A jury sided with Johnny Depp in his defamation suit against ex-wife Amber Heard on Wednesday, paying him more than $10 million and confirming his claims that Heard misled about Depp beating her also during their short relationship.
However, the jury decided in a split vote that Heard was defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers, who charged her with concocting a comprehensive fake that involved beating up the couple’s flat to make it appear worse for cops. She was granted $2 million by the jury. The judgments put a stop to a televised trial that Depp had believed would help him reclaim his reputation, but instead evolved into a spectacle that revealed a tumultuous marriage. She was distraught, said Heard, who was calm in the courtroom as the verdict was announced.
“I’m much more dissatisfied with the implications of this decision for other women.” It’s a stumbling block. It takes us back to the days when a woman who has spoken up and spoken out risked being publically shamed. It undermines the notion that violence against women should be taken seriously,” she wrote in a message on Twitter. “The jury handed me my life back” Depp stated, who was absent in court on Wednesday. “I feel incredibly humbled.”
“I hope that my search for the truth has aided others, men and women, who have found themself in my predicament, and that those who assist them do not give up,” he wrote in an Instagram statement.
Depp filed a libel suit against Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court after she wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post in December 2018 characterizing herself as “a public person symbolizing domestic abuse.” His lawyers claimed the piece defamed him despite the fact that his name was never stated.
All three of Depp’s assertions relating to particular remarks in the 2018 essay were determined to be true by the jury.
Supporters who were heavily on Depp’s side lined up the night for prized courtroom seats all through the proceedings. Those who were unable to enter the theatre gathered on the street to celebrate Depp and ridicule Heard when they came outside.
When Depp’s attorneys walked out after the verdict, a gathering of roughly 200 people celebrated. “Johnny for president!” shouted one man over and over.
Outside the courtroom, Greg McCandless, 51, a retired private detective from Reston, Virginia, wore a pirates hat and red head scarf, a tribute to Depp’s renowned portrayal as Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.
“I feel there was slander, and I believe it was detrimental to his career,” McCandless said. “I believe the jury was told the facts and rendered a proper verdict.”
Jurors reviewed three comments by a lawyer for Depp, who termed Heard’s accusations a fraud, in considering her counterarguments. They discovered that one of them had slandered her, claiming that she and her companions “spilled a little wine and messed up the place, got their tales straight,” and contacted the cops.
Sydni Porter, 30, from Maryland, drove all the way to show her support for Heard. The result was upsetting, but not unexpected, she said, and it sends a clear message to women that “no facts or evidence you have (of assault), it’s never going to be more than enough.”
Depp was given $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages by the jury, but the court said California law restricts punitive damages to $350,000, so Depp received $10.35 million.
Despite the fact that the case was allegedly about libel, the majority of the testimony centered on whether Heard had been sexually and physically assaulted as she alleged. Heard detailed more than a dozen alleged attacks, along with a brawl in Australia during which Depp lost the top of his middle finger, and Heard said she was sexually attacked with a liquor bottle while filming a “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.
Heard’s counsel pointed to years-old messages Depp wrote apologizing to Heard for his behavior as well as profane texts he wrote to a friend in which Depp indicated he intended to murder Heard and violate her dead body, despite Depp’s claim that he never hit her and that she was the aggressor.
In some ways, the trial was a rerun of Depp’s case against a British newspaper after he was referred to as a “wife-beater” in the UK. After concluding that Heard was speaking the truth in her accusations of abuse, the judge ruled in favor of the publication.
The case captivated millions through its gavel-to-gavel television coverage, including impassioned followers on social media who dissected everything from the actors’ mannerisms to the possible symbolism of what they were wearing. Both performers emerge from the trial with reputations in tatters with unclear prospects for their careers.
The trial was dubbed a “typical murder-suicide” by Eric Rose, a crisis response and communication expert in Los Angeles.
“There can be no champions in terms of reputation management,” he stated. “They’ve both bled to death.” Because emotions are so strong now, it’s becoming more challenging for studios to employ either actor because you risk alienating a significant section of your fanbase who may not enjoy the idea that you’ve kept either Johnny or Amber for a particular movie.”
Depp, a three-time Oscar candidate for best actor, has been a bankable star until recently. His performance as Jack Sparrow was instrumental in turning the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series into a global phenomenon, but he no longer plays the part. In the third “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” spin-off film, “The Crimes of Grindelwald”, he was likewise replaced.
Depp got a standing ovation Tuesday night in London after performing for nearly 40 minutes with Jeff Beck at the Royal Albert Hall, despite testifying at his trial that he could be violent, abusive, and out of control.
Heard’s acting career has been relatively modest, and her only two upcoming appearances are in a short film and the impending “Aquaman” sequel, both of which are set to release next year.
Depp’s attorneys battled to retain the case in Virginia, partly because state law offered some legal advantages over California law, where the two live. Because The Washington Post’s printing presses and web servers are located in Virginia, a judge concluded that the dispute should be heard there.