Jury reaches verdict in lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

Jury reaches verdict in lawsuit between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

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The jury has notified the judge that they have reached a verdict in the lawsuit between actors Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard. Judge Penney Azcarate indicated the verdict would be announced in court at 3 p.m., but then sent the jury back to fill in the amount of any monetary awards on the jury forms.

The jury began deliberations Friday afternoon, after six weeks of dramatic, disturbing and sometimes graphic testimony that laid bare the troubled marriage between the stars. 

Both Depp and Heard testified twice. The jury also heard extensive recordings attorneys said displayed violent behavior and saw text messages, including between Depp and fellow actor Paul Bettany, that discussed substance use and contained obscene language. Supermodel Kate Moss also appeared via video link, adding to the spectacle as broadcast cameras in the courtroom captured every twist to an increasingly rapt audience as fans weighed in on social media and lined up overnight for coveted courtroom seats.

Depp sued Heard in Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia for $50 million over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers say he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name. 

Heard countersued for $100 million, claiming Depp’s attorney defamed her by calling her abuse allegations a hoax. During the trial, Heard’s sister testified to seeing Depp strike her, and a friend testified about seeing her cuts and bruises.

Closing arguments were delivered Friday. By the time the court broke for lunch, jurors had head from attorneys for both Depp and Heard — who then had a combined 45 minutes to present rebuttal closings later Friday afternoon. The case went to the jury later in the day, for the final stage in what has been six weeks of courtroom drama that peeled back the curtain on the stars’ troubled marriage.

The jury was instructed to focus its deliberation not only on whether there was abuse but also whether Heard’s op-ed piece can be considered legally defamatory. The article itself focuses mostly on policy questions of domestic violence, but Depp’s lawyer point to two passages in the article, as well as an online headline that they say defamed Depp.

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