Johnny Depp verdict: Actor wins defamation case in opposition to ex-wife Amber Heard

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Johnny Depp received his defamation case in opposition to Amber Heard Friday with a jury awarding him $15 million after a bombshell seven-week trial marked by stunning allegations of abuse leveled by either side.

The jury present in favor of Depp on all counts, indicating that the seven-member panel didn’t credit score Heard’s allegations of home violence and sexual assault.

Choose Penney Azcarate decreased Depp’s punitive damages award from $5 million to $350,000, bringing the full sum to only over $10 million.  

In a token win for Heard, the jury – composed of 5 males and two girls –discovered that Depp had defamed her via his legal professional, Adam Waldman, as to a single assertion, accusing her of staging an alleged assault. They awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages. 

Depp, 58, who’s on tour with guitarist Jeff Beck in England, didn’t present up for the decision, whereas Heard, 36, sat on the protection desk sporting a somber expression as she listened to the choice in Fairfax County Circuit Courtroom in Virginia.

Earlier than the decision was learn, she mouthed to her sister, who was seated within the entrance row of the gallery, “I love you.”

A photo combination of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court, in Virginia, May 27, 2022. 

A photograph mixture of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Courtroom, in Virginia, Could 27, 2022. 
( Steve Helber/Pool through Reuters)

The protracted courtroom battle kicked off in 2019 after Depp sued Heard over a 2018 op-ed she wrote within the Washington Put up figuring out herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”

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She didn’t check with Depp by identify, however his legal professionals argued that the piece falsely portrayed Heard as a home violence sufferer and ruined his life.

It took the jury about 12 hours unfold over three days to succeed in their verdict. Depp issued a press release celebrating the victory. 

“The jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled,” he stated. “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.”

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Heard stated in a press release that she was devastated by what she believed this verdict means for different girls. “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,” in accordance with the assertion. “[the verdict] 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.”

The warring exes started their public battle on Could 27, 2016 – a central date of their saga. 

That is when Heard went to a Los Angeles courthouse to acquire a restraining order in opposition to Depp after he allegedly bashed her within the face with a cellphone. 

Actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard attend the red carpet event for the movie

Actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard attend the purple carpet occasion for the film “Black Mass” on the 72nd Venice Movie Pageant in northern Italy September 4, 2015. 
(Manuel Silvestri through Reuters)

She exited the courthouse flanked by her publicist, and with a big bruise below her proper eye, as a throng of photographers snapped her image. 

Depp’s group argued that she painted on the bruise and tipped off the press.

The pictures and abuse allegations went viral, garnering worldwide headlines, and set off a vicious public quarrel that has endured for six years – twice so long as their relationship. 

Throughout closing statements, Vasquez argued that Depp was the only sufferer of their doomed romance. 

“There is an abuser in this courtroom, and it is not Mr. Depp,” Vasquez informed jurors Friday, noting that it was the six-year anniversary to the day that Heard obtained the restraining order. “Ms. Heard is in fact the abuser and Mr. Depp the abused.”

Vasquez described Heard as a “deeply troubled person, violent, afraid of abandonment, desperate for attention and approval.”

Amber Heard's lawyer Ben Rottenborn delivers his closing statement Friday May 27, 2022, in Johnny Depp's defamation case against his ex-wife. 

Amber Heard’s lawyer Ben Rottenborn delivers his closing assertion Friday Could 27, 2022, in Johnny Depp’s defamation case in opposition to his ex-wife. 
(Steve Helber/Pool through Reuters)

Heard fabricated her “wild, over-the-top and implausible” abuse claims after Depp informed her he needed to finish their one-year marriage, the lawyer argued.  

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“You either believe all of it, or none of it,” Vasquez stated. “Either she is a victim of ugly, horrible abuse, or she is a woman who is willing to say absolutely anything.”

The “Edward Scissorhands” actor took the stand for 4 days and informed jurors how his ex-wife hurled a vodka bottle at him that shattered on his hand and sliced off the tip of his finger throughout a 2015 brawl in Australia. Heard has denied it.

Jurors have been performed disturbing audio recordings by which Heard admitted to hitting Depp and referred to as him a “washed up piece of sh-t” and a “sell out,” mocking his position as Officer Thomas Hanson on the TV sequence “21 Jump Street.”

In a single recording, after the pair cut up, Heard informed Depp, “Tell the world Johnny, tell them Johnny Depp, I Johnny Depp, a man, I’m a victim too of domestic violence.”

He replied, “Yes.”

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Depp alleges that Heard used the bogus abuse allegations to barter a $7 million divorce settlement, then moved on with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who she informed her agent she did not love and was “just filling space.” 

Though she publicly promised to donate the total sum to charity and claimed she had already finished so on a TV present, it was revealed throughout the trial that she had solely parted with a small fraction of the payout. Many of the donations made her on behalf got here from Musk, in accordance with testimony.

Heard provided a dramatically totally different account of their poisonous relationship throughout her 4 days on the stand, telling jurors that Depp grew to become a violent and belligerent “monster” when he was excessive and drunk. 

A photo combination of Johnny Depp, Kate Moss via video link and Amber Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court, in Virginia, May 25, 2022.  

A photograph mixture of Johnny Depp, Kate Moss through video hyperlink and Amber Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Courtroom, in Virginia, Could 25, 2022.  
(Evelyn Hochstein/pool through Reuters)

In her most excessive abuse declare, the “Aquaman” star accused Depp of dragging her nude physique throughout damaged glass then penetrating her with a liquor bottle. 

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The alleged sexual assault occurred throughout the identical 2015 blowout in Australia that left the “Black Mass” star lacking a chunk of his finger. 

In between sobs, Heard recounted one other horrific act of sexual abuse. She alleged he forcibly carried out a cavity search on her, violently sticking his fingers inside her and looking for his cocaine throughout a drug-induced rage, she stated.

The clashing exes weren’t the one celebrities within the courtroom for the weird trial  – Kate Moss was a shock witness showing through dwell hyperlink from England on behalf of Depp. Ellen Barkin testified for Heard in a pre-recorded deposition. 

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Heard’s group initially indicated that they might name actor James Franco and Musk – however they by no means materialized on the stand. 

Camille Vasquez delivers her summation Friday May 27, 2022, in Fairfax County Circuit Court, in Virginia.

Camille Vasquez delivers her summation Friday Could 27, 2022, in Fairfax County Circuit Courtroom, in Virginia.
(Steve Helber/ Pool through Reuters)

Heard’s lawyer, Ben Rottenborn, stated in closing statements that Depp’s lawsuit in opposition to the “London Fields” actress is a continuation of a relentless smear marketing campaign her ex-husband launched in opposition to her after she filed for divorce.

“In Mr. Depp’s world, you don’t leave Mr. Depp, and if you do, he will start a campaign of global humiliation against you,” he stated.

Rottenborn added that legal professionals for Depp have been setting a harmful precedent for victims of abuse. 

“If you didn’t tell your friends, you’re lying. If you did tell your friends, it’s part of the hoax,” he stated in summations. 

He added {that a} discovering in favor of Depp would having a chilling impact on First Modification protections – particularly for victims of home abuse.

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