A Virginia jury ruled this afternoon that actress Amber Heard defamed her ex-husband Johnny Depp after a six-week trial, which featured explicit and graphic evidence and testimony detailing the former Hollywood couple’s turbulent relationship.
Depp, the star of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, 58, sued Heard for $50 million, claiming she had defamed him when she called herself “a public figure representing domestic abuse” in a newspaper op-ed.
Heard, 36, countersued for $100 million, saying that Depp smeared her when her lawyer called her accusations “jokes”.
present in the room, Heard heard, through tears, the verdictwhich also forces her to pay more than 10 million dollars to her ex-husband.
In addition, after hearing the news, the actress issued a statement in which she assured being disappointed and “speechless” after libel verdict.
The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I am heartbroken that the mountain of evidence was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power and influence of my ex-husband.
I am even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It’s a setback. It turns back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and (for it) could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It pushes back the idea that violence against women should be taken seriously.
I believe that Johnny’s lawyers succeeded in getting the jury to miss the key issue of free speech and to ignore the evidence that was so compelling that we won in the UK.
I’m sad because I lost this case. But I am even sadder because I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American: to speak freely and openly.
Depp had denied hitting Heard or any woman and has said that it was she who became violent in the relationship.
Depp and Heard met in 2011 during the filming of “The Rum Diary” and they married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized about two years later.
At the center of the legal case is a December 2018 op-ed by Heard in the daily Washington Post. In it he referred to domestic abuse. The column did not mention Depp by name, but his attorney told jurors it was clear Heard was referring to him.
During the six weeks that the testimony lasted, Heard’s lawyers argued that she had told the truth and that her comments were protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Throughout the case, Jurors listened to recordings of the couple’s fights and saw graphic photos of Depp’s bloody fingerwho said he cut the top of his finger when Heard threw a bottle of vodka at him in 2015.
Heard denied hurting Depp’s finger and said that the actor sexually assaulted her that night with a bottle of liquor. He added that he hit him to defend himself.
Depp said Heard’s accusations cost him “everything”. A new “Pirates” movie was put on hold and the actor was replaced in the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise, a “Harry Potter” spinoff.
With information from the Reuters and AFP agencies
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Amber Heard’s reaction to hearing the ruling that confirmed that she defamed Johnny Depp