Lawyers for actor Johnny Depp turned to a digital forensics expert from Grosse Pointe Farms on Wednesday to plow holes in the defense in the defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard.
Bryan Neumeister was tasked with analyzing the photographs submitted by Heard’s legal team to determine if any were altered. The photos allegedly show injuries to Heard inflicted by Depp, the defense claims.
Neumeister said it was impossible to validate the photos without the iPhones used to take them.
“There is no way for a forensic expert to validate any of these photos,” he said.
Neumeister holds a wide array of credentials with 80 accolades and awards for videography as well as over a dozen Emmys for editing, sound, and more. He has 42 years of experience in the digital industry and has logged 14,700 hours of shooting video from helicopters.
Neumeister is the CEO of USAForensic, a small digital forensics firm with offices in Grosse Pointe Farms and Phoenix, Arizona. The company has worked on more than 600 cases over the past four years at the federal and state levels, ranging from homicide and libel to money laundering, to anything that requires extractions of cellphones or cellphones. computers.
“We work with different types of clients because to us data is data and it doesn’t take sides, so we ended up working for Prosecution, Defense, Law Enforcement, The Innocence Project, we have a contract with the Department of Defense, we do classified and unclassified work, we have done classified work with various industries,” Neumeister said.
In this case, Neumeister’s company was asked to analyze photographs of injuries reported by Heard to authenticate whether the images had been altered in any way.
Neumeister primarily used EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) data, a standard that defines specific information related to an image or other media captured by a digital camera, to recognize that photos have not been extracted straight from the original iPhone.
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“In this situation, I can see that the OS says ‘Software: Photos 3.0’ instead of System, which means the photos had to be rendered and composited together in an editing program,” Neumeister told bar.
Photos 3.0 and Photos 1.5 are editing software that Apple offers with their products for photo editing. However, programs are also a place to simply save and sort images.
“There is no way to authenticate a photo that was presented from the way the evidence was collected,” Neumeister said. “It couldn’t come out of an iPhone that way, it would go into a computer, be edited and rendered through the photo editor and then it would be embedded in the EXIF data.”
The images Neumeister received were screenshots, rather than directly from the iPhone the images were taken from, so the data was altered. Therefore, there is no way to positively or negatively determine whether any of the featured images have been altered.
“In 95% of cases we have the real phone,” Neumeister added. “If people have something they want to keep as evidence, they don’t throw away their phones, they don’t recycle their phones, they keep them.”
“So in a situation like this there are no forensic extracts, in fact the extracts that were provided to us were backups of backups of iTunes exports, so this is third generation and there is no way to verify the file paths and history of a single photo that we looked at,” Neumeister said.