A jury on June 1 found both Johnny Depp and his former wife Amber Heard liable for defamation in their multi-million dollar lawsuits against each other.
The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages after finding that Heard defamed him in her 2018 Washington Post opinion-editorial piece.
Fairfax County Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages to $350,000, which is the state’s statutory cap or legal limit, making Depp’s total damages $10.4 million.
In Heard’s countersuit, the jury awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages but $0 on punitive damages after finding that Depp defamed Heard on one count through his former attorney who called Heard’s abuse allegations a “hoax.”
The jurors reached the verdict after deliberating for approximately 13 hours over the course of three days in the high-profile trial that lasted six weeks.
Depp had sued Heard for $50 million for the article, in which she said she had become “a public figure representing domestic abuse” without mentioning Depp by name.
The jury determined that Heard knew her abuse claims in the article were false and that she acted with actual malice.
Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim, accusing Depp of damaging her reputation by calling her abuse allegations a hoax.
In a statement after the verdict, Depp, who was not in court to hear the jury’s decision, said that the jury “gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
Heard said that she was “heartbroken” and “disappointed” by the verdict.
“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,” Heard said in a statement.
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