Heard 'absolutely not' able to pay $10M to Depp: Lawyer
The murky, live-televised defamation trial between actors and ex-spouses Amber Heard and Johnny Depp reached its conclusion on Wednesday. A seven-person jury ruled in Depp's favor and ordered the Aquaman actor to pay him $10M in compensatory damages and $5M in punitive damages. However, Heard's lawyer has claimed the 36-year-old is "absolutely not" able to pay the $10M damage amount. Here are the details.
- The volatile trial was one of the most-talked-about legal battles in Hollywood ever and went on for seven weeks in Fairfax County, Virginia, US.
- The altercation finds its roots in a The Washington Post op-ed written by Heard in 2018 where she called herself "a public figure representing domestic abuse."
- Although Depp wasn't named, he sued her claiming she defamed him.
Compensatory damages are awarded to the victim after being wronged and primarily depend on the worth of one's lawsuit. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are supposed to punish the defendant and are meant to deter them from acting similarly in the future.
While appearing on NBC's TODAY show, Heard's attorney Elaine Bredehoft said that her client is "absolutely not" able to pay the $10M penalty. Bredehoft shared that The Rum Diary actor wants to go ahead and appeal the verdict and "has some excellent grounds for it." The attorney also added that Depp's legal team endeavored to "demonize" her client and "confused the jurors."
The lawyer, while speaking to NBC's Savannah Guthrie, said that although jurors weren't supposed to be swayed by social media, it is unlikely that they were completely unaware. "We had a 10-day break because of the judicial conference. There is no way they couldn't have been influenced." Social media brimmed with overwhelming support for Depp and hashtags such as #AmberTurd and #JusticeForJohnnyDepp dominated daily.
After due deliberation over three days, the jury pronounced that Heard had indeed defamed Depp and her essay was directed toward the 58-year-old. However, part of the ruling was titled in favor of Heard, too, and she was awarded $2M since Depp's former attorney Adam Waldman had called her abuse allegations a "hoax." The jury decreed that this statement defamed Heard.
Although Depp wasn't present in the courtroom, he took to social media and thanked the jury for "giving him his life back." He wrote that he owed the "truth" to his children and also expressed gratitude toward his millions of fans. On the other hand, a "disappointed" Heard penned that she was heartbroken that a "mountain of evidence" lost against Depp's influential power.