Johnny Depp and the verdict of the trial of Amber Heard

Depp sued Heard, his ex-wife, for defamation over a 2018 op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic violence.” Although Depp was not named in the article, he claims it cost him lucrative acting roles. Heard has sued her ex-husband for defamation over statements by Depp’s attorney about his abuse allegations.

The jury found that Heard defamed Depp in three separate statements in the Washington Post article, and that Depp defamed Heard with a statement made by his attorney.

The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages and no money for punitive damages.

Depp asked for $50 million in damages and Heard for $100 million. Punitive damages in the state of Virginia are capped at $350,000, so the judge reduced the amount of punitive damages to that amount.

The verdict is a “huge” legal victory for Depp and a repudiation for Heard, according to CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson.

“It’s a tremendous win,” Jackson said. “What he had to overcome was a First Amendment problem, which is that we all have a right to express our thoughts and opinions. What they (the jurors) said was that , yes, you have a First Amendment right unless you say something that is untrue that harms someone’s reputation and causes them damage in their industry.”

David Shane, spokesman for Heard, said she planned to appeal the verdict.

Depp and Heard react to the verdict

Heard kept her eyes downcast in the courtroom as the verdict was read. Depp was not in court, but released a statement that said, in part, “the jury gave my life back to me.”

“From the beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to tell the truth, whatever the outcome. Telling the truth was something I owed to my children and everyone who remained steadfast in their support of me. “, did he declare. said. “I feel at peace knowing I’ve finally accomplished this.”

On Wednesday, Depp’s attorneys thanked the jury and said “it’s time to turn the page and look to the future.”

“We are grateful, very grateful, to the jury for their careful deliberations, to the judge and to the court staff who devoted so much time and resources to this case,” attorney Camille Vasquez told reporters outside the court.

Heard said in a statement that she was “heartbroken” by the verdict.
Amber Heard kisses her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft after the verdict.

“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I am heartbroken that the mountain of evidence was still not enough to withstand the disproportionate power, influence and grip of my ex-husband,” Heard said.

Depp and Heard met in 2009 on the set of their movie “The Rum Diary” and were married from 2015 to 2016 before divorcing.

The trial

In his testimony, Heard said Depp had been verbally and physically abusive during their relationship. She also accused Depp of sexual abuse.
Depp repeatedly claimed on the stand that he had never hit a woman, denied Heard’s allegation of sexual assault and called himself a victim of domestic violence by Heard, which she denies.
Amber Heard leaving court on Wednesday.
Lawyers for Heard and Depp presented photographs and audio and video recordings during the trial to make their case. One expert, Laurel Anderson, a clinical psychologist who worked with Depp and Heard in 2015 as a marriage counselor, said in testimony released April 14 that the couple’s relationship had what she called “mutual abuse.” .
During the trial, Depp’s team presented witnesses including model Kate Moss, with whom he once had a relationship, and DC Films boss Walter Hamada. (CNN and DC Films are both owned by Warner Bros. Discovery.)

Actress Ellen Barkin and a number of former Depp associates testified on Heard’s behalf.

Heard notably had fewer vocal supporters than Depp in the entertainment industry and in and around the courthouse.

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