Johnny Depp-Amber Heard Jury Reaches Verdict in Civil Case

Johnny Depp has won his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard.

The jury’s verdict was reached and announced Wednesday in a Virginia court after the panel spent three days deliberating over six weeks of grueling, emotional, and highly contradictory testimony.

Heard was present in the courtroom for the verdict while Depp watched on TV from the U.K., where he had traveled after testimony ended Friday to perform with legendary rocker Jeff Beck, for one show in Sheffield and two at Royal Albert Hall in London.

Heard watched with little to no emotional response, solemnly looking down throughout the judge’s reading of the verdict.

A formal oversight from the jury delayed Wednesday’s announcement for nearly 20 minutes.

With the panel reseated in the courtroom and millions watching from TV feeds, expecting a verdict, the judge sent the jurors back to the jury room, telling them to fill out a compensatory-damages form with the amount of at least $1.

Depp sued Heard for defamation, claiming her 2018 Washington Post op-ed – in which she identified as a victim of domestic abuse – trashed his career. He says he was the abuse victim in their fiery relationship and sought $50 million, though he testified that the purpose of his case is to repair his legacy for his children and restore his reputation in the entertainment industry.

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Heard counter-sued for $100 million, based on claims that Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman defamed her when he spoke to British newspapers during the U.K. version of the case, which Depp lost. Waldman repeatedly said in the press that Heard’s story was a “hoax” perpetrated by a scorned ex bent on destroying Depp’s life.

Of the many witnesses called by both teams, only one – Heard’s sister Whitney – testified that she actually saw Depp strike Heard. But whether Depp ever abused Heard was only one of many complex, interlocking determinations the jury had to make.

Since Heard’s op-ed didn’t call Depp by name, jurors also had to decide whether he was the intended target; whether Heard acted with actual malice; and whether she was even responsible for the article’s contents, since it was written in conjunction with the ACLU. Heard’s team pointed out none of this mattered if they believed Depp abused Heard – “even once.”

The nitty-gritty legal details behind those defamation claims were the crux of a case that was otherwise highlighted by harrowing testimony from Heard, who described nightmarish encounters with a blacked-out Depp in 2014 and 2015. Over multiple days of testimony, Heard described in grim detail how she was punched, kicked, pulled by the hair and sexually assaulted with a glass liquor bottle.

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Depp has denied having ever hit Heard, or any woman, in his life, and maintains that Heard was the abuser, not just physically but emotionally. She admitted having “hit” Johnny, and the jury heard on audio recordings cruelly berating and belittling him.

His legal team blasted away at Heard’s testimony and photographic evidence, grilling her about the day she filed a restraining order in Los Angeles, where she was photographed with face bruises. They suggested Heard had tipped off the waiting paparazzi, which she denied, and suggested that she trashed her apartment to give the appearance of a fight aftermath before calling police.

Team Depp painted Heard’s testimony, photographs, and actions as a staged, calculated, conspiratorial ploy to get back at Depp after a marriage that was, by anyone’s account, volatile. Both sides had widely different accounts of how the actor severed his fingertip; who left a “fecal surprise” in their bed; and just about every other behind-closed-doors matter described on the stand.

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