Johnny Depp Wins Amber Heard Defamation Trial, Awarded Over $10 Million (UPDATE)

Jurors had a third day of deliberations on Wednesday, at which point a verdict was reached. The case has received considerable media attention in recent weeks.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are pictured walking the red carpet

Image via Getty/John Shearer

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are pictured walking the red carpet

UPDATED 6/2, 10:50 a.m.: Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft spoke to the Today show on Thursday, saying her client is “absolutely” hoping to appeal the decision.

“She has some excellent grounds for it. … She was demonized here. A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed, and it caused the jury to be confused,” Bredehoft said.

Bredehoft insisted Heard can “absolutely not” afford the sum she’s been ordered to pay:

The attorney also appeared on CBS Mornings to speak about the verdict and what’s next:

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See original story below.

A verdict has been reached in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation case.

The jury, per the Associated Press, ruled in favor of Depp in his widely publicized lawsuit against Heard. The jury found that Depp had, among other things, proven elements of defamation and that Heard “acted with actual malice.” 

Also initially announced on Wednesday were $15 million of damages in Depp’s favor—$10 million for compensatory damages and punitive damages of $5 million. Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Penney Azcarate subsequently knocked the punitive damages down to $350,000, which is “the state’s statutory cap or legal limit,” per NBC, making his total damages $10.35 million.

On one Heard v. Depp count, it was determined that defamation had occurred, resulting in the awarding in Heard’s favor of $2 million in damages. This was in connection with public comments a Depp lawyer made about her allegations.

Heard, 36, was in attendance; Depp, 58, was not in the courtroom at the time due to a “previous commitment” elsewhere, per ABC News. Jurors were temporarily dismissed, however, when Judge Azcarate noted that damages-related information had not been specified correctly on related forms. The verdict was announced shortly after.

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Earlier on Wednesday, jurors in Virginia entered their third day of deliberations in the case, coverage of which has been near-constant since the trial began in April. Depp initially sued Heard for $50 million for alleged defamation in 2019 in connection with her Washington Post op-ed. Heard later countersued Depp for $100 million.

In the Post piece, published in December 2018, Heard spoke on having become “a public figure representing domestic abuse” two years earlier. “I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she said at the time. Depp’s name is not mentioned in the piece, which is a detail Heard’s legal team noted during the trial.

In a statement shared following Wednesday’s verdict announcement, Heard said the disappointment she feels is one that’s “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,” Heard’s statement opens. “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.”

In closing, she said, “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.”

Depp also shared a statement on the verdict, saying the jury “gave me my life back.”

“Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye,” he opened the message. He went on to say, “And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled. … From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. 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.”

Further along in the statement, he wrote, “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. … The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun. Veritas numquam perit. Truth never perishes.”

During testimony in the Wednesday-decided case, Heard detailed alleged instances of abuse from Depp. Depp, meanwhile, has maintained that Heard was the abuser in their relationship. 

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