A jury has awarded actor Johnny Depp $10.35 million in his defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
After three days of deliberations, the jury determined Heard made defamatory statements about the Pirates of the Caribbean star when she wrote an op-ed about surviving sexual and domestic violence.
Heard, who countersued for defamation, won just one of three counterclaims against the actor. Each accused the other of abuse and destroying their career.
“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,” Heard told Yahoo Entertainment.
“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,” she 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 U.K. 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.”
For six weeks, the jury, comprising five men and two women, heard testimony from witnesses.
Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post describing herself as a survivor of abuse.
Heard countersued for $100 million claiming Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman, while acting on behalf of her ex-husband, made defamatory claims about her. Heard sued over three specific statements Waldman made to the press and won on one.
“My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought,” said Depp about the trial.
“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that,” he added.
“I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world. I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up. I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media.”
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