Legal experts are looking at Johnny Depp’s courtroom victory over ex-wife Amber Heard not just for the twists and turns of the courtroom drama, but also for the broader implications of the jury’s ruling in the greater world.
Several analysts felt the outcome of the dueling defamation proceedings, in which Depp prevailed, was a setback for the #MeToo movement, and that it revealed a mistrust and hate of Heard.
Some thought it would jeopardize the cause of women who had complained about prominent men abusing them.
The jury gave him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, which the court quickly lowered to the statutory limit of $350,000 in Virginia.
Depp and Heard Express Their Displeasure at the Decision
As the verdict was read in the courtroom, Heard kept her gaze down. Depp was not in court, but issued a statement in which he said, in part, that “the jury handed me my life back.”
“The purpose of pursuing this lawsuit from the start was to uncover the truth, regardless of the outcome. I owed it to my children and all those who have remained consistent in their support for me, to tell the truth “he stated “I’m relieved that I’ve finally accomplished that.”
“It’s time to turn the page and look to the future,” Depp’s counsel said on Wednesday, thanking the jury.
“We are grateful, incredibly grateful,” attorney Camille Vasquez said outside court, “to the jury for their thorough deliberation, to the judge and the court staff who have given an incredible amount of time and resources to this case.”
In a Statement, Heard Expressed Her “Heartbroken” Over the Verdict
“The disappointment I’m experiencing today is indescribable. I’m heartbroken that the amount of evidence was insufficient to overcome my ex-disproportionate husband’s power, influence, and control “Heard remarked.
Heard testified that Depp was verbally and physically abusive to her during their relationship. Depp was also accused of sexual assault by her.
Depp testified that he has never struck a woman, rejected Heard’s allegation of sexual battery, and claimed that he was a victim of domestic abuse by Heard, which she disputes.
During the trial, both Heard and Depp’s attorneys provided images, audio, and video records to support their claims.
In testimony played on April 14, Laurel Anderson, a clinical psychologist who worked with Depp and Heard as their marriage counselor in 2015, stated the couple’s relationship had “mutual abuse” in it.
Depp’s side called witnesses throughout the trial, including model Kate Moss, with whom he had a past connection, and Walter Hamada, the head of DC Films. (Warner Bros. Discovery owns both CNN and DC Films.)
On Heard’s behalf, actress Ellen Barkin and a number of former Depp acquaintances testified.
In the entertainment industry and in and around the courthouse, Heard had much fewer vocal supporters than Depp.
The Jury Hears About a Couple’s Conflict
They met while filming “The Rum Diary” in 2011 and married in February 2015. Two years later, their divorce was formalized.
A December 2018 opinion piece by Heard in the Washington Post was at the center of the legal case. Although Depp’s name was not mentioned in the piece, his lawyer told jurors that it was apparent that Heard was referring to him.
All of Depp’s defamation charges were upheld by the jury, which noted a sentence in the article and title that read: “I stood out against sexual abuse and was met with the wrath of our culture. This must change.”
Two of Heard’s three counterclaims were dismissed by the jury. When a counsel representing Depp told a media source that Heard fabricated property damage to show to police after an alleged fight, they concluded she was defamed.
“Amber and her companions spilled a little wine and roughed up the place,” according to the statement, “getting their tales straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist.”
Depp’s Legal Team Reacted as Well
In a news conference following the verdict’s pronouncement, Johnny Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez said, “Today’s verdict verifies everything we have said from the beginning.”
“We’re also delighted that the trial has struck a chord with so many members of the public who appreciate truth and justice,” said lawyer Ben Chew.
On Wednesday, a seven-person jury made a decision in the defamation case between actor Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard, which may be the most talked-about case since the trial of basketball star O. J. Simpson.
The jury found both parties guilty of defamation, but not to the same degree, after a six-week trial that heard allegations of sexual assault and physical abuse.
While Heard was ordered to pay Depp $15 million in damages, Depp only had to pay Heard $2 million – a significant victory for the Pirates of the Caribbean star. However, this is only one aspect of the much-anticipated decision.