The defamatory essay that cost Amber Heard $10 million after the Depp verdict

Amber Heard defamed Johnny Depp in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, a Virginia jury ruled Wednesday afternoon.

After around 13 hours of deliberation, the seven-member jury decided to award the “Edward Scissorhands” star a total of 15 million dollars in damages.

The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. However, Virginia law limits punitive damages to $350,000. This means Depp will receive a maximum of $10.35 million after paying an admittedly “shamed and humiliated” Heard the $2 million in defamation damages she was awarded.

The jury said Heard “acted with actual malice” in penning her now-infamous op-ed, “I spoke out against sexual violence — and faced the wrath of our culture.” That needs to change.”

Amber Heard defamed Johnny Depp in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, a Virginia jury ruled Wednesday afternoon.
Amber Heard defamed Johnny Depp in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, a Virginia jury ruled Wednesday. Inset: The headline of Heard’s controversial essay on behalf of the ACLU.
Getty Images/Washington Post

Heard initially filed for divorce from Depp in May 2016 and days later accused him of domestic violence when she applied for a restraining order.

The star wrote her WaPo article — in her role as “Women’s Rights Ambassador to the American Civil Liberties Union” — as recently as December 2018, more than two and a half years later.

The jury claimed Heard "acted with real malice" when she wrote her captioned comment "I spoke out against sexual violence - and faced the wrath of our culture.  That needs to change."
The jury claimed Heard “acted with real malice” in writing her op-ed, titled “I spoke out against sexual violence — and faced the wrath of our culture.” That needs to change.”
The Washington Post

In the comment, Heard, 36, claimed she was a victim of abuse – but didn’t specifically name Depp, 58, as the perpetrator.

Instead, she wrote that over the past “two years” she has become a “public figure representing domestic violence” and that she fears being “blacklisted” in Hollywood.

“I’ve had a rare vantage point to see in real time how institutions protect men accused of abuse,” Heard wrote, adding that she feels “put on trial in a court of law.”

Heard will be seen in court on Wednesday listening to the jury’s verdict. They noted that she had defamed Depp in her op-ed for the Washington Post.
Reuters

Depp’s lawyers claimed that Heard apparently framed him as an abuser in the comment, claiming it did significant damage to his reputation and cost him lucrative film roles — including a $22.5 million deal to star in a sixth “Pirates.” of the Caribbean” movie.

However, during the trial, Heard firmly asserted that her play was not about her ex-husband, saying on the witness stand, “It’s not about Johnny. The only one who thought it was about Johnny is Johnny.”

She went on to insist: “It’s about me. It’s about what happened to me after Johnny. It’s about what happened to me after I got out of my marriage. It’s about me and my life and what I had to endure when I moved on and got a TRO [temporary restraining order] and got on with my life. It was about what happened to me afterwards.”

The jury disagreed.

Heard is seen during the six-week defamation trial that drew international interest.
Heard can be seen during the six-week defamation trial, which has attracted international interest.
AP

Although the jury found that Depp was defamed, the $15 million they awarded him fell far short of the $50 million in damages he was seeking.

Still, Depp released a statement to The Post, saying he feels triumphant and has long claimed he’s never been abusive towards Heard. Instead, he claimed she was the culprit in their tumultuous relationship.

“The jury gave me my life back,” Depp declared triumphantly. “Six years ago [in 2016, when Heard first accused him of abuse]my life, the lives of my children, the lives of the people closest to me, and also the lives of the people who have supported and believed in me for many, many years have been changed forever,” he said.

“False, very serious and criminal allegations were leveled against me through the media, triggering an endless stream of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me,” he added. “He had already traveled around the world twice in a nanosecond and had an earthquake-like impact on my life and career.

“From the beginning, the goal of bringing this case forward has been to uncover the truth, regardless of the outcome,” the ‘Sleepy Hollow’ star continued. “Telling the truth was something I owed to my children and to all those who have steadfastly supported me. I feel reassured knowing I’ve finally made it.”

Depp is pictured during the trial.  He was not in court for Tuesday's verdict.
Depp is pictured during the trial. He was not in court for Wednesday’s verdict.
AP/Steve Helber

Meanwhile, Heard looked visibly devastated as she sat in the courtroom listening to the jury’s verdict.

“The disappointment I feel today is indescribable. I am heartbroken that the mountain of evidence was still insufficient to withstand my ex-husband’s disproportionate power, influence and influence,” Heard said in a statement obtained by The Post after the verdict. “I am sad that I lost this case. But even sadder, I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American — to speak freely and openly.”

Depp summarized the verdict differently: “And six years later the jury gave me my life back. I’m really humble.”

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