Jurors in Johnny Depp libel trial ask headline question – Deadline

Jurors in Johnny Depp libel trial ask headline question – Deadline

Jurors deliberated for their first full day in Johnny Depp’s $50 million libel trial against Amber Heard on Tuesday, as they posed a question to the judge about how they should weigh the headline in the editorial for the Heard’s Washington Post.

The title of the online version of the December 2018 article read: “I spoke out against sexual violence – and faced the wrath of our culture. This must change.

Judge Penney Azcarate said jurors were debating whether they should consider whether the headline was defamatory or whether it should relate to the “contents of the statement, whatever is in the editorial”.

“I think the confusion came in this particular one because the statement in question is the title of the editorial, so I think they don’t know if it’s the entire editorial or if the title is the statement,” she said. “Clearly the title is the statement.”

On jury verdict forms, the headline is one of three statements the jury must weigh to determine whether to rule for Depp. The seven jurors will also have to decide whether the statements in the content of the editorial are defamatory. One of the statements reads: “Then two years ago I became a public figure representing domestic violence, and I felt the full force of our culture’s anger for women speaking out. .” The other statement is: “I had the opportunity to see, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”

Heard’s legal team noted that Depp is not mentioned in the editorial or the headline, but his legal team argued that it was clear to readers who his ex-wife was referring to in the article. .

While the content of Heard’s article only referred to domestic violence and did not specify whether it was physical or emotional abuse, the headline went further in its assertion of sexual abuse.

During the trial, Heard claimed that Depp sexually assaulted her during an argument in March 2016, but Depp’s legal team spent considerable time trying to undermine that claim.

And although her legal team noted that she didn’t write the headline of the op-ed — a Post editor did — Depp focused on the fact that she tweeted the article. without contesting his title.

Heard also filed a countersuit for $100 million, and the jury is out on her claims that she was defamed in three separate instances, including in remarks made by Depp’s attorney.

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