Johnny Depp’s lawyers have reached a settlement with Amber Heard that could save her from paying the millions she owes her ex-husband in damages.
In their first TV interviews since the explosive trial ended, Ben Chew and Camille Vasquez said discussions were ongoing about the verdict and the $8.35million the Fairfax court ordered Ms Heard to pay.
In the first of two morning interviews, hello america host George Stephanopoulos asked if Mr Depp would waive damages if Ms Heard dropped her appeal. Barrister Ben Chew said the case was “never about the money” for Mr Depp.
“You said the aim was not to impoverish Ms Heard – is it possible we could see a settlement where she waives the appeal in exchange for Mr Depp waving monetary damages?” the host asked the lawyers.
Mr Chew said he could not speak about his private conversations with Mr Depp, but noted that the actor testified and the lawyers said so in their closing statement.
“It was about restoring his reputation and he did that,” he said.
“So you’re not disclosing any privileges, but it looks like that’s something that might be on the table, but that’s up to Mrs. Heard?” Mr. Stephanopoulos asked.
“We have to be careful what we say, but it was about Mr Depp’s reputation, that’s what it was about for him,” Mr Chew said.
Lawyers said Mr Depp was ‘over the moon’ when he was told of the verdict.
“It was like the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders and I feel like after six years he finally got his life back,” Mr Chew said.
A jury returned the verdict on June 1, awarding Mr Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages following Ms Heard’s 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, in which she claimed to be a survivor of domestic abuse.
Mr. Depp was awarded $10.35 million in total damages because Virginia state law caps punitive damages at $350,000. Ms Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages due to comments by Mr Depp’s former lawyer.
The trial began on Monday, April 11 in Fairfax, Va., following Mr. Depp’s trial in March 2019. Mr. Depp argued that Ms. Heard defamed him in the op-ed titled “I denounced sexual violence – and I faced the wrath of our culture. This must change”.
Although Mr. Depp was not named in the article, his legal team argued that it contained a “clear implication that Mr. Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they said was “categorically and manifestly false”.
In the same interview, Depp’s other attorney, Camille Vasquez, said the actor had the chance “to tell the truth for the first time” during the trial.
“It went on for six years, and I think he was able to connect with the jury and the general public and say what really happened in that relationship,” she added.
“The facts in this case were overwhelmingly positive for Johnny and the verdict speaks for itself.”
Ms Vasquez also dismissed the idea that the verdict was a setback for the #MeToo movement.
“I think our response to that is that we encourage any victim to come forward – domestic violence has no gender,” she said. “The facts are what they were. The jury reached a unanimous decision based on these facts.
Mr Chew said that ‘Johnny took a lot of things for himself and it seemed at times, and maybe this was passed on to the jury, that she had an answer for everything and took no responsibility for anything, and I think that made a difference.”
Regarding her own social media fame, Ms Vasquez said: “If I’m being honest, a bit overwhelming, but if I can be an inspiration to young women who want to go to law school, study and work hard, so it was all worth it”.