Johnny Depp wins defamation case against Amber Heard
On Wednesday, the jury in Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard initially made a mistake that caused an agonizing courtroom delay before the verdict.
It began as a false start for the verdict as Judge Penney Azcarate instructed the jurors to fill in a line on their verdict forms that indicates how much in damages either of the sides should receive.
Following the jury entering the courtroom, Judge Azcarate had attorneys from both sides step up to the bench to discuss the absence of damages on the verdict forms.
The jurors were then sent out of the courtroom to put in an amount of at least $1, as the judge instructed them to do.
As a result, commentators swiftly took this incident as a potentially positive sign for Depp’s team.
After 12 hours, Judge Azcarate read the jury’s final decision - they found that the Aquaman actress defamed Depp on three counts in relation to her 2018 Washington Post op-ed and that the actress was defamed by Depp’s lawyer.
The jurors awarded The Pirates of the Caribbean actor $15m in compensatory and punitive damages, while Heard received $2m in compensatory damages.
The highly publicized case between the former spouses went on for six weeks with layers of testimony, evidence, and rebuttals from both sides.
Some instances included Heard’s former assistant testifying that she faced verbal abuse from Heard while working for her and Heard admitting to “hitting” and not “punching Depp in an audio recording.
Depp sued Heard for $50m in 2018 following the op-ed in which she claimed that she survived domestic abuse. Despite Depp not being named directly in the story, it made people believe that Depp had abused her because they were married from 2015 to 2016.
As a result, a representative for the actor denied all the allegations of abuse to The Daily Mail, claiming Heard was the abuser. Heard denied this and countersued Depp for $100m.
In closing arguments on Friday (27 May), Depp’s lawyers asked the jurors to “give him his life back” after it was “ruined” by Heard’s allegations of abuse.
They said that her claims were an act of cruelty against genuine survivors and said that she gave the performance of her lifetime on the stand.
And in Heard’s lawyers closing, they said that ruling in favour of Depp would make jurors an “accomplice” to his abusive ways and his “campaign of global humiliation.” They further added that he engaged in “victim-blaming at its most disgusting.”
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