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
“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.
“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.
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.