Jury awards Johnny Depp $15 million in damages in libel suit against Amber Heard, gives her $2 million in countersuit


Amber Heard was found liable for defaming Johnny Depp in an op-ed published in the Washington Post, and Depp was found liable for a statement his attorney made to the Daily Mail calling her claims a hoax, a jury decided Wednesday. Jurors awarded Depp a total of $15 million in damages and Heard $2 million. 

In a statement posted on Twitter, Heard said, “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words.”

The verdict marked the end of a dramatic trial in the civil suit that laid bare the troubled marriage between the stars. 

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Amber Heard reacts to the verdict on June 1, 2022, as a Virginia jury rules in favor of Johnny Depp in his libel lawsuit against Heard, who had accused him of abuse.

CBS News


The jury notified Judge Penney Azcarate that they reached the verdict early in the afternoon, but reading of the verdict was delayed so they could fill in the amount of monetary awards on the jury form. 

CBS News legal contributor Jessica Levinson said the mixed verdict indicates that the jury evaluated each of the six statements in isolation and took the claims of defamation carefully.

“It wasn’t just a case of, ‘We like Johnny Depp, we don’t like Amber Heard,'” she said, noting that Depp won on all three statements in his suit and Heard won on one of the three in her counterclaim.

“I think the end of the day, the punchline is that the jury found they both lied,” Levinson said.

The jury began deliberations Friday afternoon, after six weeks of disturbing and sometimes graphic testimony. 

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.


Jury deliberations underway in Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial

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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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