After several days of deliberation, the jury has finally reached a verdict in the dual defamation case between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard in Fairfax, Virginia.
A little after 3:00 pm ET on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, the seven-person civil jury unanimously ruled the following:
All three statements made in the Washington Post OpEd were proven to be defamation against Mr. Depp, that they were false statements published by Ms. Heard, it was seen by multiple people, and that Ms. Heard acted in “actual malice.”
Only one statement made by Mr. Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman in the DailyMail OpEd was proven to be defamation.
The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages (the judge had to lower punitive damages to $3.35 million). The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages and $0 in punitive charges.
Heard’s lawyers asked for the Jury to be pulled, and all jurors confirmed their verdict.
The judge had to initially admonish the jury because they found a defamatory statement but needed to fill out for compensatory damages and for punitive damages which was apparently left blank. Now we have the final decision.
This case surrounding accusations of domestic violence and abuse has roots going back to 2018 when Heard published an OpEd in the Washington Post at the height of the #MeToo movement accusing Johnny Depp of being physically abusive to her. Very soon after the accusations were published, Depp was unceremoniously dropped by Walt Disney Pictures, bringing an abrupt end to his character, Captain Jack Sparrow, in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
That departure began a domino effect in which Depp became a Pariah in Hollywood purely based on accusations and that he was “guilty until proven innocent.” Meanwhile, Heard’s career remained relatively unchanged, and she retained her role in Warner Bros.’ Aquaman 2, while the same studio dropped Depp as Geller Grindelwald from the latest Fantastic Beasts movie.
But in the six weeks of the televised trial, it became seemingly clear through testimonies and recorded evidence that Depp was actually the abused member of their relationship. However, Heard held fast to the view that she was the abused one.
The trial was focused on defamation, with Depp filing a $50 million lawsuit against Heard while she put in a counter lawsuit for $100 million, claiming that she was defamed when Depp’s lawyer said her allegations were a hoax.
According to WESH2, Jurors were required to “decide both claims based on whether or not the statements were made with ‘actual malice,’ meaning they knew what they were saying was false, or were acting with a reckless disregard for the truth.” However, the fans looking in on the trial were quick to make up their own minds on the matter, with many siding with Depp.
Depp was not in attendance for the verdict reading due to his decision to go to the United Kingdom and perform with rock star Jeff Beck. The duo reportedly played at Royal Albert Hall the other night.
We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on news relating to Disney Movies and their stars as more developments come to light.