Jury verdict in Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard defamation case

Jury has ruled in defamation trial against Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

The court in Fairfax, Virginia, issued an alert Wednesday afternoon, announcing that after about 12 hours of deliberation, the verdict will be read in court at 3 p.m.

Mr Depp sues his ex-wife Ms Heard for $50m, claiming she defamed him in an op-ed Washington post She describes herself as a victim of domestic abuse.

Ms Heard countersued her ex-husband for $100 million, alleging he launched a “defamation campaign” against her.

During the six-week trial, which began on April 11, the court heard both Mr Depp and Ms Hurd accused each other of abuse and gave contrasting accounts of particular violence in their relationship.

Both actors took sides, giving emotional testimony within days.

Dozens of witnesses also testified in the case, including famous supermodel Kate Moss and actor Ellen Barkin, as well as psychiatrists, police officers, Hollywood agents, friends and relatives.

On May 27, jurors finally opened their deliberations after hearing closing statements from both sides who claimed to be the victim rather than the abuser, accusing the other of lying and insisting they just wanted to get on with their lives.

Mr Depp’s lawyer told jurors that Ms Hurd was the “abuse” and that he was the “battered” in their turbulent relationship.

“There is an abuser in this courtroom, but not Mr. Depp,” attorney Camille Vasquez said.

“There is a victim of domestic abuse in this court, but not Ms Heard.”

Ms Vasquez said Mr Depp suffered “ongoing verbal, physical and emotional abuse” at the hands of Ms Heard, and after the relationship ended, she continued, “falsely” accusing him of domestic abuse.

“The key to this trial is a person’s good name. More importantly, a person’s life is at risk in this trial,” she said.

“The life he lost when he was accused of heinous crimes, and the life he could live when he was finally rehabilitated.”

Johnny Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez makes closing arguments in Fairfax County Circuit Court

(EPA)

She argued that Ms Heard had “lyed” throughout the case, saying she “went too far” and now “can’t back down”.

“She lied to too many people too many times,” she said.

In Ms Heard’s closing submissions, lawyer Benjamin Rottenborn accused Mr Depp of conducting a “global shaming campaign” against Ms Heard, sending domestic abuse survivors around the world a “won’t be believed” information”.

“In trying to convince you that Mr Depp bears the burden of proof that he never abused Amber, think about the message Mr Depp and his lawyers sent to Amber and that extends to every victim everywhere It’s domestic abuse,” he said.

“If you don’t take pictures it doesn’t happen. If you do take pictures they are fake…that’s the message Mr Depp is asking you to send.”

He accused Mr Depp’s team of “blaming the victim” and told jurors that Mr Depp’s case had collapsed because he had failed to prove he never abused his ex-wife, even “just once”.

Amber Heard’s lawyer Benjamin Rottenborn accuses Mr Depp of running a global shaming campaign

(EPA)

Here’s what you need to know about the case:

litigation

Mr Depp sues his ex-wife, claiming she defamed him in an op-ed published in December 2018 Washington post She describes herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse”.

This Pirates of the Caribbean The actor was not named in the article, but he claimed it falsely suggested he was a domestic abuser – which he said was “absolutely and clearly false”.

Mr Depp claimed the article had damaged his reputation and made it difficult for him to find roles in Hollywood.

He is suing for “no less than” $50 million.

counterclaim

Ms. Hurd filed a $100 million countersuit against Mr. Depp, seeking nuisance and immunity from his charges.

She accused Mr Depp of orchestrating a “defamation campaign” against her and described his lawsuit as a continuation of “abuse and harassment”.

The counterclaim revolves around comments made to MailOnline by one of Mr Depp’s lawyers, Adam Waldman.

Mr Waldman, who did not represent Mr Depp at this trial, accused Ms Heard of lying about her domestic violence allegations, calling her allegations a “false”, “sexual violence hoax” and an “ambush”.

He also leaked the recording to the media.

Ms Heard claims she lost her career opportunity because of Mr Waldman’s remarks.

column

The column, published in December 2018, is titled “I stand against sexual violence — and confront the anger of our culture. This must change”.

In it, Ms Heard wrote that she “felt the full force of our culture’s anger at outspoken women” after she came forward as a victim of domestic abuse.

“Like many women, I was harassed and sexually assaulted while in college. But I kept silent—I didn’t expect justice to come from a complaint. And I don’t consider myself a victim,” she wrote.

“Then two years ago, when I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, I felt the full force of our culture’s outrage against women who speak out.”

The column is shown on screen as evidence in defamation trial

(Pool via Getty Images/AFP)

Testimony of Johnny Depp

Mr Depp’s case revolves around claims he never physically or sexually abused Ms Heard.

Instead, he claimed Ms Heard was violent towards him.

Mr Depp, who testified over two days in April, told the court that Ms Hurd was the “perfect partner” at the beginning of their relationship.

But the relationship then soured into an argument, and he said Ms Heard “rebuked” him and resorted to “demeaning abuse” and “an endless parade of insults”.

Mr Depp claimed it was Ms Heard who became violent when they fought.

In a now-infamous incident in Australia in 2015, Mr Depp lost his fingertips.

He testified that Ms Heard threw a glass bottle at him and severed his finger.

He told the court his fingers were on the bar and the large vodka bottle “touched all over the place and shattered”.

“I didn’t feel pain at first. I felt hot, like something was dripping from my hand,” he said.

“I just watched my bones stick out. The blood was just gushing out.”

The court heard tapes of conversations between Mr Depp and Ms Heard, as the couple were arguing over a separate altercation.

“You slapped me on the fucking thing,” Mr Depp said.

Johnny Depp to return to court to testify on May 25

(Associated Press)

“You figured it out,” Ms Heard responded.

“By the way, I didn’t hit you… I’m sorry I didn’t slap you in the face properly. I hit you, not you. You didn’t get hit.”

Mr Depp also testified that while he had been battling drug and alcohol problems, his ex-wife’s description of his substance abuse was “heavily groomed”.

He said: “Ms Heard’s description of my substances, descriptions of substances of abuse that I cite and do not cite, are heavily embellished, I am sorry to say, but many of them are plainly wrong.”

He told the court his drug and alcohol use was a “simple target” of Ms Heard.

Testimony of Amber Heard

When Ms Heard appeared in court over the course of four days, she told the court several incidents of alleged abuse at the hands of Mr Depp.

Ms Heard testified that Mr Depp gave her many gifts in the early days but soon began to show jealousy, controlling her career and who she spent time with.

She told the court that at the start of the violence Mr Depp would “throw things and smash things” and called her a “prostitute”.

Ms Heard claims Mr Depp first hit her when she mocked his tattoo that said ‘alcoholic’.

“It seemed so stupid, so trivial. I’ll never forget. It changed my life,” she said.

She said Mr Depp slapped her and said: “Do you think it’s funny? You think it’s funny, b****?”

From the stands, Ms Heard offered a very different account of the moment Mr Depp lost his fingertips in Australia in 2015.

She testified that her then-husband pinned her in a bar and sexually assaulted her with a glass bottle.

“The next thing I remember is I was on the bar bending over backwards, which meant my chest was up. I was staring at the blue light. My back was on the counter and I thought he was hitting Me. I felt this pressure on the pubic bone. I thought he was hitting me,” she said.

“I could feel his arm moving and it looked like he was hitting me. But I could feel the pressure.”

Amber Heard testifies in Fairfax County Court on May 5, 2022

(JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Ms Heard said she lay fearful the glass might have been broken.

“I remember not wanting to move because I didn’t know it was broken – I don’t know if the bottle he had inside me was broken,” she said.

“I couldn’t feel it. I didn’t feel pain. I didn’t feel pain. I didn’t feel anything. …I looked around and saw so much broken glass…I just remember thinking’ Please God, please. I hope it’s not broken.”

Ms Heard said the abuse she allegedly suffered at the hands of Mr Depp was under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and said they would refer to his alter ego as a “monster”.

What happened in the deliberations?

After receiving the case on May 27, a seven-person jury was tasked with ruling on Mr Depp’s claim and Ms Heard’s counterclaim.

First, the jury must decide whether Ms Hurd actually defamed Mr Depp in the op-ed.

The onus is on Mr Depp to prove that Ms Heard’s comments were about Mr Depp, were defamatory and false, and that the comments were made with genuine malice.

If a jury finds that Ms Heard had indeed defamed Mr Depp, she will be ordered to pay him damages.

The jury will then determine the amount Ms Hurd should pay. They can recommend the full $50 million or more or less.

The jury must also rule on whether Mr Waldman, acting as Mr Depp’s agent, defamed Ms Heard in a statement to the media.

The burden of proof is on Ms Heard to prove that Mr Waldman’s comments, about Ms Heard, are false and that the statements were made in genuine malice.

If the jury decides in favour of Ms Hurd, they will determine the amount of damages Mr Depp should pay her. Again, this could be more or less than the $100 million she seeks.

out of court

Outside the courtroom, there is a huge online obsession The bizarre conspiracy, which claimed Ms Heard had smoked cocaine in the stands, sparked a frenzy around Mr Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, in an instant viral video in court.

“Social media weaponized this experiment,” Evan Nierman, CEO of Crisis PR firm Hongrong and author of Avoiding a Crisis, told independent.

“More people draw conclusions about guilt or innocence based on curated content online than facts in court.”

Social media users are largely skewed towards Mr Depp.

A fan holds a banner in support of Johnny Depp outside the Fairfax County Courthouse

(independent)

On TikTok, the hashtag #johnnydeppisinnocent was used 4.9 billion times as of Wednesday, while #justiceforjohnnydepp was used 15.7 billion times.

Similar hashtags supporting Ms Heard were used only a fraction, with justiceforamberheard being used 52.1 million times and #amberheardisinnocent being used only 4.1 million times. #Amberturd has 3 billion simultaneous uses.

Mr Depp fans have also been lining up street outside the courthouse to support pirate The star entered the courthouse for a glimpse of him and tried to get one of the limited spaces in the public gallery every morning.

Yvonne Deboer told us there was a queue for gallery seating on Thursday mornings independent During the trial, she took a year off from her home in Los Angeles to come to Virginia and camped outside every night to get a seat inside the courtroom.

“I love him so much. I believe in him and I’m just here for him, to support him,” she said of Mr Depp.

While Mr Depp was cheered as he drove past the crowd, Ms Heard was booed and jeered.