Los Angeles, Jun 1 (EFE).- The jury in the defamation case involving dueling lawsuits by actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard concluded that both were responsible for defaming one another, finding Depp to have won the libel trial but Heard to have partially won her countersuit against him with the net result that she must pay more.
Thus, Depp was vindicated in his claim that his ex-wife had lied when she said he abused her both before and during their February 2015 – January 2017 marriage.
In a unanimous decision, the seven-person Virginia jury decided that Heard must pay the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star $15 million while he must pay her $2 million.
According to the jury, two things written by Heard in an op-ed piece published in 2018 by The Washington Post libeled Depp, although they found that the actor also defamed his ex-wife on one occasion.
In the first statement in question, the actress wrote: “Two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath.” Two years prior to writing this, in 2016, Heard had accused Depp of domestic violence, and his lawyers argued that the op-ed statement was a clear reference to him.
Heard’s second objectionable statement was that “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse,” and Depp’s legal team also sought damages regarding this comment.
The jury, who deliberated for 13 hours over three days, concluded that Heard’s statements in both 2016 and 2018 were false and were made with the aim of defaming Depp, despite the fact that she never mentioned his name in her op-ed.
Depp had sued Heard for $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages, but the jury ultimately awarded him only $10 million and $5 million, respectively. However, the presiding judge said that Virginia state law places a $350,000 cap on punitive damages and thus Depp will receive only $10.35 million.
Meanwhile, Heard partially won the $100 million countersuit she filed against Depp regarding remarks made by Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman calling her abuse allegations a hoax.
Only Heard was present in the courtroom when the verdict was read since Depp had traveled to London, where he recently participated in a concert with Jeff Beck and Kate Moss, the latter of whom in the final days of the trial had provided witness testimony denying Heard’s claim that Depp had pushed Moss down a staircase during their 1994-1998 relationship.