Jury finds Amber Heard defamed Johnny Depp

The verdict comes after a six-week trial in which both Depp and Heard accused each other of domestic violence
Johnny Depp, Fairfax, Va., May 2, 2022

The jury in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial ruled Heard defamed Depp through an op-ed in which she said she was a victim of domestic abuse.

The jury also found that Heard proved some of her claims in her countersuit against Depp but did not "prove all the elements of defamation." 

Heard looked down while the verdict was read. The court ordered her to pay $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages to Depp, but Heard will receive $2 million for her claims.

Wednesday's verdict comes after a six-week trial in which both Depp, 58, and Heard, 36, accused each other of domestic violence and drug use. Depp has maintained that he never hit Heard or any woman and said that she was the violent one during their two-year marriage.

The case started when the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star sued Heard for $50 million claiming she defamed him by writing an op-ed for the Washington Post in 2018. She did not name Depp in the piece but described herself as "a public figure representing domestic abuse."

Heard countersued for $100 million saying that Depp defamed her.

Deliberations began on Friday at 3 p.m. and resumed Tuesday, following Memorial Day weekend.

During closing arguments, Depp's lawyer Camille Vasquez told the jury that Heard "ruined his life by falsely telling the world she was a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of Mr. Depp," according to NPR.

"This case for Mr. Depp has never been about money," Depp's lawyer Benjamin Chew said. "It is about Mr. Depp's reputation and freeing him from the prison in which he has lived for the last six years."

Heard's attorneys similarly said Depp ruined her life after the divorce.

"In Mr. Depp's world, you don't leave Mr. Depp," Heard's lawyer J. Benjamin Rottenborn alleged. "If you do, he will start a campaign of global humiliation against you."

Heard told the jury during the trial: "We're asking you to finally hold this man responsible. He has never accepted responsibility for anything in his life."