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Johnny Depp-Amber Heard jury sides primarily with Depp in defamation trial

A jury decided on June 1 that Johnny Depp, through his lawyer Adam Waldman, defamed Amber Heard on one of three counts in her countersuit against him. (Video: Reuters)
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Johnny Depp prevailed in his three counts of defamation against Amber Heard and was awarded $15 million, the jury announced Wednesday. The seven-person jury also decided that Depp, through his lawyer Adam Waldman, defamed Heard on one of three counts in her countersuit; she was awarded $2 million.

The unanimous decision was delivered on the third day of deliberation, bringing an end to the trial after six weeks of emotional testimony recounting Depp and Heard’s tumultuous relationship and its fallout.

Depp, 58, said he was “overwhelmed” in a statement released after the verdict. The jury “gave me my life back,” he wrote. “I am truly humbled.” Heard, 36, had a more blunt assessment of the proceedings, saying that she was “sad I lost this case” and that the verdict “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.”

Depp first sued Heard for $50 million over an op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post in 2018 in which she referred to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. Heard countersued Depp for $100 million after Waldman called her accusations a hoax. The trial was held in Virginia, where the printing presses and servers of The Washington Post are located. (The Post was not a defendant in the suit.)

What you need to know

  • Heard was found to have defamed Depp in three separate statements. Depp was found to have defamed Heard once through a statement made by one of his lawyers, Adam Waldman.
  • Depp was awarded $15 million: $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. However, the latter will be automatically reduced to $350,000, per Virginia law.
  • Though Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages, legal experts largely saw this trial as a decisive win for Depp. The actors’ respective statements after the verdict reflected this: Depp’s is one of accomplishment, and Heard’s is one of loss.