Johnny Depp’s legal team deny ‘victory lap’ after defamation trial win
Depp sued Heard for $50m for implying he abused her in a 2018Washington Post op-ed. Although she didn’t name him, he claims her allegations impacted his ability to work. She pursued a $100m counterclaim.
The jury determined Heard defamed Depp on all three counts and awarded him $10m in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2m compensatory damages.
When interviewed, Depp’s lawyers were asked about the possibility of dropping damages and said the case was never about money, but wouldn’t comment further.
The “humbled” actor thanked the jury for giving him his life back. He is currently playing gigs on a UK tour with Jeff Beck. Despite massive social media backing for Depp during the trial, a new poll suggests his popularity dropped after the verdict.
In a statement, Heard expressed “disappointment beyond words” and said she was heartbroken, claiming the verdict was a “setback” for women. She has decided to appeal the verdict and is “unable to pay” the damages.
Savannah Guthrie admits husband works for Johnny Depp’s team before interview
Ms Guthrie spoke to Mr Depp’s attorneys Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew on Wednesday morning’s NBC Today show, one week after the jury handed down its verdict in his high-stakes defamation case with Amber Heard.
At the start of the interview, she made the disclosure about her husband’s ties to the lawyers before quickly moving on and launching into her questions about the trial.
NBC anchor is married to Michael Feldman, a public relations consultant and one-time political adviser
Will Johnny Depp return to Pirates franchise after winning defamation trial?
In late 2019, it was announced that Disney would be moving forward in developing a script for a Pirates of the Caribbean reboot.
At the time, it hadn’t formally been announced whether Johnny Depp would be attached to the new project.
Here’s what we know about the future of the franchise:
Film producer had originally testified that the ‘future is yet to be decided’
Depp and Jeff Beck splash out $60k on Indian dinner
Depp has been in the UK performing concerts with musician Beck, even missing the final day of the trial for a show, when the jury announced the verdict on 1 June. The two recently announced they will be releasing a new album next month.
On Sunday (5 June), the pair closed Varanasi restaurant to the public, as they were reportedly joined by 20 other friends to share a meal.
According to TMZ, the eatery’s Operations Director Mohammed Hussain said Depp’s final bill was around £50,000 ($60,000) in total.
In an Instagram post, the restaurant shared a few photos, along with a caption that read: “The most talked about person on the planet right now joined us for dinner last night!”
The Independent’s Inga Parkel reports:
Varanasi was closed to the public as the two shared dinner with a group of friends
Heard’s options to appeal: Evidentiary issues
Speaking to Clémence Michallon about appeal options, Jesse Weber, a host and attorney at the Law & Crime network, pointed to statements made by Heard attorney Elaine Bredehoft in interviews after the trial in seeking to outline possible strategies for Ms Heard’s legal team.
“The arguments on appeal are focused on what Heard believes are incorrect legal rulings by the judge. That is why making objections and motions during the course of the trial is so important to preserve these issues for appeal,” he said.
“Based on Elaine Bredehoft’s comments after the verdict, it seems they will be focusing on evidence that was ‘suppressed’ at trial, such as medical records, and perhaps arguing prejudicial evidence from [Mr Depp] was allowed to be introduced. It also seems [Ms Heard’s team] took issue with the fact that the UK ruling, where a judge found multiple instances of abuse by [Mr Depp], could not be presented to the jury.”
Mr Depp sued The Sun’s publishing company in 2018 over a headline which had called him a “wife beater”. A judge ruled against him in the UK case in 2020.
Ms Heard’s attorneys “could also argue there were problems with the jury instructions/jury form,” Mr Weber added.
Depp’s legal team deny ‘victory lap’ after landmark win against Amber Heard
The legal team for Johnny Depp has denied the accusation from a spokesperson for Amber Heard who said the attorneys were taking a “victory lap” by making TV appearances following their client winning a blockbuster defamation case.
Attorneys Camile Vasquez and Ben Chew were grilled by Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday morning in one of their first televised interviews since their client emerged victorious in his defamation case against his ex-wife.
Johanna Chisholm reports:
A spokesperson for Heard slammed Depp’s lawyers ahead of their appearances on Wednesday morning talk shows
Social media ‘played no role whatsoever’ in jury’s verdict in Amber Heard trial, says lawyer
Ben Chew, who represented the Pirates actor at the trial in Fairfax, Virginia, dismissed claims from Ms Heard’s legal team that the social media circus surrounding the case could have influenced the outcome.
Rachel Sharp reports:
‘My view is that social media played no role whatsoever,’ Ben Chew told Good Morning America
Why did the jury not believe Heard?
On NBC’s Today show on Wednesday morning, Savannah Guthrie asked why the jury did not believe Amber Heard’s claims about Johnny Depp and abuse.
Lawyer Ben Chew says it came down to “accountability”, in that Mr Depp took accountability for his alcohol and drug abuse and text messages, where the jury may have perceived that Ms Heard didn’t take accountability for anything.
As for the larger message beyond the case, Camille Vasquez says she doesn’t see one and that they encourage all victims to come forward and have their day in court “which is exactly what happened in this case”.
Depp may drop damages claim against Heard if she stops appeal, lawyers suggest
Host George Stephanopoulos asked if Mr Depp would forego the $8.35m in damages if Ms Heard dropped her appeal. Attorney Ben Chew said the case was never about money for Mr Depp but that he couldn’t reveal much more because of attorney-client privilege.
‘This was never about money for Mr Depp,’ Ben Chew says
Depp lawyers claim evidence submitted in US trial exceeded that of UK trial
On NBC’s Today show on Wednesday morning, Savannah Guthrie asked Johnny Depp’s trial lawyers about why the UK judgment against Mr Depp in his defamation trial against The Sun was not included in the US trial. That case found the paper’s claims about him being a “wife-beater” were substantially true.
Camille Vasquez responds: “It was a different process, and also, in this case, Mr Depp and Ms Heard were parties with different disclosure obligations.”
“The overwhelming evidence that was presented in this case in Virginia far exceeded what was presented in the UK, and we believe the jury got it right.”
Heard’s sister breaks her silence following verdict
Heard’s sister Whitney Henriquez took to Instagram on Sunday to say she is “proud” of the Aquaman actor despite last week’s verdict.
“Yesterday, today and tomorrow I will always be proud of you for standing up for yourself, for testifying both here in Virginia and in the UK, and for being the voice of so many who can’t speak to the things that happen behind closed doors,” wrote Henriquez, who had testified during the trial.
“We knew that this was going to be an uphill battle and that the cards were stacked against us. But you stood up and spoke out regardless.”
The Independent’s Annabel Nugent reports:
Whitney Henriquez testified for Heard during the six-week trial