The jury in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial delivered a verdict on Wednesday and awarded the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star with $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
Judge Penney Azcarate reduced Depp’s punitive damages award from $5 million to $350,000 – the maximum under Virginia law, bringing the total sum to just over $10 million. Both parties issued separate statements following the news.
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” Heard’s statement said. “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.
“I’m 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.
“I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of freedom of speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the U.K.,” Heard noted. “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 members of the jury awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages.
Depp issued a statement from overseas once the verdict was announced.
“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 in me were forever changed,” he began.
“All in the blink of an eye. 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 traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond, and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career.”
“And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled. My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought.
“From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. 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. I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world. I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation and that those supporting them never give up.
“I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media. I wish to acknowledge the noble work of the judge, the jurors, the court staff and the sheriffs who have sacrificed their own time to get to this point, and to my diligent and unwavering legal team who did an extraordinary job in helping me to share the truth. The best is yet to come, and a new chapter has finally begun.
“Veritas numquam perit. Truth never perishes. ”
Depp sued Heard for $50 million, accusing his ex-wife of defaming him in a 2018 op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post alleging she was the victim of domestic abuse.
Heard countersued the actor for $100 million, accusing him and his former attorney of conspiring to “destroy and defame” her.
The jury’s ruling indicates it did not believe Depp abused Heard during their relationship.
As previously reported, Depp was not in the Virginia courtroom Wednesday because he was touring with legendary guitarist Jeff Beck. Depp left the United States last week once the case was turned over to the jury.
His ex-girlfriend, Kate Moss, was in attendance during his London show on Tuesday night.
Moss, who dated Depp in the 1990s, testified via video link on his behalf after Heard mentioned Moss on the stand. Moss told jurors Depp was never violent with her after Heard implied he had once pushed the fashion icon down a flight of stairs.