A jury has found Amber Heard and Johnny Depp each liable for defamation in their lawsuits against each other. The jury awarded more damages to Depp, a victory for the actor.
Depp sued Heard, his ex-wife, for defamation regarding a 2018 op-ed she authored for The Washington Post about her commentary about domestic abuse. Though Johnny Depp was not visible in the article, he alleges it cost him movie roles. Heard countersued Depp’s lawyer, alleging statements that Depp’s attorney made about her abuse claims.
The jury found in several statements that Heard defamed Depp in The Washington Post, considering the latter had defamed Heard with one additional 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 punitive damages.
Depp was awarded $50 million in damages, and Heard sought $100 million. Punitive damages in Virginia are capped at $350,000, so the judge reduced the punitive damages award to that amount.
Jackson, a CNN legal analyst, said that this is a very exciting day for Depp, as the conviction bolsters his wrongful death case against Heard.
It was a noteworthy victory, as one juror said of Jackson. What he had to overcome was a First Amendment issue: this is enshrined in our Constitution, and you may express yourself openly unless what you’re saying is false and damaging to someone’s standing in their field. The jury said that, yes, you have freedom of speech in the United States, even to the point that we can say what we find absurd, which can harm someone’s reputation and cause financial damage.
David Shane, a spokesman for Heard, announced he would release an appeal.
Johnny Depp and Heard react to the verdict
Heard kept her eyes on a statement by Judge Miller for a considerable length of time after the conclusion of the ruling. Depp was not present in the courtroom but released an official statement that said, in part, the jury gave me my life back.
From the very beginning, this probe aimed to tell the truth regardless of the outcome. The main purpose of this revealing was to honor my family, my supporters, and myself. I feel wholly contented I’ve finally managed to do this.
Dispute captains on Wednesday thanked the jury and said it’s time to turn the page and look ahead to the future.
We are so appreciative to the jury for their careful consideration, to the court and its staff members who have dedicated a significant amount of time and energy to this case, attorney Camille Vasquez said outside of court.
Heard said in a statement she is “heartbroken” over the verdict.
The immense aggravation I feel right now is beyond Objective C. I am devastated now that the colossal proof could not withstand the disproportionate strength, influence, and sway of my ex-husband, Heard mentioned.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard met on the set of their film The Rum Diary in 2009 and were married from 2015 to 2016 before divorcing.
Heard claimed that Depp was verbally and physically abusive during her relationship. She also claimed that Depp had committed sexual violence against her. Depp stated multiple times on the stand that he has never struck a woman denied Heard s allegation of sexual battery, and called himself a victim of domestic abuse by Heard, which she denies.
Lawyers for both Heard and Depp presented throughout the photos and audiovisual recordings to make their cases. One expert witness, Laurel Anderson, a clinical psychologist who worked with Heard and Depp as their marriage counselor in 2015, stated in testimony on Apr. 14 that the pair had what she described as mutual abuse.
During the trial, Depp’s team put forward witnesses that included model Kate Moss, with whom he was previously in love, and Walter Hamada, the head of DC Films (which is partly owned by CNN, which you, Discovery, also own).
Actress Ellen Barkin and previous Depp associates testified on Heard s behalf.
Heard had fewer vocal supporters in the business and around the courthouse than Depp.