On Wednesday, a seven-person jury returned a verdict in Johnny Depp’s libel lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Depp sued for $50 million in damages over a 2018 editorial essay in The Washington Post, in which Heard said she had become a “public figure representing domestic violence.” Although the essay never mentioned Depp by name, his attorneys said it was indirectly referring to allegations she made against him during their 2016 divorce.
Heard countersued for $100 million and said she had never been violent with Depp except in self-defense or in defense of her younger sister. Heard’s countersuit, centered on three statements made by Depp’s former lawyer in 2020 to the Daily Mail, in which he described Heard’s abuse allegations as a “hoax”.
Libel claims filed in the United States by public figures, such as an actor, are generally considered hard cases to win due to the higher standard a plaintiff must prove.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1964 that defamation suits brought by notable figures must not only prove that the allegations were false and caused them harm, but that the person who made the defamatory statement did so with a ” actual malice”.
The high-profile trial, which took place over approximately six weeks in Fairfax County, Va., was broadcast nationwide and grabbed headlines.
This is a breaking story, please check for updates.
Diana Darsrath and Saba Hamedy contributed.