The jury reached a verdict on Wednesday in the high-profile defamation case between Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard.
The judge, however, sent the jury back to add damage amounts before the verdict could be read.
Shortly thereafter, the Northern Virginia jury sided with Depp, finding that Heard defamed him with allegations that he committed domestic violence.
Depp has been awarded $15 million in damages – $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages in his defamation suit. The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages.
‘The disappointment I feel today is beyond words’
Heard released a statement on Twitter, reacting to the jury siding with Depp.
“The disappointment I feel 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,” the actor wrote.
“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.”
Heard concluded: “I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American — to speak freely and openly.”
Read the full statement here:
— Amber Heard (@realamberheard) June 1, 2022
‘The jury gave me my life back’
Depp also released a statement thanking the jury for giving him his life back.
“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome,” he said via his spokesperson. “Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
“I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world. I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up. I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media.”
Read the full statement here:
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Deliberations began on Friday in the blockbuster case after a six-week trial featuring blistering mutual accusations of domestic abuse. The seven-person jury has been deliberating for about 13 hours over three days in Fairfax near the US capital.
Depp was not in court when the verdict was read on Wednesday. The actor is currently in the UK, where he made an unscheduled appearance at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Monday alongside English guitarist Jeff Beck.
Per NBC, defamation claims filed in the US by public figures, such as an actor, are commonly thought of as difficult cases to win due to the higher standard a plaintiff must prove.
Depp filed suit against Heard over an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Heard did not name Depp in the piece, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.
Heard countersued for $100 million, claiming she suffered “rampant physical violence and abuse.”
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