After a six-week long trial, the verdict for one of the high-profile civil cases of the #MeToo era involving Johnny Depp and his ex-wife Amber Heard is finally out. If you have been following the trial closely, you already know that the Pirates of the Caribbean actor accused Heard of defaming him for a 2018 op-ed published in the Washington Post, in which she referred to herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” and “how institutions protect men accused of abuse”.
Following that, Depp sued Heard for USD 50 million, Heard countersued him for USD 100 million, saying Depp defamed her by calling her accusations a ‘hoax’. Both the actors made charges of domestic abuse against each other. The Fairfax, Virginia jury found both accountable for defamation and awarded damages, USD 15 million to Depp and USD 2 million to Heard, respectively. However, the jury’s decision turned out to be a victory for the 58-year-old actor.
Johnny Depp thanks the jury
Depp and Heard met in 2011 on the sets of The Rum Diary and tied the knot in a private ceremony in Los Angeles in 2015. The couple got divorced in 2017. After this verdict came out, Johnny released a statement on Instagram that read, “Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye. False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already travelled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career. And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
He further added, “My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought. From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that. I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up. I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media.”
Amber Heard is heartbroken, says the verdict normalises violence against women
On the other hand, the Aquaman actress is disappointed and heartbroken with the verdict and calls it a setback for women who muster up the courage to speak up against domestic abuse. In a long note on Instagram, she wrote, “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband. I'm even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”
“I believe Johnny's attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK. I'm sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American -- to speak freely and openly,” she concluded.
Camille Vasquez, the star of the Depp-Heard trial
Now let’s talk about someone who was instrumental in Depp’s victory. We are talking about none other than Camille Vasquez, the fierce lawyer who shot to fame for her terrific cross-questioning skills during this televised trial.
Vasquez is part of attorney Benjamin Chew's team of Brown Rudnick lawyers and is now referred to as the Wonder Woman of the trial. In her statement to the press she said, “Today's verdict confirms what we have said from the beginning, that the claims against Johnny Depp are defamatory and unsupported by any evidence. We are grateful, so grateful to the jury for their careful deliberation, to the judge and the court staff who have devoted an enormous amount of time and resources towards this case.”