with videoThe jury has ruled in favor of Johnny Depp (56) in the libel suit he brought against his ex-wife Amber Heard (36). The court awarded Depp €15 million in damages, although he will receive only a fraction of that amount. The actor was not present at the verdict, Heard was. “The disappointment I feel today cannot be expressed in words,” said the actress.
Mark den Blanken
The jury awarded Heard $2 million in damages in her lawsuit against ex-husband Johnny Depp, who was also found guilty of defamation. This is because his lawyer had previously called her allegations of abuse ‘a hoax’.
As for Depp’s libel charge, the jury believes Heard’s 2018 op-ed, in which she writes about abuse, did indeed cause harm to Depp. Heard disagreed: She didn’t mention her ex’s name in the piece and wrote more broadly about what was done to her in a previous relationship. “I have the right to tell my story. Johnny had deprived me of my voice long enough,” Heard said later in court.
The jury also found Heard’s charges in the Washington Post ‘malicious’. The jury awarded Depp $10 million in damages and $5 million in criminal costs for the lawsuit. But that amounts to a maximum of $350,000 in the state of Virginia, where the lawsuit took place. The amount is significantly lower than the $50 million that the actor had demanded. Heard wanted to see $100 million from her ex. At first she had tried to have the libel case declared invalid. When that failed, she wanted to see compensation.
A British judge ruled in Heard’s favor in an earlier lawsuit that Depp had filed against the tabloid The Sun. The newspaper had called Depp a ‘wife beater’. That was allowed, the court found, because there was enough evidence that Depp had indeed abused his ex-wife.
The goal was to bring the truth to light, whatever the outcome
Depp says in response to the won libel case against American media that he has been given his life back by the jury. “Six years ago, my life, the lives of my children, the lives of my loved ones and the lives of people who have supported and believed in me for many years have changed forever,” Depp said, referring to the start of the allegations. of assault by his ex-wife. “False, very serious and criminal allegations were made against me through the media and that caused a flood of hate messages, although no charges were ever brought against me. Within a nanosecond, the story had already gone around the world twice and had a seismic impact on my life and career.”
The judgment has seriously affected Heard. “I feel broken because the huge mountain of evidence was not enough to withstand the power and influence of my ex-husband,” said the actress. “I think it’s even worse when I think about what this judgment means for other women. It’s a setback. We are going back to a time when a woman who speaks out can be publicly pilloried and humiliated.”
Heard does not intend to stop at this statement, however. Her lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, announced in several American morning shows that they plan to appeal. “And she has some excellent reasons for it.” For example, the lawyer believes that the jury was influenced by the media. “I think there were a lot of influences that were beyond our control. Although the jury was repeatedly asked not to read about the case, so are just people who have social media. How could they not have been affected?”
The verdicts put an end to a televised trial that Depp had hoped would help restore his reputation. However, it became a major media spectacle. Depp filed his suit in the state of Virginia, rather than his hometown of California. According to critics, because he hoped to get public opinion on his side: Virginia is less strict with the public broadcasting of lawsuits. The judge in the case even allowed three cameras into her courtroom.
Showbiz reporter Charlene explains why Depp is the big winner:
Hundred hours of testimonials
The judges received more than 100 hours of testimonials from doctors, psychologists, security guards and friends, all the way down to top model Kate Moss, who had a relationship with Depp in the 90s. They saw pictures of Heard’s bruises and Depp’s bloodied finger – he said she threw a vodka bottle at him and he lost the tip of his finger, she claimed he cut the tip off himself and then texts on the walls calcified with his own blood. Then, she said, he abused her with a liquor bottle. The morning after an argument, he would have found a turd in bed, hers. She denied: it was the dog that would have eaten his weed. They accuse each other of alcohol and drug abuse.
The verdicts were scheduled to be read in Virginia court at 9 p.m. tonight. But the judge sent the jury back for failing to complete the form. The entire statement followed later.
There was plenty of mud thrown during the trial:
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