Why Amber Heard Also Won Money In Johnny Depp Defamation Trial
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Johnny Depp was awarded more than $10 million in damages after filing a lawsuit against Amber Heard, but the Aquaman actor has not walked away empty handed from the trial.
The jury returned a verdict mostly in favour of Depp on Wednesday (1 June), granting him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages in his defamation suit in which he sought $50m.
After Depp filed his lawsuit, Heard hit back with a $100m countersuit alleging defamation by Depp’s ex-lawyer in three statements he made to the Daily Mail in 2020.
The jury was asked to consider each statement individually in order to determine whether they were defamatory, with a verdict form asking whether the three statements former lawyer Adam Waldman had made or published about Heard were false and were seen by someone other than Heard. The jury also had to decide if Depp’s attorney made the statements with actual malice.
The statements, made on two different days in April 2020, were as follows:
"Amber Heard and her friends in the media use fake sexual-violence allegations as both a sword and shield depending on their needs. They have selected some of her sexual-violence hoax ‘facts’ as the sword, inflicting them on the public and Mr. Depp."
"Quite simply this was an ambush, a hoax. They set Mr. Depp up by calling the cops, but the first attempt didn’t do the trick. The officers came to the penthouses, thoroughly searched and interviewed, and left after seeing no damage to face or property. So Amber and her friends spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911."
"We have reached the beginning of the end of Ms. Heard’s abuse hoax against Johnny Depp."
After considering the statements and the question of whether they were defamatory, the jury ruled in Heard's favour for just one statement, the one beginning 'quite simply'.
As a result of their decision, the jury awarded Heard her $2m in compensatory damages, but $0 in punitive damages. Given that Heard owes Depp more than $10m, she will still walk away from the trial having lost money.
Heard said she was 'disappointed' with the verdict, and plans to launch an appeal against the decision.
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