Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial: Jury resumes deliberations

The 7-person jury met for a full day on Tuesday and returned Wednesday morning to continue discussions



Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

By AFP

Published: Wed 1 Jun 2022, 8:38 PM

The jury in the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard resumed deliberations Wednesday, working painstakingly through a special verdict form that contains dozens of questions.

The seven-person jury met for a full day on Tuesday and returned Wednesday morning to Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia, near the US capital, to continue their discussions.

Closing arguments in the high-profile case were held on Friday at the end of a six-week trial riding on claims and counterclaims of domestic abuse between the Hollywood celebrities.

The 58-year-old “Pirates of the Caribbean” star filed suit against Heard over statements in an op-ed she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”

The Texas-born Heard, who had a starring role in “Aquaman,” did not name Depp in the piece, but he sued her for implying he was a domestic abuser and is seeking $50 million in damages.

The 36-year-old Heard countersued for $100 million, saying she was defamed by statements made by Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman, who told the Daily Mail her abuse claims were a “hoax.”

The jury is working through an eight-page verdict form that contains 24 questions relating to Depp’s suit against Heard and 18 questions relating to her countersuit against him.

Both need to prove the statements were defamatory, and to win compensatory or punitive damages, the jury needs to find they were made with actual malice — with knowledge that they were false or with “reckless disregard” for whether they were false or not.

Depp flew to England over the Memorial Day weekend and made surprise appearances at concerts by Jeff Beck in Sheffield on Sunday and at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Monday and Tuesday.

Depp, a guitarist, has his own band, the Hollywood Vampires, with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry of Aerosmith.

Dozens of witnesses testified during the trial, including bodyguards, Hollywood executives, agents, entertainment industry experts, doctors, friends and relatives.

Depp and Heard each spent days on the witness stand during the televised trial, which was attended by hundreds of fans of the “Pirates” star and accompanied by a #JusticeForJohnnyDepp campaign on social media.

Video and audio recordings of heated, profanity-laced arguments between the couple were played for the jury, which was also shown photographs of injuries allegedly suffered by Heard during their volatile relationship.

Hours of testimony were devoted to a grisly finger injury that Depp suffered while filming an installment of “Pirates” in Australia in March 2015.

Depp claimed the tip of a finger was severed when Heard threw a vodka bottle at him. Heard said she did not know how the injury occurred.

Both agreed that Depp went on to scrawl messages on walls, lampshades and mirrors using the bloody digit.

Heard said Depp would become a physically and sexually abusive “monster” during alcohol- and drug-fueled binges and resisted her repeated efforts to curb his drinking and drug use.

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Depp testified that it was Heard who was frequently violent and said it has been “brutal” to listen to “outlandish” accusations of domestic abuse made against him.

“No human being is perfect, certainly not, none of us, but I have never in my life committed sexual battery, physical abuse,” he said.

Heard, who was married to Depp from 2015 to 2017, obtained a restraining order against him in May 2016, citing domestic violence.

Depp, a three-time Oscar nominee, filed a libel suit in London against the British tabloid The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater.” He lost that case in November 2020.

Both sides have claimed damage to their Hollywood careers.


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