Johnny Depp’s star lawyer, Camille Vasquez, celebrates victory in a case that catapulted her to fame.
Ms Vasquez, who quickly became a source of internet fascination during the trial, embraced her colleagues after winning her client’s libel suit against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Speaking outside the Virginia courthouse, Ms Vasquez highlighted her affection for her movie star client, which was so palpable throughout the case that it even sparked – albeit totally unfounded – rumors of love.
“Today’s verdict confirms what we have said all along – that the allegations against Johnny Depp are defamatory and unsupported by any evidence,” she said.
“We are grateful, very grateful to the jury for their careful deliberation.”
Mr Depp won his case against Ms Heard after a six-week televised trial.
Ms Heard was ordered to pay the actor $15 million in damages, but the jury also awarded him $2 million for part of his own counterclaim.
The jury found she had been defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed prank that included manhandling their apartment to make it look worse to police.
A quirk of the Virginia legal system means Depp will end up with an overall payout of $8.35 million.
The jury of five men and two women returned their verdict on Wednesday after nearly 13 hours of deliberation over three days in Fairfax District Court, Virginia.
Mr. Depp was not present in court for the verdict. He works in the UK and was spotted in a pub in Newcastle. Mrs. Heard was present for the reading of the verdict.
Mr Depp fans cheered wildly outside the courthouse as each verdict was delivered by the jury.
Ms. Vasquez has become one of the best-known figures among followers of the case.
After his cross-examination of Ms Heard, a Depp fan meme reimagined the lawyer as Thor, the god of thunder portrayed by Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel movies.
Google Trends, a tool made available by Google to measure the popularity of various search terms over time, shows that search interest in the words “Camille Vasquez” surged from May 16-18.
On May 18, a TMZ photographer asked Vasquez about online rumors that she and Depp might be dating. Vasquez laughed and declined to answer further. TMZ previously reported that the rumors are false and that the two are “definitely not a couple”, citing “sources linked to Camille Vasquez”.
After the verdict, Ms Heard released a statement that she was ‘heartbroken’.
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I am heartbroken that the mountain of evidence is still not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband,” she said.
“I am even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It’s a setback. It takes the clock back to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It pushes back the idea that violence against women should be taken seriously.
And she added that the result was an attack on free speech.
“I am sad to have lost this case. But I’m even sadder to have lost a right I thought I had as an American – to speak freely and openly.