Johnny Depp wins US libel lawsuit towards former spouse Amber Heard

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Johnny Depp has received his multimillion-dollar US lawsuit towards former spouse Amber Heard after a Virginia jury dominated a 2018 article printed in The Washington Put up was defamatory.

He was awarded $15m by the court docket – comprising $10m compensatory damages and an extra $5m in punitive damages – however the decide capped the punitive damages complete in accordance with authorized limits, leading to a complete of $10.35m.

Amber Heard was awarded $2m in her counter-suit towards Depp.

Whereas the seven-person jury additionally dominated in favour of Heard on one depend in her countersuit towards Depp, the actor depicted the choice as a vindication, and his former spouse stated it was “a disappointment”.

Depp v Heard libel trial – live updates after jurors deliver their verdict

Depp stated he was “really humbled” by the jury’s verdict, saying the allegations had had a “seismic influence” on his life and profession.

“From the very starting, the purpose of bringing this case was to disclose the reality, whatever the consequence”, he stated.

“Talking the reality was one thing that I owed to my kids and to all those that have remained steadfast of their help of me.

“I really feel at peace realizing I’ve lastly achieved that.”

Amber Heard downcast as the verdict in her defamation trial against Johnny Depp was read out
Picture:
Amber Heard appeared upset and appeared down as the decision in her defamation trial towards Johnny Depp was learn out

Heard, who appeared downcast in court docket as the decision was learn out, stated she was “heartbroken” on the conclusion.

She claimed it “units again the clock to a time when a lady who spoke up and spoke out could possibly be publicly shamed and humiliated”.

She added: “I am unhappy I misplaced this case. However I’m sadder nonetheless that I appear to have misplaced a proper I believed I had as an American – to talk freely and brazenly.”

Depp was not in court docket to listen to the jury’s choice and was as an alternative noticed at a pub in Newcastle, following a sequence of appearances on tour with rock legend Jeff Beck this week.

Actor Johnny Depp takes a stand during his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., April 20, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/Pool

Depp had sued Heard for $50m (£38.2m) over a first-person article printed in The Washington Put up in December 2018, wherein she referred to herself as “a public determine representing home abuse”.

Heard‘s column didn’t point out Depp by identify, however he argued it was an instance of “defamation by implication” as a result of elements of the column referred to allegations of abuse she made towards him following their break-up in 2016.

Heard had issued a counterclaim for $100m (£76.4m) over statements calling her allegations a “hoax” made by her ex-husband’s lawyer which had been printed in Mail On-line tales in 2020.

US litigation lawyer Ryan Baker advised Sky Information that he was not stunned that Depp received general as his legal professionals did a “large job” at undermining Heard’s credibility “time and time once more”.

He additionally stated he’s not stunned that the jury discovered for Depp and Heard to some extent, as a result of there have been compelling tales on either side.

Nevertheless, Mr Baker stated Depp has “exonerated himself” general because the case centred on the Heard article within the Washington Put up, which was discovered to be defamatory and malicious.

He added that it is “laborious to think about” that none of jury weren’t influenced to some extent by the huge public help for Depp in contrast with Heard – in addition to the movie star kudos the actor has.

Following the decision, Depp’s legal professionals gave a quick assertion exterior the court docket in Fairfax, Virginia.

They stated Heard’s claims had been clearly “defamatory and never supported by any proof” and that they had been “so grateful to the jury for his or her cautious deliberations”.

They added that they had been “really honoured” to work with Depp on the case and that it was “now time to show the web page and look to the long run”.

On the finish of the six-week trial in Fairfax, Virginia, the actor’s authorized staff requested the jury “to provide Mr Depp his life again”, saying the case was not about cash however repute, and “releasing him from the jail wherein he has lived for the final six years”.

In his personal closing argument, Heard’s lawyer Ben Rottenborn stated the lawsuit was not about Depp’s repute however was a part of an ongoing smear marketing campaign launched by the actor after Heard filed for divorce.

“In Mr Depp’s world, you do not go away Mr Depp,” he stated. “For those who do, he’ll begin a marketing campaign of worldwide humiliation towards you.”

Mr Rottenborn stated it was “ridiculous” that Depp was making an attempt to “idiot” the jury into believing he was by no means as soon as abusive in direction of Heard.

Throughout six weeks of testimony at Fairfax County Circuit Court docket in Virginia, the jury heard from associates – together with supermodel Kate Moss – relations, medics, therapists and workers previous and current who labored with and frolicked with the previous couple. Depp and Heard additionally took the stand twice every themselves, with each spending a number of days giving differing accounts of their relationship to the jury.

Surprising insights into their big rows had been detailed in court docket. Other than the alleged bodily violence, claims towards Depp included an accusation that he held his canine out of a shifting automobile window and that he painted messages in blood on the wall of a home in Australia after infamously severing his finger. He, in flip, accused Heard of defecating of their mattress and faking bleeding accidents utilizing nail polish.

It was a query of who the jury believed.

Because the plaintiff, or the one that launched the authorized proceedings, Depp was the primary of the pair to testify, telling the jury he is “obsessed with the truth” and claiming it was he who was the sufferer of home abuse throughout his relationship with Heard, not the opposite method spherical. He referred to as his ex-wife’s allegations towards him “heinous and disturbing”, saying they’d “permeated” the leisure business and that he hoped the trial would clear his identify.

When Heard took the stand, she made a number of allegations of bodily and sexual abuse towards Depp, breaking down in tears as she explained some in graphic detail. She advised the court docket her ex-husband had been jealous of her co-stars together with Eddie Redmayne, Billy Bob Thornton and James Franco, and that in one incident of alleged abuse she feared for her life.

Actor Amber Heard testifies during the Depp vs Heard defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S. May 26, 2022. Michael Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS

Franco and tech billionaire Elon Musk, who dated Heard after her relationship with Depp ended, had been on account of testify through the trial – as was Depp’s buddy Paul Bettany – however the high-profile stars had been dropped from participating on account of time constraints.

In the opening statements, Depp’s legal professionals stated Heard was making ready for “the efficiency of a lifetime” through the listening to, whereas her authorized staff stated the case would expose the “actual” particular person behind the “fame” and “pirate costumes”.

Through the case, a {couples} therapist advised the court docket that the pair engaged in “mutual abuse“, whereas two expert psychologists gave differing accounts on whether or not or not Heard suffered from PTSD on account of abuse, or the truth is had a persona dysfunction.

A monetary knowledgeable estimated Depp had suffered misplaced earnings of about $40m on account of Heard’s allegations and loads of his safety guards and workers members corroborated his claims that on events, his ex-wife was violent in direction of him.

Learn extra:
Depp v Heard – what was said during the opening statements?

Week by week account of ‘soap opera’ trial

Nevertheless, Heard’s witnesses stated they noticed proof of bodily abuse, with a make-up artist saying she needed to cowl up a lip damage and the actress’s sister saying she witnessed a struggle between the previous couple.

Depp and Heard began relationship after assembly on the set of the 2011 movie The Rum Diary and married in Los Angeles in February 2015. They break up up in Could 2016, with Heard submitting for a restraining order shortly afterwards.

The decision within the US case comes nearly two years after Depp’s first libel trial within the UK, a three-week case against the publisher of The Sun newspaper on the Royal Courts Of Justice in London.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp pictured in January 2016, just a few months before their break-up. Pic: AP
Picture:
Heard and Depp pictured in January 2016, only a few months earlier than their break-up. Pic: AP

Following the trial in the summertime of 2020 – which noticed Heard giving proof as a witness, somewhat than because the defendant – the decide handed down his ruling a couple of months later, finding that an article referring to the actor as a “wife beater” was “substantially true”.

Depp requested the Court docket of Attraction to grant permission for him to problem the ruling, with the intention of getting its findings overturned and a retrial ordered, however the enchantment was denied in March 2021.

Because the judgment within the UK case, Depp has been seen at a couple of business occasions and picked up a lifetime achievement award from a serious movie competition in Spain – and extra not too long ago a medal of honour for his contributions to artwork in Serbia. He’s additionally selling his work as an artist.

Learn extra:
‘I’m obsessed with the truth’: Depp’s first day on the stand

‘It broke my heart’: Heard’s first day on the stand

Nevertheless, movie roles seem to have dried up for the previous Pirates Of The Caribbean star, along with his final film Minamata, wherein he performed warfare photographer Eugene Smith, launched in 2020. He is not going to be part of a deliberate sixth Pirates Of The Caribbean movie and was additionally dropped from the Harry Potter spin-off Incredible Beasts 3, with Mads Mikkelsen later changing him as Gellert Grindelwald.

Heard, who welcomed a child daughter by way of surrogate in 2021, starred in Zack Snyder’s Justice League in 2021 and is ready to seem in Aquaman 2 in 2023.

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