Jury Reaches Decision in Explosive Star-Studded Trial
Actor Johnny Depp has won all three counts of his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard, with a jury awarding him $15 million after an explosive seven-week trial that captured the nation’s interest.
The seven-member jury found that Heard had negatively impacted Depp’s reputation and career by writing an op-ed that said she became a “public figure representing domestic abuse” after the couple divorced.
The jury awarded Depp $5 million in punitive damages and $10 million in compensatory damages — but Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages to $350,000, the maximum allotted under Virginia law.
“The jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled,” Depp said after the verdict. “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.”
The Virginia jury also awarded Heard $2 million on her counter claim, finding Depp liable for defamation when his attorney released a statement accusing her of staging an alleged assault.
Heard released a statement saying she was “heartbroken” by the verdict.
“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,” she said. “[The verdict] 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.”