Johnny Depp has won his defamation case against Amber Heard

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Photo credit: Getty Images/Jennifer Savin/Jaime Lee
Photo credit: Getty Images/Jennifer Savin/Jaime Lee

[UPDATE 8:30PM on 1 June 2022]: After six long weeks, the verdict has been delivered in the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation case and the jury have found that Amber Heard's op-ed in the Washington Post defamed Johnny Depp on all three counts put forth by his team. The jury has awarded Depp $10m (£8m) in compensatory damages and $5m (£4m) in punitive damages. However, the judge has put a cap on punitive damages at $350,000, meaning he will not be awarded any more than that on the punitive front.

The jury also found that Heard was defamed on one cause of action on her counterclaim and as a result, she has been awarded $2 million in compensatory damages.

Originally Heard's team countersued for $100 million and argued that the piece did not name Depp and that by calling her allegations of domestic abuse 'false rumours', Heard's career is the one that has suffered extreme and unwarranted damage.

Both legal teams alleged physical and verbal abuse from the other party, with Heard also taking the stand to allege that Depp sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle – something that he later described as "insane".

He continued on to add, "Humiliating. Unimaginably brutal, cruel, and all false. No human being is perfect, but I have never in my life committed sexual battery, physical abuse. All these outlandish, outrageous stories of me committing these things... [I've been] living with it for six years and waiting to be able to bring the truth out."

The trial also saw an endless list of witnesses, including former staff members, Depp's ex-girlfriend Kate Moss, Heard's sister Whitney and a string of experts, including psychologists and a forensic expert, who was drafted in to give an opinion on whether or not certain images that were submitted as evidence have been tampered with.

Photo credit: STEVE HELBER
Photo credit: STEVE HELBER

Last Friday (27 May) saw both Depp and Heard's teams present their final closing arguments to the jury, who then deliberated for two hours before taking a break for the weekend. Ordinarily they would be expected to return to debate the vast mound of evidence presented, however as it was Memorial Day holiday weekend in America there was a slight delay.

When making their closing arguments, Depp's team said that Heard had given the "performance of her life" on the stand and urged the jury to give Depp "his life back". In contrast, Heard's legal team said Depp had subjected her to an insidious "campaign of global humiliation" and told jurors that to rule in Depp's favour would make them an "accomplice" to his alleged abuse.

When speaking to Cosmopolitan UK recently, LA-based entertainment and criminal defense lawyer, Michael Mandell, said that whatever the legal ruling may be, it could be argued that the 'true' winner of this case is whoever has dominated in the court of public opinion – and we now know that Depp won on both fronts.

"Consider this: is Depp more concerned about being able to tell his side of the story to an engaged and large audience than actually winning?" the expert put forth. "Doubtlessly, a scenario exists where Depp loses his case and Heard loses her counterclaim. That would be a win and a loss for both although perhaps, ultimately, Depp can live with being viewed as an unhealthy partner, but not a person who would physically harm a significant other."

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