Private bodyguard, Sean Bett, took the witness stand at Fairfax County Court during the Johnny Depp defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard. Last Monday, the head of security testified on the turbulent marriage between Johnny and Heard.
The famous actor’s libel lawsuit against his ex-wife focuses on some ugly details of their brief marriage. The said trial continues in its third week with grueling cross-examinations and many testy exchanges.
Over the years, countless high-profile divorce hearings became public fodder to satisfy a reader’s voyeuristic desires. So, should this case be any different? The answer here is probably yes.
But only because we focus on the topic of security professionals, the law, and a confidentiality responsibility to their client. Moreover, we question how other EP officers handle this difficult situation.
After all, it’s a thin line between operating within the law while upholding confidential responsibilities to your client.
The Bodyguard’s Testimony
During his testimony, the protection officer admitted that the marriage between the two actors was more or less a turbulent affair. Bett recalled the times he feared for the couple, but more so, for the life of his client.
Additionally, the courtroom was privy to evidence supporting Bett’s claim that Depp sustained injuries during fights with his then-wife Amber Heard. As the media report, Depp’s bodyguard told the courtroom the images from March 2015 show the actor with “a swollen kind of cheekbone, eyelid.”
During another dispute, Bett tells the jury he witnessed Heard throwing what is assumed to be a plastic cup or water bottle in Depp’s direction. As alleged, the security guard was privy to the times Heard mocked Depp. Bett claims Heard lost it, saying, ‘He’s a fat ass, fuck you Johnny, and fuck you, too, Sean.’
News outlets report Bett’s body language on the stand was poise. In fact, no pause or hesitation as the private bodyguard addresses the questions thrown at him.
It’s also understood that Bett was emphatic to Depp documenting the injuries sustained from the altercations in case Heard made allegations against Depp. Bett brings up alleged instances where he had been informed of details. However, Heard never complained to Bett about Depp’s abusiveness to her.
Note: Sean Bett continues to oversee Johnny’s personal security operations. He first met Amber at the beginning of her relationship with Johnny in 2011.
Code of Ethics and EP Professionals
The ethical code of the bodyguard comes down to a single concept – put the well-being of the principal first in all situations.
A close protection specialist has an ethical responsibility to their principal. All versions of the bodyguard’s code of ethics emphasize this need to earn and maintain the trust of the client.
Signing a confidentiality agreement mandates never releasing information on the client. As such, being a witness in a defamation trial is perhaps a difficult situation for any protective agent to be placed in. That is until a court order is issued to gather such information.
Remember that receiving an official court summons is not the same as acting without discretion.
In the case of the Johnny Depp defamation trial, the provision of a subpoena requires any security professional to tell the truth in court. But that would also depend on one’s integrity.