MOVIE NEWS – A jury has found Amber Heard guilty on all three counts of defamation, while Johnny Depp was convicted on one of the three counts of defaming Heard.
After weeks, even months, of legal wrangling, a verdict has finally been reached in the defamation trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. As we all know, the case dates back years: it stems from Heard’s 2018 opinion piece for The Washington Post, in which she publicly described herself as a survivor of physical and sexual abuse. Although he did not name Depp in the article, the actor said the connection was clear after Heard claimed he was abused in 2016.
Depp and his lawyers say the op-ed’s negative publicity got him fired from his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
He has sued Heard for $50 million in damages, claiming she defamed him by falsely accusing him of assault. Heard sued for $100 million, arguing that, in fact, Johnny Depp and his legal team had defamed her and ruined her career by claiming that her allegations of abuse were a hoax. Both sides brought in witnesses and experts to argue their case for weeks, and the jury reached its verdict on Wednesday.
After three days of deliberations, the jury unanimously found Amber Heard guilty of defaming Depp. She was found guilty on all three counts. The jury also awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. However, as for Heard’s counterclaim that Johnny Depp defamed her with statements issued by his then-lawyer Adam Waldman, the jury also found Depp guilty on one count and not guilty on two others. Heard was awarded $2 million in damages.
Heard’s lawyers will likely appeal the verdict.
Although it has been ruled that both parties were libelled, this is still a significant victory for Johnny Depp, as the jury also found that Heard’s claims that Depp had abused him were false and defamatory. In particular, it was the domestic violence allegations that had the biggest impact on his career, so Johnny Depp and his fans are still celebrating the verdict.
Johnny Depp says, “truth never perishes”
While Heard appeared in the courtroom for the reading, Depp was not present for the sentencing, as his team announced that he would be attending the proceedings from the UK due to previous commitments. However, he issued a statement after the sentencing in which he spoke, among other things, about how vital the verdict was to him:
“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. 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.”
He was particularly grateful to his fans who stuck by her through it all:
“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.”
Quoting a Latin proverb, he concluded, “Veritas numquam perit. Truth never perishes.”
Amber Heard: “I’m heartbroken”
After the verdict, Amber Heard issued a statement via her Twitter account expressing her disappointment with the ruling and what she believes the case means for other women:
“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. 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.”
“I’m sad I lost this case. 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,” the actress concluded her statement.
While the lawsuit exposing all the couple’s dirty laundry hasn’t exactly painted either of them in the most flattering light, the end of the legal battle may help Johnny Depp and Amber Heard move on with their lives. Regardless of the verdict, Johnny Depp appears to have already been vindicated in the eyes of many fans and observers of the trial. Popular petitions have been launched to get him back for his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and while a return to the series may not happen, there’s a good chance that many other prominent roles will soon come Depp’s way.
Although Heard has received negative attention on social media, as things stand, Heard will remain in Aquaman and The Lost Kingdom. During the trial, it was revealed that Mera’s role was drastically reduced, culminating in a rumoured ten minutes of total screen time. Heard claimed that this was due to disparaging remarks by Johnny Depp’s former lawyer Adam Waldman, but producer Walter Hamada testified that it was due to a lack of chemistry with Jason Momoa.
In any case, Heard may not have a future in the DCEU after Aquaman 2. However, regardless of the jury’s verdict, there were and will be those who continue to believe Heard’s side. There’s a good chance we haven’t seen the last of him on screen, but it’s probably best not to bet on him appearing in a possible Aquaman 3.