Jurors reached a verdict in the Amber Heard-Johnny Depp Trial
Depp sued for $50 million in damages over a 2018 opinion-editorial essay in The Washington Post, in which Heard said she had become a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Although the essay never mentioned Depp by name, his attorneys said it indirectly referred to allegations she made against him during their 2016 divorce.
Heard countersued for $100 million and said she was only ever violent with Depp in self-defense or defense of her younger sister. Heard’s countersuit, which centered around three statements made by Depp’s former attorney in 2020 to the Daily Mail, in which he described Heard’s allegations of abuse as a “hoax.”
Defamation claims filed in the U.S. by public figures, such as an actor, are commonly thought of as difficult cases to win due to the higher standard a plaintiff must prove.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1964 that defamation suits brought by notable figures must not only prove the claims were false and caused them damage, but that the person who made the defamatory statement did so with “actual malice.”
The high-profile trial, which took place over about six weeks in Fairfax County, Virginia, was broadcast across the country and drew numerous headlines.
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Diana Dasrath and Saba Hamedy contributed.