Last week, a Virginia jury delivered a landslide verdict against Amber Heard, determining that she should owe Johnny Depp $15 million in damages for defaming him. Jurors also ruled against Depp on one claim, deciding that he should pay her $2 million.
Fairfax County Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the amount Heard would owe to $10.35 million. citing Virginia laws that limit punitive damages in defamation cases.
But Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, told NBC’s “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie that her client simply couldn’t pay Depp that much.
This Wednesday, one of Johnny Depp’s lawyers, Benjamin Chew suggested that Amber Heard may not have to pay the money after all. Asked by “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos if Depp would agree to a deal in which Heard agrees not to appeal the case in exchange for “Depp waiving any monetary damages,” Chew hinted that he was about table.
“Obviously we cannot disclose any attorney-client communication, but as Mr. Depp testified and as we both made clear in our respective closings, it was never about money for Mr. Depp,” Chew said. “It was about restoring his reputation, and he has done it.”
After the jury returned its verdict earlier this month, Azcarate said he would not issue an order reflecting the jury’s verdict until June 24, giving Depp and Heard a little over two more weeks to get there. to an agreement on the future of the case.
Depp and Heard can reach a settlement before then, in which case Azcarate can approve it instead of returning the jury’s verdict against Heard and Depp.
The settlement agreement could include a waiver of damages as long as Heard does not appeal any part of the case. The parties may also agree to remove some of the libel claims from the verdict, or reduce or eliminate the damages owed to each other.
Depp and Heard could also agree simplify payments and having Heard pay Depp $8.35 million, instead of her paying Depp $10.35 million, and Depp paying Heard $2 million in separate transactions.
Depp sued Heard in March 2019, claiming she defamed him when she published a Washington Post op-ed describing herself as a victim of domestic violence. Heard has filed a countersuit, alleging Depp abused her before and during her marriage, which ended in 2016, and defamed him through statements by her attorney calling her claims “hoax.”
Earlier this month, jurors largely agreed with Depp after a six-week trial, deciding three claims in his favor and only one claim in favor of Heard, with lesser damages.
On the day of the jury’s verdict, Azcarate said in court that he plans to hold a hearing on June 24, where he hopes to sign a settlement agreement or hear oral arguments from each side on the verdict. Once he signs the order, Heard has up to 30 days to file a notice of appeal with the Virginia state appeals court.
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These are the conditions that Johnny Depp puts so that Amber Heard does not pay him millions of dollars