Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard: Jury Reaches Verdict In $50 Million Defamation Case

The jury has reached a verdict in Johnny Depp’s $50 million defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard. After just over two days of deliberations, the jury returned its verdict on Wednesday, June 1 and it was read out by Judge Penney Azacarate in the Fairfax, Virginia courtroom at 3 p.m. EST.

The jury voted in Depp’s favor in his defamation claim. The jury believed that Depp proved that Heard not only wrote the statement but that she did so with “actual malice” intending to have a negative effect on Johnny Depp and his career and was therefore defamatory as he claimed it was. He was therefore awarded compensatory damages of $10 million and punitive damages of $5 million. Judge Penney Azcarate said after the verdict was read, however, that there is a cap on punitive damages of $350,000 and that this would be amended on Depp’s case, bringing his total award to $10,350,000.

The jury voted against Heard’s counterclaim. The foreman read the decision that the jury did not believe that Heard had faced any negative impacts from a Daily Mail article in which statements were given by Depp’s former attorney, Adam Waldman, despite the huge level of abuse she received as a result of the statements. However, they did agree that Heard proved defamation thanks to Waldman’s testimony. Nevertheless, she was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages against him.

Depp was suing Heard over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Heard wrote the op-ed, titled “Opinion Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change,” never mentioned Depp by name. However, the Pirates of the Caribbean star claims its publication cost him work in Hollywood, which Heard’s site has always vehemently denied.

The case heard six weeks’ worth of testimony. Throughout the trial, both Depp and Heard took the stand to give their version of events, both of which differed wildly. Attorneys for both actors also called professionals and friends of the pair who shared testimony on Heard’s alleged abuse claims as well as how the fallout from the relationship affected them both.

The jury took just over two days to reach their verdict. Jury deliberations began in the afternoon on Friday, May 27. Due to the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, deliberations did not resume until Tuesday, May 31. Just after lunch on Wednesday, it was revealed that a verdict had been reached.



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