Johnny Depp wins defamation trial against Amber Heard, jury awards him $15 million in damages

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Johnny Depp has won his defamation case against Amber Heard with the jury awarding him $15million, after less than three days of deliberation.

Amber Heard was found guilty of all three counts of defamation in the lawsuit brought by ex-husband Johnny Depp over her 2018 op-ed about coming forward with domestic abuse allegations.

After closing arguments from both sides were made on Friday, the jury entered deliberations and then resumed Tuesday morning after the Memorial Day holiday. Then on Wednesday afternoon, after more than 12 total hours of deliberations behind closed doors, the verdict was unanimously reached and read aloud in the Fairfax County, Virginia, courtroom.

Per Variety, the court clerk read aloud the jury’s verdict, finding that Heard had defamed Depp with each of three statements in the op-ed. The jury also found that Heard had acted with “actual malice,” meaning that they were convinced she had made the statements knowing they were false. The jury ruled in favor of Heard on one out of three statements that were made by Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman, when he told the Daily Mail she set up Depp in a hoax when the police came to their apartment in May 2016, and Heard was awarded $2 million in damages.

Depp wasn’t present at the verdict hearing and was watching from the United Kingdom, where he’s been performing rock concerts with Jeff Beck since May 30, 2022. After court was adjourned, Heard her lawyers and immediately exited the courtroom. Her legal team and family followed her.

It was the second time the former husband and wife squared off in court: Depp lost a libel case against a British newspaper at the High Court in London in 2020 where a judge ruled it was ‘substantially true’ he was a wife-beater.

In the new case held in Fairfax, Virginia, Depp, 58, sued Heard for $50million claiming that she defamed him with an op-ed piece in the Washington Post in 2018 in which she claimed to be a survivor of domestic abuse.

Heard, 35, countersued for $100million claiming that Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman made defamatory statements by calling her claims a ‘hoax.’

In closing arguments on Friday, Depp’s lawyers asked jurors to “give him his life back” after it was “ruined” by Heard’s domestic abuse allegations. They called her claims an act of profound cruelty to true survivors and said that she gave the performance of her life on the stand.

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