Who is Michael Spindler? Forensic accountant reveals Johnny Depp suffered lost earnings of $40 million post Amber Heard's op-ed

Michael Spindler and Johnny Depp (Image via B. Riley Advisory Services, and Evelyn Hocksteinp/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)
Michael Spindler and Johnny Depp (Image via B. Riley Advisory Services, and Evelyn Hocksteinp/Pool/AFP/Getty Images)
Abhirup Sengupta

Following the testimony of Johnny Depp's talent manager Jack Whigham, and Entertainment attorney Richard Marks, forensic accountant Michael Spindler was deposed in the actor's lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard. On Tuesday, May 3, the accountant expressed his assessment of the actor's earnings loss after Heard's op-ed.

@LawCrimeNetwork WATCH: On cross-examination, Rottenborn clarifies what information Spindler used to determine Depp's $40 million loss.#JohnnyDepp #AmberHeard @LawCrimeNetwork

As per the deposition, Spindler was asked to analyze the loss of Depp's earnings after the allegations in Heard's 2018 op-ed in Washington Post. The forensic accountant said:

"I was asked to take a look at issues as to lost earnings for Mr. Depp."

Michael Spindler further explained that he had analyzed trial exhibits, reports, testimonies, and accounting records to calculate the actor's loss in earnings following Amber Heard's op-ed on December 18, 2018.

What is known about Michael Spindler, the forensic accountant who assessed Johnny Depp's income loss?

@LawCrimeNetwork Direct-examination concludes. J. Benjamin Rottenborn begins cross-examination for Heard's team.#JohnnyDepp #AmberHeard @LawCrimeNetwork

Michael Spindler is a forensic accountant who currently serves as the Senior Managing Director and oversees the Forensic Accounting & Litigation Support at B. Riley Financial services. According to his LinkedIn, Spindler has been in the position for around seven years.

As an accountant, Spindler reportedly has around 41 years of experience in the field. Spindler, who is reportedly in his early 60s, forayed into the world of accounting after he graduated from University at Albany, SUNY, with a bachelor of science degree in business and accounting, in 1981.

The forensic accountant has:

"Extensive experience in conducting a broad range of dispute consulting services, with a particular emphasis on litigation support, fraud investigations, and anti-fraud program consulting."

He has also previously worked with Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, Capstone Advisory Group, and more.

Forensic accountant Michael Spindler estimates Johnny Depp's earning loss at around $40 million after the infamous op-ed allegations


In the 2018 op-ed, Amber Heard had insinuated that Johnny Depp s*xually abused her. While the article did not mention the actor's name, there were heavy accusations that pointed at him.

Depp lost out on many significant franchise roles following the op-ed after years of Heard's allegations. In less than a year, the actor was dropped from the role of Captain Jack Sparrow, lead character in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise since 2003.

By 2019, it was confirmed that Depp would not return to portray the character in the sixth installment of the series. Within two years of the op-ed, the actor also lost out on his role as Grindlewald in Warner Bros' (now Warner Bros. Discovery) Fantastic Beasts series.

@LawCrimeNetwork WATCH: Rottenborn grilles Spindler on lost business opportunities Depp may have faced based on the 2018 Op-Ed.#JohnnyDepp #AmberHeard @LawCrimeNetwork

In the trial, Michael Spindler stated that Johnny Depp had lost around $40 million worth of earnings following Amber Heard's op-ed. He elaborated,

"It's essentially taking a look at business records and accounting records in connection to some sort of business issue."

Spindler used Johnny Depp's earnings in 2017 as a baseline to assess his loss. In 2017, the actor had earned around $17.5 million. Upon cross-examination, the forensic accountant justified his decision to use the actor's earnings from 2017 as a baseline:

"It's the correct approach to take. You're taking a look at what Mr. Depp would be expected to earn in a fiscal year, and you're analyzing following the Op-Ed."

In his calculation, Spindler pegged Depp's loss at around $40 million, which also included the negotiated deal of $22.5 million for the star's work in the potential Pirates of the Caribbean 6.

Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul


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