitter.’
Depp and Heard are preparing to square off over a December 2018 op-ed she penned for the Washington Post describing herself as a domestic violence survivor.
The article did not mention Depp by name but the legendary actor sued for $50 million, claiming he was axed from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise amid speculation he was the abuser.
Heard responded by countersuing for $100 million, claiming Depp smeared her and branded her a liar, setting the stage for next week’s final chapter in their tumultuous story.
The Aquaman actress has always stood by her account of the infamous May 21, 2016 dust up that brought the couple’s doomed union to an end, claiming Depp hurled a phone in her face and tore out clumps of her hair.
But his lawyers will argue the account was a ‘hoax’ cobbled together by Heard and her closest pals, complete with photos of faked injuries, to extort a $7 million divorce settlement.
Amber Heard, pictured with Tesla billionaire Elon Musk with her lipstick on his cheek, denied they had an affair while she was married to Johnny Depp. Heard and Musk were just good friends, the actress has said
Handout photo from May 2016 of text messages between Heard and ‘rocketman’ Elon Musk, which were referred to as an exhibit during Depp’s libel case against the publishers of The Sun and its executive editor at the High Court
Pictured: Amber Heard has listed actor James Franco (left) and Jason Mamoa as witnesses for her defamation case
Depp has further accused Heard of starting an affair with Musk one month into their marriage and wants to know what she told the entrepreneur about their blowout fight.
Texts handed over to Depp’s legal team reveal the Justice League beauty messaged her billionaire pal the very next day – and that she stored his number in her phone under the name ‘Rocketman’.
Musk has made no secret of the fact he dated Heard on and off for several years but he’s always maintained the relationship only became romantic months after her split from Depp.
Sources close to the maverick inventor have dismissed attempts to draw him further into the former couple’s tortuous legal battle, describing Depp’s suspicions as ‘irrelevant nonsense’.
‘Elon Musk either saw injuries on Amber or saw that there were none in May 2016. Either way he’s been silent about what he knows for the past six years and there’s little to suggest that will change,’ our insider added.
‘Taking the stand would open him up to all sorts of questions from Johnny’s team about the timing of their relationship, whether they had an affair and so forth.
‘He will probably decide the best course of action is to steer clear of the whole circus.’
Depp’s team have also sought in vain to question Musk over suggestions he paid $500,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union on Heard’s behalf.
In the wake of their 2016 divorce Heard famously vowed to give away her entire $7 million settlement, splitting it equally between the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Depp’s lawyers subpoenaed both organizations to ask how much they actually received and were provided with paperwork suggesting the hospital got $100,000, rather than the promised $3.5 million.
Documents supplied by the ACLU suggested Heard donated $350,000 on top of $100,000 that came from Depp on her behalf. Another $500,000 came from someone named ‘Elon’, according to Depp’s lawyers.
‘Elon’ is believed to refer to Tesla and Space-X founder, Elon Musk, with whom Ms. Heard is alleged to have had a romantic relationship during and following her marriage to Mr. Depp,’ they wrote in a court filing.
Musk had a brief cameo at London’s High Court last year when Depp sued News Group Newspapers over a 2018 article in The Sun that described him as ‘wife beater’.
The court was read a text message from Depp to a friend that made an apparent reference to Musk, reading: ‘Brother, I’m sorry to even ask but she sucked mollusc’s crooked d*** and he gave her some sh**y lawyers.
‘I have no mercy left of what I thought was love for this gold-digging, low level, dime-a-dozen mushy, pointless, flappy fish market.’
Depp ultimately lost that case with Mr Justice Nicol determining that the outlet’s depiction of Depp was ‘substantially true’ and that the father-of-two had attacked Heard a dozen times, causing her to fear for her life on three occasions.
But while the ruling left Depp facing an uphill battle to salvage his reputation, close allies say he has never contemplated settling or dropping the US case that will be resolved once and for all over the next six to seven weeks.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp – whose divorce was finalized in January 2017 – are seen together in California the previous year
This photo shown in court from May 2016 of Amber Heard with an apparently bruised cheek, which has been referred to as an exhibit
Another photo shown to court shows a mark below her eye in an alleged attack Heard claims was her ex-husband’s final act or violence towards her
Other A-list names listed as potential witnesses include Avengers star Paul Bettany, the actor James Franco and Ellen Barkin, who starred in Depp’s 1998 movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Franco was caught up in the Depp-Heard war after he was pictured riding the same elevator with Heard on May 22, 2016, the night after the big fight.
Heard’s legal team dismissed any notion of a romantic entanglement and said 43-year-old Franco once lived in the same apartment complex and was simply taking the elevator at the same time.
Depp’s lawyers hit him with a subpoena seeking to grill him over what the pair discussed and whether she had any visible bruises.
The deposition never took place however, so Franco, like Musk, can simply decline any request to give evidence should he be asked.
Various reps and officials from Disney, Warner Bros., the ACLU, WME and the Los Angeles Police Department are also slated to take part.
Depp and Heard met on the set of The Rum Diary in 2011, married four years later – then split in a little over a year amid a slew of blood curdling domestic violence allegations and tabloid headlines.
Heard wrote in her December 2018 op-ed: ‘I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.’
That prompted Depp to file for defamation in Virginia, where the Washington Post’s servers were based, stating: ‘Ms. Heard is not a victim of domestic abuse; she is a perpetrator.’
Heard responded with a 300-page filing of her own, cataloging the years of alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of ‘the monster’.
Musk’s attorney, Alex Spiro, declined to comment. Jury selection begins Monday.