Last Wednesday, June 1, 2022, actor Johnny Depp won a defamation suit against his former wife Amber Heard after a jury determined that she had defamed Depp by claiming that he had harmed her throughout their relationship. The jury has decided that both Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are responsible for slander in the cases that they brought against one another. Depp was victorious in the case thanks to the jury’s decision to award him significantly more compensation for his losses.
The jury unanimously found that Heard could not substantiate her allegations against Depp and that she knew her claims of abuse were false when she published the op-ed last 2018. As a result, Depp was granted $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages after a jury concluded that Heard behaved with genuine malice when she wrote the op-ed. Judge Penney Azcarate of Fairfax Country Circuit Court decreased the punitive penalties imposed on Depp from $10.4 million in total damages to $350,000, which is the state’s statutory limitation or legal limit.
On the other hand, Heard had countersued for $100 million and she was only ever violent with Depp in self-defense or defense of her younger sister. The jury concluded that Depp defamed Heard on one count, through Waldman who’s Depp’s former attorney who labeled Heard’s allegation of abuse as a “hoax” in Daily Mail last 2020. Though there was no money for punitive damages at all given to Heard by the jury aside from $2 million for compensatory damages.
When the jury read the judgment, Heard kept her eyes down in the courtroom, while Depp, who was away from court last Wednesday due to a previously scheduled business engagement, issued a statement in which he claimed, in part, “the jury gave me my life back.” Depp’s attorneys Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez speak to the media after the verdict was announced.
“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,” he said. “I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
Depp attorneys on Wednesday thanked the jury and said “it’s time ti turn the page and look to the future.”
“We are grateful, so grateful, to the jury for their careful deliberation, to the judge and the court staff have devoted an enormous amount of time and the resources towards this case,” Attorney Vasquez told reporters outside court.
While Heard release an statement in the afternoon where she said that she’s “heartbroken” over the verdict reacting to the jury siding with Depp.
“The disappointment I felt 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. I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.
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.
I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder that I seem to have lost a right I though I has as an American一to speak freely and openly.” Heard said. She has opted to appeal the verdict and has stated that she is “unable to pay” the damages. Following the findings, the stenographer who documented the trial has defended herself against charges that she was “biased” toward Depp.
Many people are wondering if Johnny Deep’s trial victory will help him reclaim his Hollywood career. However, Howard Breur, CEO of Newsroom Public Relations, believes that many in the industry will be cautious about dealing with Depp again.
Additionally, Johnny Depp has just begun landing new movie roles, while Amber Heard has a role in Aquaman 2 and the Lost Kingdom, which will be released in theaters in December.