The verdict is in! After weeks of bombshell testimony, heated exchanges with lawyers, surprise celebrity witnesses, and everyone in the world weighing in, we finally know the result of the most controversial celebrity trial of the decade.
Johnny Depp sued ex Amber Heard for defamation over her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, which painted her ex-husband as a “monster” of a domestic abuser. He was seeking $50 million, claiming her essay cost him big jobs in Hollywood — which, of course, it did. But he also said it was all a lie… and that’s what’s been at stake in these proceedings. This has become the de facto trial to decide Johnny’s guilt as an abuser — because it’s only defamation if it’s a lie.
On the other side, Amber countersued for $100 million, saying that painting her abuse allegations as a hoax has cost her even more.
After hearing shocking new versions of events — with never-before-heard accusations, glaring discrepancies, but unfortunately no smoking gun concrete evidence — the Fairfax, Virginia jury was instructed to weigh various elements of each statement in question. But in the end it all comes down to one thing: one of these people is lying about the abuse.
The jury deliberated for 12 hours and 45 minutes, but in the end they decided who they believed. And that person is…
Wow! Wow wow wow.
The jury was asked specifically about three statements:
“I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”
“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.”
The jury determined in a unanimous decision that all three statements were defamatory — that they were about Johnny, they were false, and that Amber wrote them with actual malice.
They awarded compensatory damages to Johnny in the amount of $10 million and punitive damages in the amount of $5 million, for a total of $15 million.
As for Amber’s countersuit? Surprisingly, they agreed that one of the statements Amber called defamatory — Johnny’s former attorney Adam Waldman saying she and her friends “roughed up” the apartment to try to frame Johnny — was also defamatory! Waldman had said:
“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 and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911.”
We guess the jury didn’t buy that whole detailed narrative about a planned hoax and lying to police? They were apparently fine with the other two statements about the abuse being a “hoax” though. Or at least, they didn’t find those to be defamatory.
They awarded Amber $2 million in compensatory damages and $0 in punitive damages.
So… both won a little??
Well, not really. Johnny winning WAS Amber losing. He proved, in court, to a unanimous jury, that she knowingly lied about him committing domestic abuse and “sexual violence” against her. This is a HUGE victory for Johnny, who of course lost his libel case in the UK in 2020. Collectively, however, this is obviously a huge blow to any woman who ever wants to speak up against a man in power.
Interestingly, the tension in an already dramatic hearing got prolonged a bit as the jury first got sent back to the deliberation room, with the judge telling them they didn’t fill out the form correctly, failing to list how much in damages they were rewarding.
Johnny was not present for the verdict. He had already left for the UK for previously scheduled concerts he was performing with Jeff Beck — and unscheduled hangouts with ex Kate Moss apparently. Amber’s spokesperson got in a dig about it, saying:
“Your presence shows where your priorities are. Johnny Depp plays guitar in the U.K. while Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia. Depp is taking his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour.”
He was reportedly watching live from the UK, along with literal MILLIONS of viewers watching the livestream. We can’t wait to see what he has to say to this result.
What do YOU think, Perezcious paralegals?? Was the judgment fair??
[Image via Law&Crime Network/YouTube]