The couple has been facing each other at the Fairfax County Circuit Court for most of the past month. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor had sued his ex-wife for $50 million over a December 2018 op-ed Heard wrote for the Washington Post where she claims that she is a domestic violence survivor.
Although she did not mention Depp by name, he testified that he has lost movie roles due to the “clear implication” that he was her abuser. Heard claims that she has also been losing out on movie roles, including several scenes from the upcoming “Aquaman” sequel, and is countersuing for $100 million dollars.
On Friday, May 27, the jury heard closing arguments from their respective legal teams before they went off to deliberate. The jury also had Monday off, given that it was Memorial Day. By Wednesday morning, they had already reached a verdict.
Jury Reaches A Verdict In The Johnny Depp & Amber Heard Trial
On Friday, the jury had been given instructions to decide whether any of the three statements in Heard’s op-ed rose to the defamation. In Heard’s countersuit, the jury had to decide if the statements made by Depp’s attorney, Mr. Waldman, rose to the level of defamation. They then had to determine what, if any, damages either side would be awarded.
Depp was not actually even in the courtroom on Friday as Judge Penney Azcarate announced the verdict. A spokesperson for Amber Heard told The Blast, “Your presence shows where your priorities are. Johnny Depp plays guitar in the UK while Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia. Depp is taking his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour.”
Although the judge was ready at 3 PM, the jury did not fill in the damages section of the form and the judge had to send them back in. When they returned about twenty minutes later, the jury concluded that there was defamation in Heard’s op-ed headline, which they concluded was about Depp, was false, had a defamatory statement about Mr. Depp, was designed and intended by Ms. Heard, and was constructed with malice towards Depp.
They made the same assertions for the other two statements in Heard’s op-ed, concluding that they were defamatory and acted with malice towards Depp. Heard hung her head at times and kept her eyes down as the verdict was read. They awarded Depp a collective total of $15 million dollars.
For Amber Heard’s statements, they did feel that some of Mr. Waldman’s statements acted with actual malice and were defamatory. They awarded Heard only $2 million dollars. The jury was polled after the verdict was read and it was a unanimous decision.
Bombshell Allegations And Highlights From The Trial
In October 2016, after their divorce proceedings, Depp texted his longtime friend Isaac Baruch, “Hopefully that c—‘s rotting corpse is decomposing in the f—ing trunk of a Honda Civic!!”
Other texts included violent depictions of violence toward Heard, including drowning and burning. Another text read, “I will f— her burnt corpse afterward to make sure she is dead.”
While on the stand, Depp admitted that he was “not proud of any of the language that I used” in the shocking text messages.
However, Heard may not have emerged as a clear victim of domestic violence, either. In audio clips played for the jury, Heard can be heard admitting to striking Depp.
“You didn’t get punched; you got hit. I’m sorry I hit you like this, but I did not punch you,” she can be heard telling Depp during one of their arguments. “I did not f—–g deck you. I f—–g was hitting you. I don’t know what the motion of my actual hand was. But you’re fine. I did not hurt you. I did not punch you. I was hitting you.”
“I’m not sitting here b—-ing about it, am I?” she asked. “You are. That’s the difference between me and you. You’re a f—–g baby. You are such a baby. Grow the f— up, Johnny.”
Depp insisted on his first day of testimony that he has never struck any women, whereas Heard’s legal team paraded a seemingly endless display of photos to the jury, with Heard claiming that Depp was the culprit behind each and every one.
Heard alleged that she was the victim of physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse. One of the most startling pieces of testimony given during the trial was when Heard alleged that Depp had penetrated her with a bottle while Depp was filming “Pirates 5” in Australia. That was also reportedly where Depp lost the tip of his finger; however, it’s still not clear how that troubling event took place.
UPDATE: The judge has reportedly reduced the $5 million punitive damage award for Depp because Virginia law caps punitive damages in these cases at $350,000 dollars. Therefore, Heard owes Depp a total of $8,350,000 dollars.