Hollywood actor, Johnny Depp has won his defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard as she was ordered to pay the actor $15m in damages.
The jury came to the agreement that Heard’s statements about her marriage were false and that she action maliciously toward Depp. The actor was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
But the jury also awarded Heard $2m for one part of her own counterclaim, that Depp’s lawyer had called her abuse allegations against her ex-husband a hoax.
The jury of five men and two women returned its verdict on Wednesday after nearly 13 hours of deliberation spread over three days at the district court in Fairfax, Virginia.
But the reading of the verdict was dramatically delayed as the judge had to send the jury back out as they had failed to fill out the damages section of the form.
Depp was not in court for the verdict but watched it on TV from the United Kingdom, where he is working and was spotted in a pub in Newcastle. Heard was present for the reading of the verdict.
In a statement, the actor thanked the jury for giving “me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
Following the verdict, Heard released a statement that she was “heartbroken.”
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. 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.
“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”. She added that the result was an attack on Freedom of Speech.
“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.”
Depp had filed a $50 million libel lawsuit against Heard over an Op-Ed she wrote on Washington Post in 2018. In the article, Heard implied that Depp abused her while they were married.
Heard filed a countersuit for $100 million saying Depp defamed her by calling her a liar.