Johnny Depp wins defamation suit against Amber Heard

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Johnny Depp won a defamation suit on Wednesday against his ex wife Amber Heard after a jury found that she had lied in saying that Depp had abused her over the course of their relationship.

The verdict put an end to an intensely-fought six-week trial riding on lurid claims and counterclaims between the Hollywood celebrities.

Heard, her eyes downcast throughout, listened impassively as the verdict was read out in Fairfax court, near the US capital, and later declared herself “heartbroken” and disappointed “beyond words” by the outcome.

Depp, who was not in court Wednesday due to a previously scheduled work commitment, sued for $50 million in damages over a 2018 opinion-editorial essay by Heard in The Washington Post, in which she said she had become a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although the essay never mentioned Depp by name, his attorneys said it indirectly referred to allegations she made against him during their 2016 divorce.

The jury unanimously found that Heard could not substantiate her allegations against Depp and that she knew her claims of abuse were false when she published her 2018 essay.

The jury determined that Heard acted with actual malice when writing her op-ed. The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages in his defamation suit.

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“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome,” Depp said in a statement on Wednesday. “Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.”

Depp said “the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”

The jury found that Depp, through Waldman, defamed Heard on one count. The jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages, but $0 in punitive damages.

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The panel, which began deliberations on Friday, came to its decision after approximately 13 hours over the course of three days. The high-profile trial, which took place over about six weeks in Fairfax County, Virginia, was broadcast across the country and drew numerous headlines.