The jury in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial found that a Washington Post editorial she wrote defamed her former husband.
A jury in Virginia decided on Wednesday that Johnny Depp was not abusive to his wife, Heard, during their 15-month marriage.
The jury awarded the actor fifteen million dollars in his defamation claim. The judge reduced the amount because of a limit to punitive damages in state law. The jury awarded the actor fifteen million dollars in his defamation claim. The judge reduced the amount because of a limit to punitive damages in state law. In a statement, Depp said that six years after he had been accused of domestic abuse by Heard, “the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
Heard won on one count of her countersuit, in which she demanded $100m and argued she was defamed by a Depp press agent who called her allegations an abuse hoax.
She got $2m as an award.
He was in the UK and not present for the verdict. Heard was in the courtroom as the verdict was read.
In his statement, issued via a spokesperson, Depp said: “My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought.
“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
Depp continued: “I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up.
“I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media.”
The actor signed his statement “Veritas numquam perit” – Truth never perishes.
Heard left the court. The 36-year-old actor posted that she was devastated by the verdict.
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband,” Heard said.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It’s a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously,’’ she said.
Outside the court, the attorneys for the actor spoke to a crowd of his fans. The verdict said Vasquez, “confirmed what we have said from the beginning – that the claims against Johnny Depp were defamatory and unsupported by any evidence”.
The trial has resonated with many people in the public who value truth and justice and the attorneys didn’t take questions.
The Sun newspaper and its editor were found guilty of libel in a London court for defaming the actor.
The US legal bar to prove defamation is higher than in the UK, making Wednesday’s verdict in Fairfax, Virginia, potentially a far more substantial vindication for Depp than the ruling against him in the UK.
In the Virginia case, he had to prove that Heard libeled him and that she knew the claim was false.
“For Heard, the verdict is absolutely damning, but for Depp, it’s reputation restoration,” said Amber Melville-Brown, head of the US media and reputation team at the international law firm Withers.
“A jury is supposed to be a cross-section of society, and all indications were that Johnny Depp was winning in the court of public opinion and the jury reflected that.”
For Heard, she said, the UK ruling “doesn’t cancel out for her that seven people in Virginia believed she falsified her evidence”.
The jury found mutual name-calling and false truths to have hurt the other, not physical or emotional mutual abuse.
“We need not forget that the verdict said both intentionally used words to hurt each other that were untrue,” Turnbull said.
Chris Leibig said the finding was typical for jurors in the state who always apply facts to the law. The trial gave him a chance to clear his name in a way that the UK trial never allowed, according to Depp.
“No matter what happens, I did get here and I did tell the truth and I have spoken up for what I’ve been carrying on my back, reluctantly, for six years,” Depp said.
In her counterclaim, Heard said that the trial has been an unfortunate result of an orchestrated campaign led by Depp.
Heard said after the verdict: “I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK.”
She described herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse in an opinion piece. Heard didn’t name the person in the piece. The actor demanded $50m.
Attorneys for Heard told the panel the ruling against her would mean they were telling abuse victims: “If you didn’t take pictures, it didn’t happen. If you didn’t seek medical attention, you weren’t injured.”
Heard deserved to win the case if jurors believed she was abused, according to the lawyer.
Even one time.
Lawyers for the actor sought to convince the jury that Heard lied about being hit by him.
The recordings of Depp admitting to hitting Heard were not used as evidence at the trial because they didn’t happen.