*A verdict has been reached in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial.
On the third day of deliberation, the seven-person jury at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Virginia agreed that Heard defamed her ex-husband and awarded Depp $15 million in damages. Heard was awarded $2 million dollars in her counterclaim.
Depp, 58, sued Heard. 36, for $50 million over her 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she described herself as a domestic abuse survivor. She did not name Depp in the piece, but the veteran actor has maintained that the article negatively impacted his career. The actress countersued Depp for $100 million.
In the op-ed, Heard described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Heard previously accused the actor of domestic violence, which he denies.
During the six-week defamation trial that began in April, Depp testified that he never struck Heard while admitting that he himself was a victim of domestic violence. He accused her of often getting physically violent toward him throughout their 6-year marriage. He also claimed that his middle finger was severed after Heard hurled a vodka bottle at him in Australia in 2015.
Depp was not present for today’s reading of the verdict “Due to previously scheduled work commitments made before the trial,” a source close to Depp told Law & Crime.
Heard testified that she never assaulted Depp. She accused him of repeatedly beating her during their marriage and sexually assaulting her using a liquor bottle — which he denied.
Several damaging recordings were played during the trial in which Heard admits to hitting Depp. She presented zero compelling physical evidence to support her claim that Depp was a violent “monster.”
“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,” Heard said in the statement after the verdict, Deadline reports.
“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 believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK.
“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.”
Via his spokesperson, Depp said: “Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed.”
He added, “All in the blink of an eye. False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career.”