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What were the counts the jury deliberated on in Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s trial?

Por: María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards 2 de junio de 2022

The jury was given a form with 42 questions they had to answer to reach a verdict.

After six weeks of trial and 12 hours of deliberation, the jury finally gave a verdict giving Johnny Depp a legal victory and awarding him 15 million dollars. Unlike what many thought of the case (and the harsh testimonies given on both sides), this wasn’t a trial concerning domestic violence or abuse, but a defamation trial on both sides. Technically speaking, both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were found liable for defamation; however, the big victory was awarded to Depp.

The jury was given a format with 42 yes-or-no questions they had to agree upon besides putting a number for compensations and damages. After 12 hours of deliberating, the jury reached a unanimous verdict giving a positive answer to all of Depp’s suing counts and all negative (but one) on Amber Heard’s countersuit.

Johnny Depp’s defamation suit

These were the main statements taken from Amber Heard’s Washington Post op-ed the jury considered defamatory. The jury had to answer to each of the statements the following: if they thought the statement was made or published by Heard, if the statement was about Depp, if the statement was false, if the statement had defamatory implications about Depp, if the defamatory implication was designed and intended by Heard, and if they believed Depp presented convincing evidence to prove that Heard acted with actual malice.

1. “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

2. “Then, two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out.”

3. “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real-time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”

They answered yes to all of the above.

Amber Heard’s countersuit

These were the main statements given by Adam Waldman (Johnny Depp’s lawyer) to the Daily Mail (only the second one was considered defamatory). The jury had to answer the same questions as in Depp’s claims for each of the statements:

1. “Amber Heard and her friends in the media use fake sexual violence allegations as both a sword and shield, depending on their needs. They have selected some of her sexual violence hoax ‘facts’ as the sword, inflicting them on the public and Mr. Depp.”

2. “Quite simply this was an ambush, a hoax. They set Mr. Depp up by calling the cops but the first attempt didn’t do the trick. The officers came to the penthouses, thoroughly searched and interviewed, and left after seeing no damage to face or property. So Amber and her friends spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911.”

3. “We have reached the beginning of the end of Ms. Heard’s abuse hoax against Johnny Depp.”

The jury also decided to award Johnny Depp 10 million dollars in compensatory damages and 5 in punitive damages. However, following Virginia’s legal limits, Judge Penney Azcarate capped the punitive damages to 350 thousand dollars, giving a total of 10.35 million dollars. As for Amber Heard, the jury awarded her 2 million dollars in compensatory damages and 0 in punitive damages.

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