The verdict is in. After six grueling weeks of testimony, cross-examination, and scandalous allegations levied by both sides, a jury has found Amber Heard guilty of defamation against ex-husband Johnny Depp.
The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages. But in the state of Virginia where the trial was held, punitive damages are capped at $350,000, and after the jury’s ruling was read out, Judge Penney Azcarate lowered the punitive damages to that amount. Depp’s total award is then $10.35 million. He had sought $50 million.
The jury also weighed in on Heard’s $100 million countersuit, elements of which were awarded in her favor. The jury granted Heard $2 million total, all for compensatory damages, with no punitive damages assessed.
Afterwards Heard addressed the ruling in a statement. She said,
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.
“I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK.
“I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American – to speak freely and openly.”