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A Verdict Has Been Announced In The Johnny Depp And Amber Heard Defamation Trial

On April 12, Johnny Depp's lawyers made their opening statements on behalf of their client, beginning what has been an extremely publicized defamation trial centering on the relationship between the Pirates of the Caribbean star and his ex-wife, Amber Heard. In recent weeks, a jury has been hearing testimony from a large number of witnesses providing, and late last week they began deliberations to ultimately determine a verdict. Now the discussions are over, although there are a number of be made. The decisions are rolling in: per The New York Times, Amber Heard has been found guilty of defamation by Johnny Depp in 3 cases. The jury has decided to reward Depp a compensatory $10 million dollars and $5 million in punitive damage as a result.

As for the Amber Heard's defamation counter suit against Johnny Depp, the jury has sided with Johnny Depp financially. But they have awarded Amber Heard $2 million dollars in compensatory damage. All in all, $15 million in damages is going to Depp and $2 million will be given to Heard. The Aquaman actress was found guilty on all 3 counts, while Depp was found guilty on one. The jury's decision was unanimous.

These decisions are sure to set the internet on fire, as the public has been extremely invested in the action in court. With the footage available to watch directly on TV, the discourse has been constant. And now the long legal battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has seemingly come to an end.

The reading of the verdict didn't go without a hitch though. The decisions were originally going to be announced 30 mins earlier, but the jury forgot to list one financial payout amount. They returned shortly after finalizing the verdict. While Amber Heard was present in court Johnny Depp was not.

Given the notoriety of this case, the legal teams behind the pair of actors have already started issuing statements about the verdict. The statement from Amber Heard herself reads as follows:

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. 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.

The Aquaman star's statement continued with Amber Heard comparing the recent defamation case to Johnny Depp's libel case in the U.K. If you'll remember, Depp lost that legal battle across the pond. Heard's statement continues,

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

As previously mentioned, Johnny Depp was not present when the decision was announced in court today. He's in the U.K., appearing in a number of concert appearances with Jeff Beck. As such, all eyes were on Amber Heard as the decisions were read, especially with so many coming down against her. The jury ultimately decided that Heard did indeed defame her ex-husband in her 2018 Washington Post Op-ed about domestic violence. 

It remains to be seen how Johnny Depp reacted to this news, and the professional implication thats the verdict will have on both he and Amber Heard. Especially since Depp was asked to step down from his role as Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore as a result of losing the libel case across the pond. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.