The destiny of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard – and whether or not both facet shall be accountable for hundreds of thousands in damages of their dueling defamation circumstances – lies within the fingers of a Virginia jury.
Seven jurors overseeing the Fairfax trial will determine whether or not Heard, 36, defamed Depp, 58, when she wrote a 2018 Washington Submit op-ed piece calling herself “a public determine representing home abuse.”
The jury should additionally decide whether or not she must be on the hook for hundreds of thousands in damages.
“The jury goes to find out damages for each the declare and the counterclaim,” sources near Heard’s authorized workforce informed The Submit. “If the jury finds Amber was accountable for Mr. Depp it could decide damages, if it discovered that Mr. Depp was accountable for Amber’s counterclaims it makes a willpower of damages.”
The “Aquaman” actress – who as soon as dated Depp and was married to him for 15 months – doesn’t danger jail time since she doesn’t face any prison fees, simply civil claims.
The jury should determine if Amber Heard defamed her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, when she penned a 2018 Washington Submit op-ed about home abuseAP
The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor filed his $50 million defamation go well with in opposition to Heard claiming she harmed his status and profession – costing him tens of hundreds of thousands – when she penned the op-ed.
Heard didn’t identify Depp within the essay, however his attorneys argue it nonetheless defamed him as a result of it was clearly referencing allegations of home abuse his ex-wife made when she filed for divorce in 2016 and acquired a short lived restraining order in opposition to him.
Depp denies ever bodily hurting Heard, and has claimed that she was the abusive one of their relationship. Heard, in the meantime, has accused Depp of assaulting her dozens of instances.
The actress then filed defamation counterclaims for $100 million — alleging Depp was finishing up a “smear marketing campaign” to wreck her life.
The pair have been duking it out earlier than a jury at a Fairfax County Courthouse for 4 weeks. The trial is presently on a one-week recess.
Depp denies he ever bodily abused Heard, however the “Aquaman” actress claims he assaulted her dozens of instances throughout their relationshipAP
The newest from the Johnny Depp defamation trial:
Closing arguments are set for Could 27 and the jury might start deliberating the estranged couple’s destiny quickly after.
There’s additionally a chance that the jury may very well be unpersuaded by both facet and decide neither Depp nor Heard must be awarded damages, the supply near Heard’s authorized workforce mentioned.
A Depp spokesperson confirmed, “Jury decides damages and sure it’s doable that no damages are awarded.”
If the jury doesn’t discover Heard must be on the hook in Depp’s case, she can be entitled to recoup the price of her authorized charges from Depp. That quantity can be decided by a choose at a later level, the sources mentioned.
Heard, 36, doesn’t danger a jail sentence if the jury guidelines in Depp’s favor as a result of she isn’t dealing with any prison fees — solely civil claimsEPA
Followers have been crowding exterior the Virginia court docket all through the trial, brandishing indicators in help of DeppRon Sachs/CNP
However ought to Depp succeed, it might have a “chilling impact” that might discourage different alleged victims from coming ahead, mentioned Halim Dhanidina, a former California choose and present prison protection legal professional.
“Any time a defamation lawsuit is profitable, it has a chilling impact on speech,” Dhanidina mentioned.
“There has all the time been a chilling impact for victims to return ahead and converse out in opposition to establishments or entities or individuals with energy as a result of they really feel like their world might come crashing down on them,” she continued.
If the hypothetical win additionally results in a considerable cash judgment awarded to Depp, “then I’m certain there are individuals on the market who would assume twice about making statements if these statements might expose them to authorized legal responsibility,” Dhanidina mentioned.
However, “we don’t wish to create a world the place individuals really feel like they will say no matter they need even when they comprehend it’s not true,” the previous choose famous.
“A verdict could have a chilling impact someway no matter what the decision is,” Dhanidina mentioned.