A jury on Wednesday ruled in favour of johnny Depp in his libel lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, vindicating his stance that Heard fabricated claims that she was abused by Depp before and during their brief marriage.
The jury also found in favour of Heard, who said she was defamed by Depp’s lawyer when he called her abuse allegations a hoax.
Jury members found Depp should be awarded US$15mil (RM66mil) in damages, while Heard should receive US$2mil (RM8.7mil)
The verdicts bring an end to a televised trial that Depp had hoped would help restore his reputation, though it turned into a spectacle of a vicious marriage. Fans - overwhelmingly on Depp’s side - lined up overnight to grab a seat in the courtroom. Spectators who couldn’t get in lined up on the street to cheer Depp and jeer Heard whenever either appeared outside.
Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers said he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.
Depp sued his ex-wife for US$50mil (RM291mil), accusing her of libeling him with a 2018 op-ed she wrote describing herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse.”
Heard filed a US$100mil (RM440mil) counterclaim against the Pirates Of The Caribbean star after his lawyer called her allegations a hoax. Each accuses the other of destroying their career.
Testimony during the six-week trial has included lurid details of their short and volatile marriage. Heard testified that Depp physically or sexually assaulted her more than a dozen times. Depp said he never struck Heard, that she concocted the abuse allegations, and that she was the one who physically attacked him, multiple times.
Jurors must decide both claims based on whether or not the statements were made with "actual malice,” meaning they knew what they were saying was false, or were acting with a reckless disregard for the truth.
During closing arguments, both sides told the jury that a verdict in their favour would give their clients their lives back.
Depp hasn't been waiting in Virginia for the decision. He's spent the last few days on stage, singing and playing guitar with Jeff Beck in the United Kingdom. – AP