FAIRFAX, Va. – A jury sided Wednesday with Johnny Depp in his libel lawsuit towards ex-wife Amber Heard, awarding the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor greater than $10 million and vindicating his allegations that Heard lied about Depp abusing her ahead of and right through their transient marriage.
But in a cut up determination, the jury additionally discovered that Heard was once defamed by way of one among Depp’s attorneys, who accused her of making an in depth hoax that integrated roughing up the couple’s condominium to seem worse for police. The jury awarded her $2 million.
The verdicts convey an finish to a televised trial that Depp had was hoping would lend a hand repair his recognition, despite the fact that it became a spectacle that presented a window right into a vicious marriage.
Heard, who was once stoic within the court as the decision was once learn, mentioned she was once heartbroken.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It’s a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously,’’ she said in a statement posted on her Twitter account.
Depp, who was not in court Wednesday, said “the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
“I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up,” he mentioned in a commentary posted to Instagram.
Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His attorneys mentioned he was once defamed by way of the item even supposing it by no means discussed his title.
The jury present in Depp’s choose on all 3 of his claims in terms of explicit statements within the 2018 piece.
Throughout the complaints, enthusiasts who had been overwhelmingly on Depp’s facet coated up in a single day for coveted court seats. Spectators who couldn’t get in collected in the street to cheer Depp and jeer Heard each time they seemed outdoor.
A crowd of about 200 folks cheered when Depp’s attorneys got here out after the decision. “Johnny for president!” one guy yelled time and again.
Greg McCandless, 51, a retired non-public detective from Reston, Virginia, stood outdoor the courthouse dressed in a pirate hat and pink head shawl, a nod to Depp’s well-known position as Capt. Jack Sparrow within the “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequence.
“I do believe that there was defamation, and I do believe that it did hurt his career,” McCandless mentioned. “I think the jury heard the evidence, and the verdict was just.”
In comparing Heard’s counterclaims, jurors thought to be 3 statements by way of a legal professional for Depp who known as her allegations a hoax. They discovered she was once defamed by way of one among them, during which the legal professional claimed that she and buddies “spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight,” and known as police.
Sydni Porter, 30, drove an hour from her house in Maryland to turn give a boost to for Heard. She mentioned the decision was once disappointing, however no longer unexpected, and sends a message to ladies that “as much evidence as you have (of abuse), it’s never going to be enough.”
The jury discovered Depp will have to obtain $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, however the pass judgement on mentioned state legislation caps punitive damages at $350,000, which means Depp was once awarded $10.35 million.
While the case was once ostensibly about libel, many of the testimony curious about whether or not Heard were bodily and sexually abused, as she claimed. Heard enumerated greater than a dozen alleged attacks, together with a battle in Australia — the place Depp was once taking pictures a “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequel — during which Depp misplaced the top of his heart finger and Heard mentioned she was once sexually assaulted with a liquor bottle.
Depp mentioned he by no means hit Heard and that she was once the abuser, despite the fact that Heard’s legal professionals highlighted years-old textual content messages Depp despatched apologizing to Heard for his conduct in addition to profane texts he despatched to a pal during which Depp mentioned he sought after to kill Heard and defile her useless frame.
In many ways, the trial was once a replay of a lawsuit Depp filed within the United Kingdom towards a British tabloid after he was once described as a “wife beater.” The pass judgement on if that’s the case dominated within the newspaper’s choose after discovering that Heard was once telling the reality in her descriptions of abuse.
In the Virginia case, Depp needed to turn out no longer handiest that he by no means assaulted Heard, however that Heard’s article — which targeted totally on public coverage associated with home violence — defamed him. He additionally needed to turn out that Heard wrote the item with exact malice.
And to say damages, he needed to turn out that her article led to the wear and tear to his recognition versus any selection of articles ahead of and after Heard’s piece that detailed the allegations towards him.
The case captivated hundreds of thousands via its gavel-to-gavel tv protection, together with impassioned fans on social media who dissected the whole thing from the actors’ mannerisms to the conceivable symbolism of what they had been dressed in. Both performers emerge from the trial with reputations in tatters with unclear potentialities for his or her careers.
Eric Rose, a disaster control and communications knowledgeable in Los Angeles, known as the trial a “classic murder-suicide.”
“From a reputation-management perspective, there can be no winners,” he mentioned. “They’ve bloodied each other up. It becomes more difficult now for studios to hire either actor because you’re potentially alienating a large segment of your audience who may not like the fact that you have retained either Johnny or Amber for a specific project because feelings are so strong now.”
Depp, a three-time absolute best actor Oscar nominee, had till contemporary years been a bankable celebrity. His flip as Sparrow helped flip the “Pirates of the Caribbean” into a world franchise, however he’s misplaced that position. He was once additionally changed within the 3rd “Fantastic Beasts” spin-off movie, “The Secrets of Dumbledore.”
Despite testimony on the trial that he might be violent, abusive and out of keep watch over, Depp gained a status ovation Tuesday night time in London after acting for roughly 40 mins with Jeff Beck on the Royal Albert Hall.
Heard’s performing occupation has been extra modest, and her handiest two upcoming roles are in a small movie and the impending “Aquaman” sequel due out subsequent 12 months.
Depp’s attorneys fought to stay the case in Virginia, partly as a result of state legislation equipped some felony benefits when put next with California, the place the 2 live. A pass judgement on dominated that Virginia was once a suitable discussion board for the case as a result of The Washington Post’s printing presses and on-line servers are within the county.
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