Elon Musk Believed to Have Donated $500,000 to the ACLU for Amber Heard, Court Testimony Reveals

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Elon Musk is thought to have donated half a million dollars to the American Civil Liberties Union in Amber Heard's name. On Wednesday, amid Johnny Depp's ongoing defamation trial against Heard, Terence Dougherty, the Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of the ACLU, testified about what donations the organization has received from and on behalf of the former couple. Dougherty's virtual testimony was recorded in Dec. 2021.

Dougherty's testimony was in response to Heard's 2016 statement, which said that she was splitting her $7 million Depp divorce settlement equally between the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.

Depp later said that he'd sent "the first of multiple installments" to Heard's chosen charities.

"Amber Heard appreciates Johnny Depp's novel interest in supporting two of her favorite charities, the ACLU for domestic violence and the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. This is great and unexpected news," a member of Heard's team said in a statement at the time. "However, if Johnny wishes to change the settlement agreement, we must insist that he honor the full amount by donating $14M to charity, which, after accounting for his tax deduction, is equal to his $7M payment obligation to Amber. We would also insist that the full amount be paid immediately and not drawn out over many years."

The same year that Depp and Heard's divorce was finalized, the actress began dating Musk. 

Dougherty testified that the ACLU received a $500,000 donation from a donor-advised fund at Vanguard. Dougherty said that he believes that donor to be Musk, adding that the Tesla founder emailed the organization about the donation. ET has reached out to Musk for comment.

In regards to Musk's supposed donation, Dougherty later testified that the ACLU will take contributions from other donors toward a pledge, no matter what. Thus that $500,000 was credited towards Heard's $3.5 million pledge.

Dougherty added that, of Heard's $3.5 million pledge, the ACLU has received a total of $1.3 million. That total was reached from a $350,000 payment from Heard, a $100,000 payment from Depp, and a $350,000 payment from a donor-advised fund at Fidelity, along with the $500,000 from the donor-advised fund at Vanguard. The ACLU is still $2.2 million dollars short of the total promised amount.

Stay up-to-date with the defamation trial with ET's livestream of the proceedings.


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