Johnny Depp wins in the end in his defamation case against Amber Heard
In what could be the most closely watched court battle of the decade. The jury in the Johnny Depp versus Amber Heard trial announced their decision yesterday. Fans on both sides were waiting for the announcement with bated breath. Finally, just before 3:30 p.m. on June 1, 2022, the court declared that Depp had won the defamation case. Here are the specifics.
The most widely watched trial in recent memory has finally concluded. The court announced the jury’s decision that Amber Heard’s previous op-ed about domestic violence in The Washington Post had, in fact, harmed his career. According to their decision, the actress must now pay Depp $15 million in damages.
The jury was made up of five men and three women, and the trial lasted about 13 hours over three days. The judge had to significantly postpone the announcement of the decision because the jury needed to go back and fill out the damages section of the form. This added nearly 30 minutes to the announcement.
Although Amber Heard was present for the verdict reading, Johnny Depp watched from a TV in the United Kingdom due to prior work commitments. While there were fewer people outside the courtroom without Depp present, the crowd was still quite large. They erupted in applause as the announcement was made.
Depp has claimed that Heard’s op-ed has caused actual damage to his career. Depp was dropped from multi-million dollar franchises such as The Pirates of the Caribbean and The Harry Potter series by producers. He claimed her accusations were false and filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against her. She then filed a counter-suit for $100 million.
The trial, held in Fairfax, Virginia, began on April 11. Throughout the trial, both testified about their marriage’s history of violence and abuse. Dozens of witnesses testified for both parties.
On May 27, each party delivered their closing statements. Both sides claimed to be the victim rather than the abuser, both claimed the other was lying, and both claimed they just wanted to get on with their lives. The jury then had the difficult task of reaching a decision.
Depp’s lawyers claimed that Heard was the abuser and Depp was the victim. They claimed that Heard not only abused Depp during their relationship, but also afterward when she smeared his name. This ruined his career and took away opportunities from him.
Heard’s attorneys claimed that Depp has now caused her global humiliation, which has affected her career. What’s more, they say, Depp has sent a message to domestic abuse victims everywhere that they will not be believed.
“If you didn’t take the picture it didn’t happen. If you did take pictures they’re fake… That is the message that Mr Depp is asking you to send.” Heard’s lawyer stated.
Though the jury found no evidence that Depp ever physically abused Heard, the couple’s relationship was clearly toxic on both sides. Recordings of name-calling and belittling, massive fights, and now-famous incidents in which it appears that Heard, not Depp, was the physically violent one, though each had their own version of the stories. Everything came down to two people who clearly had and continue to have personal issues that need to be addressed by professionals. Depp admits to having substance abuse issues, which he claims Heard exaggerated. Throughout the trial, there were other claims that Heard had various mental health issues.
Finally, the jury reached a decision. They determined that Heard did, in fact, defame and harm Depp’s career with malicious intent. While Depp is considered the case’s victor, the jury did find him liable in one aspect.
Depp was found liable for a statement his attorney made to the Daily Mail calling her claims a hoax, and Heard was found liable for the op-ed published in the Washington Post defaming Johnny Depp. The jury awarded Depp $15 million, while Heard received $2 million for her countersuit.
“Six years ago, my life, the lives of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and the lives of those who have supported and believed in me for many, many years were forever changed.”
Everything happened in the blink of an eye.
False, very serious, and criminal allegations were leveled against me in the media, resulting in an endless barrage of hateful content, despite the fact that no charges were ever filed against me. It had already traveled twice around the world in a nanosecond and had a profound impact on my life and career.
Six years later, the jury restored my life. “I am deeply moved.” Depp made the announcement in a statement.
Amber Heard, too, issued a statement in which she expressed her dissatisfaction with the outcome.
“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.
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.
I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK.
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.”
The trial has been weaponized by social media, with the court of public opinion siding with Johnny Depp. Unfortunately, this has led to many people paying more attention to things they see on the internet, such as theories about Heard snorting cocaine in court, than to actual facts from the trial. Social media portrayed Depp as perfect, which anyone who watched the trial will know he was not. He may not have done what Heard accused him of, but he wasn’t completely innocent either. Throughout their relationship, both parties made numerous mistakes.
Although Johnny Depp won the case, both parties have suffered irreparable harm to their careers, reputations, and livelihoods. Both have now suffered the consequences of a toxic relationship. Both are now left to pick up the pieces.