Warning: This story contains details of intimate partner violence.
Jury sided with Johnny Depp in his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard on Wednesday, ruling Pirates of the Caribbean The actor made more than $10 million and justified his allegations that Heard lied about Depp abusing her before and during their brief marriage.
But in a divided decision, the jury also found Hurd was defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included roughing up their apartment to make the police look worse. The jury awarded her $2 million in damages.
The verdict ended a televised trial that Depp hoped would help restore his reputation, even as it turned into a spectacle that provided a window into a vicious marriage.
Heard, who was stoic in court as the verdict was read, said she was heartbroken.
“I’m even more disappointed by what this verdict means for other women,” she said in a statement posted on her Twitter account.
“It’s a setback. It throws back the time to a time when women could be publicly shamed for daring to speak out. It throws back the idea that violence against women should be taken seriously.”
Depp, who did not appear in court on Wednesday, said in a statement on Instagram: “The jury returned my life to me. I am truly humbled.”
“I hope my quest for the truth will help those who find themselves in my situation, men and women, and that those who support them never give up,” he said.
Litigation Center’s 2018 Column
In December 2018, Depp sued Heard for defamation in Fairfax County Circuit Court, writing in The Washington Post that she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers said he was defamed by the article, even though it never mentioned his name.
The jury found Depp in favor of all three of his claims related to specific statements in the 2018 article.
In assessing Hurd’s counterclaim, jurors considered three statements from Depp’s attorneys calling her allegations a sham. They found she had been defamed by one of them, with lawyers claiming she and a friend had “spilled a little bit of alcohol and messed up the place and made their story clear” and called police.
The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, but the judge said state law limits punitive damages to $350,000, meaning Depp received $10.35 million.
Trial testimony focuses on abuse allegations
While the case was ostensibly about defamation, much of the testimony focused on whether Hurd was physically and sexually abused as she claimed.Hurd cited more than a dozen alleged attacks, including a fight in Australia where Depp shot Pirates of the Caribbean Sequel – Depp loses the tip of her middle finger and Heard says she was sexually assaulted by a wine bottle.
Depp said he never hit Heard and that she was the abuser, although Heard’s lawyers highlighted Depp’s text messages from years ago to Heard, apologizing for his actions, and the blasphemy he sent to friends text, in which Depp said he wanted to kill Heard and defile her body.
When the verdict was read, dozens of Depp fans gathered outside the courtroom burst into cheers and began chanting “Johnny, Johnny.” When they showed up, they besieged his lawyer.
Throughout the proceedings, fans — overwhelmingly on Depp’s side — lined up overnight for the coveted court seat. Inaccessible spectators gathered in the street to cheer Depp and jeer at Hurd whenever they appeared outside.
In some ways, the trial was a repeat of a lawsuit Depp brought against a British tabloid in the UK after he was described as “beating his wife”.the judge in that case good for newspapers After finding out that Hurd was telling the truth in her description of the abuse.
In the Virginia case, not only did Depp have to prove that he never attacked Hurd, but Hurd’s article — which focused on public policy related to domestic violence — defamed him. He also had to prove that Hurd wrote the article in bad faith. In order to claim damages, he must show that her article caused damage to his reputation, not any number of articles before and after Hurd’s article detailing the allegations against him.
The case has drawn millions through its sweeping television coverage, including an ardent social media following who dissect everything from the actor’s demeanor to the possible symbolism of what they’re wearing.
Both performers emerged from the trial with discredited reputations and uncertain career prospects.
Analyst says ‘no winner’ in trial
Los Angeles-based crisis management and communications expert Eric Ross called the trial “a classic murder-suicide.”
“From a reputation management perspective, there can be no winners,” he said. “They’ve blooded each other. Now it’s more difficult for studios to hire either actor because you’re probably alienating a large portion of the audience, and they may not like that you’ve reserved Johnny or Amber for a particular project because the feelings are like that now. strong.”
A three-time Academy Award nominee for Best Actor, Depp was a star-studded star until the last few years.It’s his turn to play Captain Jack Sparrow Pirates of the Caribbean The film helped turn the series into a global franchise, but he lost the role.He was also substituted in the third quarter Fantastic Beasts Movie, Dumbledore’s Secreta Harry Potter spin-off movie.
Depp received a standing ovation in London after performing for about 40 minutes with Jeff Baker at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday night, despite testimony at the trial suggesting he could be violent, abusive and out of control.
Hurd’s acting career has always been relatively modest, and the only two roles she’s about to play are a small movie and an upcoming movie. Neptune A sequel will be released next year.
Depp’s attorneys fought to keep the case in Virginia, in part because state law offers some legal advantages over California, where the pair live. The judge ruled that Virginia was an acceptable forum for the case because the Washington Post’s printing presses and online servers were in the county.
The standard for proving defamation is considered very high for public figures in the US
Former politicians such as Sarah Palin and Devin Nunes have recently failed to hold publications accountable for what they say is damaging their reputations.
Some defamation lawsuits settle before trial, like previously unknown Kentucky student Nick Sandman Deals with Washington Post and NBC News.Controversy surrounds reports of Sandman’s actions when he met an Indigenous activist at an event in Washington, D.C. in 2020