Johnny Depp and Amber Heard react to court rulings: Read their full statements

These are the charges that jurors considered Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

As a public figure, Johnny Depp faced a huge hurdle to win a defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife, Amber Heard. According to seven unanimous jurors, he acquitted her.

Depp said his ex-wife denigrated him in a 2018 newspaper op-ed in which she referred to the misuse of allegations against Depp. His name was never mentioned.

A Virginia civil jury ruled in Depp’s favor on all three charges Wednesday, finding that Heard not only made false and defamatory statements, but that she did so with “real malice” – a higher threshold for cases involving public figures. The jury concluded that Depp should receive more than $10 million USD.

However, Depp’s victory was not absolute. The jury also concluded that part of Heard’s counterclaim had merits. They reject two of Heard’s three charges, but find that she has been defamed by Depp’s lawyer who has accused her of smuggling their apartment to make her look worse for the police. The jury awarded her $2 million.

A look at every number the jurors considered:

First count against listening

Jurors considered whether Depp was defamed with the online editorial headline in the Washington Post: “I have spoken out against sexual violence — and have faced the wrath of our culture. That must change.”

Heard’s lawyers argued that she did not write the address.

But the jury concluded that Heard “made or posted it” and that it was defamatory.

Second count against listening

The jurors considered the third paragraph of the opinion piece: “Then two years ago, I became a public figure who represented domestic violence, and felt the full force of our culture’s anger toward women who speak up.”

Depp’s lawyers said she made a clear reference to Depp, given that Heard publicly accused him of domestic violence in 2016.

Heard’s lawyers said that a series of evidence shows that Heard was abused multiple times, and that only one case of confirmed abuse would make the line non-defamatory. They also argued that the statement was objectively correct, as it focused not on Depp, but on Heard’s experience of speaking in public.

Jurors disagreed and found the statement defamatory.

Third count against hearing

In a second segment of the opinion piece, Heard wrote, “I had the rare view of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”

Depp’s lawyers said again that she clearly referred to Depp.

As with the other two counts, the jurors found that Heard had denigrated Depp with “actual malice” – there was clear and convincing evidence that Heard either knew it was wrong or acted with a reckless disregard for the truth.

First count against DEPP

Heard brought three counts of defamation against Depp, saying she had been repeatedly defamed by his former attorney Adam Waldman, who called Heard’s abuse allegations a hoax. Heard said the comments hurt her career.

Jurors considered a statement from Waldman that appeared on The Daily Mail on April 8, 2020: “Amber Heard and her friends in the media use false allegations of sexual violence as both a sword and a shield depending on their needs. They have chosen some of them. The sexual violence hoax “facts” serve as a sword, Append her to the public and Mr. Depp.”

The jurors concluded that Heard’s attorney had not proven all the elements of the libel.

Second count against DEPP

Heard scored her only victory over a statement Waldman gave to the Daily Mail. Heard and her friends were accused of fabricating abuse allegations after a 2016 brawl at the couple’s Hollywood apartment, which prompted Heard to call the police.

The statement read: “Quite simply, this was an ambush, a hoax. They put Mr. Depp by calling the cops, but the first attempt was unsuccessful. The officers came to the penthouse, did a thorough search and interview, and left after not seeing any damage to face or property. So, Amber and her friends poured a little wine and roughed up the place, got their stories straight under the supervision of a lawyer and publicist, and then called 911.”

Two officers testified that they saw no signs of Heard being injured, though she did appear in public with a mark on her face a few days later seeking a temporary restraining order.

The jurors agreed with Heard’s attorney that Waldman’s statement was false and defamatory and that he acted with genuine malice.

3rd count against DEPP

The final charges against Waldman included a statement from the same article: “We have come to the beginning of the end of the Ms. Heard v. Johnny Depp abuse hoax.”

The jury concluded that Heard’s attorneys had not established that the statement was defamatory.

2022-06-01 23:00:00

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