The Australian deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, claims that he is considering charging Depp with “perjury” after the actor and his then-wife, Amber Heard, allegedly smuggled two dogs into the country despite knowing it wasn’t legal.
Pistol and Boo, the Yorkshire terriers involved in the incident, were not declared to Australian customs when Heard and Depp arrived in the country by private jet in 2015. Heard pleaded guilty to making a false customs declaration and paid a $1,000 fine, and the couple released an “apology” video. (The maximum penalty for the charge is 10 years in prison.) They avoided conviction by meeting those criteria, and Gold Coast magistrate Bernadette Callaghan accepted the oversight as a paperwork snafu.
The Mandel Co., defending itself against Depp’s accusations about money mismanagement, alleges that he “falsely claimed to authorities and in public press interviews that the incident was a big misunderstanding because he supposedly believed his staff had obtained the necessary paperwork.”
WATCH BELOW: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard apologize for not declaring dogs
According to the statement of defence, Depp “pressured one of his long-term employees to take the fall” when Australian authorities confronted him. Joyce vows to “have a look” at the legal documents.
“If the allegation is correct, there is a word for that – it is called perjury,” Joyce said to ABC on Tuesday. “That is another question that, if that was true, Mr. Depp would have to answer for. We’re an island continent and we take biosecurity very seriously. It doesn’t matter if you think that you’re Mr. Who’s Who of Hollywood, you’re going to obey our laws.”
“You don’t want your kids running around the park with dogs with rabies or going out to the bush and finding wild dogs with rabies. What is the most likely mechanism of it coming into the nation? Some dipstick bringing in some salt and pepper dogs or whatever they call them. If the allegations that have been made against him are correct, and I’m not saying if they are or aren’t, then that would be perjury,” he concluded to News Corp.
At the time of the incident, Joyce initially threatened to have the dogs killed unless they were sent back to the U.S.
Depp mocked Joyce on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in May 2016, calling him “inbred with a tomato” and some kind of “sweaty, big-gutted man from Australia.”
Multiple legal sources immediately dismissed Joyce’s suggestion of perjury charges, saying that Depp couldn’t be charged with perjury when he made no representations or sworn statements in the court case; only Heard took part, so it would be difficult to charge the actor.
Heard and Depp finalized their divorce in August of 2016.