Savannah Guthrie has admitted that her husband works as a consultant for Johnny Depp’s legal team after welcoming his lawyers onto her show for a comprehensive interview.
Ms. Guthrie spoke Wednesday morning with Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew, Mr. Depp’s attorneys. NBC Today’s show, a week after the jury reached its verdict in his libel case with Amber Heard.
At the beginning of the interview, she made the disclosure about her husband’s ties to the lawyers before quickly moving on and starting her questions about the trial.
“A quick disclosure, my husband has done consulting work for Depp’s legal team, but not in connection with this interview,” she said.
Ms. Guthrie is married to Michael Feldman, a public relations consultant and one-time Democratic political adviser who worked on Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign.
Ahead of Wednesday’s interview, Ms Guthrie made no mention of her husband’s ties to Mr Depp’s legal team, despite her prior coverage of the case.
Last Thursday, she welcomed Ms. Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft on The Today Show and interviewed her just hours after the jury’s verdict.
She also anchored NBC’s special coverage of the verdict when it was announced last Wednesday.
Ms Guthrie does not appear to have revealed her husband’s connection to Mr Depp’s team in either incident.
the independent has contacted NBC for comment.
During Wednesday’s interview, Ms. Vasquez and Mr. Chew opposed claims made by Ms. Heard’s attorney on last week’s show.
The lawyers rejected Ms Bredehoft’s comments that social media had played a role in the verdict, calling her claims “disappointing”.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that the jurors have broken their oath,” Mr. Chew said.
Ms Vasquez added that the online obsession was “everywhere, but they were admonished every night and they had a tremendous amount of disrespect for the court and the trial, I think, and they tried their best”.
Mr Depp’s lawyers have also made suggestions that the… pirates star or his team carried out a coordinated social media smear campaign against Ms. Heard “completely baseless” and “categorically incorrect”.
“That is completely unfounded,” said Mr Chew, adding that the allegations were “absolutely absurd” and that such allegations had been dismissed “very early in the case” by the judge.
Ms Vasquez added that the claims were “categorically incorrect”.
Ms Bredehoft had told Ms Guthrie that the jurors could have been influenced by the “skewed” social media frenzy surrounding the case, which was dramatically skewed in Mr Depp’s favor.
“How can you not[be influenced]† she asked.
“They went home every night. They have families. The families are on social media. We had a 10 day break in the middle because of the judicial conference. There’s no way they couldn’t have been affected by it.”
Last week, Mr. Depp won his defamation lawsuit against Ms. Heard after a jury of seven found she had defamed him on all three counts in a 2018 op-ed. The Washington Post†
In the op-ed, Ms. Heard described herself as a victim of domestic violence and spoke of feeling “the full force of our culture’s anger at women who speak out”.
Jurors awarded Mr. Depp $10 million in damages and $5 million in punitive damages, before Fairfax County Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the latter to the state’s $350,000 legal limit.
Ms Heard won one of her three counterclaims against her ex-husband, with the jury finding that Mr Depp – through his attorney Adam Waldman – defamed her by labeling her allegations of abuse as “phony” and a “hoax of sexual assault.” .
She was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages but $0 in punitive damages, forcing the Aquarius actress $8.35 million out of pocket.
Ms Heard described the verdict as “a setback” for women speaking out about abuse allegations and said she plans to appeal.