After nine long weeks, the jury has spoken: Johnny Depp has won his defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
On the afternoon of June 1st, a Fairfax County, Virginia jury found that Heard both defamed and “acted with malice” in publishing her now infamous Washington Post op-ed.
Specifically, the jury was tasked with determining whether or not three specific statements found within the op-ed, despite not naming the actor directly, were intended to defame Depp, and if Heard was responsible for their publication.
These statements included:
- The headline, “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”
- “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out
- “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”
Not only did the jury find that Heard did indeed defame Depp with these statements, but they also found that the actress acted “with malice” in publishing them.
The jury also awarded Depp $10 million for Heard’s defamatory statements and $5 million for her responsibility in publishing them, but with the latter capped at $350,000 as per Virginia law.
Conversely, in the case of Heard’s $100 Million counter defamation claim, the same jury found in favor of the actress regarding her accusation that Depp’s former Attorney, Adam Waldman, made the following false statements about her to the press while acting as the actor’s representative:
- “Amber Heard and her friends in the media use fake sexual violence allegations both as a sword and shield depending on their needs. They have selected some of her sexual violence hoax facts as a sword, inflicting them on the public and on Mr. Depp.”
- “Quite simply this was an ambush, a hoax. They set Mr. Depp up by calling the cops but the first attempt didn’t do the trick. The officers came to the penthouses, thoroughly searched and interviewed and left after seeing no damage to face or property. So Amber and her friends spilled a little wine, roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 9-1-1.”
- “We have reached the beginning of the end of Ms. Heard’s abuse hoax against Johnny Depp.”
However, in her claim that these statements were made “with actual malice,” the jury ruled against her. As such, ultimately, they awarded Heard only $2 Million in damages.
Following the verdict’s reading, both actors released respective statements to their social media accounts.
Taking to Twitter, Heard wrote to her followers, “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.”
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women,” she continued. “It is a setback. It 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.”
She added, “I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK.”
“I’m sad I lost this case,” she concluded. “But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American – to speak freely and openly.”
On Instagram, Depp explained to his followers, “Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye.”
“False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were brought against me,” he recalled. “It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career.”
“And six years later, they jury gave me my life back,” Depp said. “I am truly humbled.”
He further wrote, “My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought.”
“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome,” the actor asserted. “Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”
Depp then declared, “I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world. 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.”
“I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media,” he solemnly added.
Drawing his statement to a close, Depp stated, “I wish to acknowledge the noble work of the judge, the jurors, the court staff and the Sheriffs who have sacrificed their own time to get to this point, and to my diligent and unwavering legal team who did an extraordinary job in helping me to share the truth.”
“The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun,” he closed. “Veritas numquam perit. Truth never perishes.”
What do you make of the jury finding in favor of Depp? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!