After Heard’s loss in the defamation trial against ex-husband Depp, a spokesperson for the Aquaman actor told The New York Times that she is planning to appeal the Virginia verdict. Several other entertainment publications also confirmed her purported appeal.
On Wednesday, a jury in Fairfax, Va., ruled in favour of Depp, 58, deciding he had in fact been defamed by Heard, 36, on three counts, awarding him USD$15-million in damages. This amount was later reduced by the judge to $10.35 million.
The jury also found that Heard was defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included roughing up the couple’s apartment to look worse for police. The jury awarded her $2 million.
The lawsuit put forward by Depp revolved around a December 2018 op-ed Heard wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.”
His lawyers say Depp’s life and career were devastated by the article, which didn’t say his name.
Depp sued Heard for $50-million, while she filed a counterclaim for $100-million.
In their verdict, the Fairfax County Circuit Court jury sided with Depp, believing he did not abuse Heard. The decision also indicates that Heard defamed Depp in the op-ed “with malice,” or knowing intent of a false claim.
Depp was not present in court when the verdict was read. Heard, who was in attendance, appeared alongside her legal team.
After the verdict was presented, Heard released a statement Wednesday saying 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,” she wrote.
“I am 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,” Heard continued.
“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,” the statement concluded.
Depp also released a public statement after his victory.
“Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye,” he wrote.
“False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already travelled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career,” he continued.
“And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled,” he wrote.
Over the last six weeks, the ex-spouses have each presented hundreds of pieces of evidence, dozens of witnesses and provided their own testimony, all in the hopes of painting the other as the real abuser in the relationship.
Heard’s lawyers claimed Depp has severe drug and alcohol abuse issues. Her legal team presented the court photos, audio and text messages, all referencing Depp’s alleged addictions. Heard’s lawyers continued to claim Depp became a “monster” when under the influence.
Depp, on the other hand, maintained that he has never been addicted to alcohol or drugs (with the exception of Roxicodone, for which he received treatment).
On the stand, Depp testified that it’s been “insane” listening to Heard’s accusations against him.
“It’s insane to hear heinous accusations of violence, sexual violence, that’s she’s attributed to me,” he said. “I don’t think anyone enjoys having to split themselves open and tell the truth. But there are times when one has to, as it’s gotten out of control.”
He called the experience “ridiculous, humiliating, painful, savage, unimaginably brutal and cruel” as well as calling everything that’s been said about him “false.”
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