The Verdict Is In for the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp Trial
After three days of deliberation and six weeks of questioning, cross-examination and viral sensations, the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial has come to an end.
The day got off to a bumpy start when the jurors forgot to fill out the compensatory damages award, leading Judge Penney Azcarate to call for a brief recess and some to speculate that actor Depp, 58, who is currently in the U.K. playing concerts with Jeff Beck, won the case. Fellow actor Heard, 36, who was present, nervously awaited the verdict as pundits speculated, while a large crowd was seen waiting outside the courtroom.
Helicopters circled the area, media outlets waited outside, all of them desperate for any updates. Even through the relative distance of a television screen, it truly felt like the trial of the century was finally coming to an end. There were more than 3 million people watching the Law & Crime Channel on YouTube alone, which streamed the trial, and millions more tuning in to outlets from around the world.
So, what was the verdict in case CL-2019-2911?
Johnny v. Amber
The jury handed down their decision based on specific statements Heard made in an op-ed titled, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”
Statement one: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” Heard was found guilty of defaming Depp on all questions relating to this statement.
Statement two: “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic violence, and I felt our culture’s wrath.” Heard was found guilty of defaming Depp on all questions relating to this statement.
Statement three: “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.” Heard was found guilty of defaming Depp on all questions relating to this statement.
Compensatory damages: $10 million
Punitive damages: $5 million
Amber v. Johnny
To determine the level of Depp’s defamation against Heard, the jury used a Daily Mail article as the basis of the alleged defamatory statements.
Statement one: “Amber Heard and her friends in the media used fake sexual violence allegations as both a sword and shield depending on their needs.” Depp was found not guilty of defamation on all questions relating to this statement.
Statement two: In relation to the story about Heard spilling wine and “getting her story straight” with friends on the advice of her legal team, Depp was found guilty of defaming Heard.
Statement three: “We’ve reached the beginning of the end of Ms. Heard’s abuse hoax against Johnny Depp.” Depp was found not guilty of defamation on all questions relating to this statement.
Compensatory damages: $2 million
Punitive damages: $0
In total, Depp was awarded $15 million while Heard was awarded $2 million.
Each juror was then called to individually confirm that this was the unanimous verdict, which they did. From there, they were released to the deliberation room and the trial came to an end, with Depp’s legal team quietly celebrating with a group hug in the courtoom.
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