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Johnny Depp’s Lawyers: “Social Media Played No Role” in Swaying Jury

They also don't think the verdict harms the #MeToo movement

Johnny Depp defamation social media amber heard trial case legal news lawyers
Johnny Depp
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    Ben Chew and Camille Vasquez, two of the lawyers who represented Johnny Depp in his recent highly-publicized trial, say “social media played no role whatsoever” in the jury’s decision to find Amber Heard guilty of defamation against her ex-husband. The attorneys appeared on both Good Morning America and The Today Show Wednesday morning to discuss the trial, which ended last week with both Depp and Heard receiving compensatory damages — though Depp’s sum was over $8 million more than Heard’s.

    “Social media played no role whatsoever [in the jury’s verdict],” Chew told GMA’s George Stephanopoulos. “This was a decision made by the jury on the evidence presented by both sides, and as Camille said [earlier in the interview], it was overwhelmingly in Mr. Depp’s favor.”

    Depp and Heard’s trial was a subject of nonstop chatter online throughout its grueling six-week duration. While Chew and Vasquez acknowledged that social media and the 24/7 news cycle are inescapable, Chew told Today’s Savannah Guthrie that he “[doesn’t] think there’s any reason to believe that the jurors violated their oath,” and he was “disappointed” to hear Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft suggest they might have.

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    Vasquez explained that the jury was “admonished every single night,” and added that “they had a tremendous amount of respect for the court and the process, and they were doing they best that they could.” On the other hand, court-appointed stenographer Judy Bellinger told Law & Crime Network earlier this week that she saw “a few jurors dozing off” during the extensive trial.

    Stephanopoulos also asked the lawyers how they thought this case played into Hollywood’s #MeToo movement. Vasquez said she didn’t think the verdict had any negative impact on the movement, adding: “We encourage any victim to come forward… We believe that the verdict speaks for itself, the facts are what they were, the jury made a unanimous decision based on those facts.”

    Depp filed the $50 million lawsuit in response to his ex-wife’s 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post with the headline: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” Although Heard never mentioned Depp by name, the latter claimed that the article tainted his reputation. Heard countersued for $100 million, claiming that Depp’s lawyer defamed her by telling the press that her allegations were false.

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    Heard has plans to appeal the jury’s ruling, while Depp may also appeal the $2 million awarded to her.

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