On Thursday, the last witnesses were called in the trial between Johnny Depp (58) and Amber Heard (36). On Friday it was time for the closing arguments and the lawyers were given one last chance to convince the jury. Depp’s legal team begged the judges to give the actor his life back. “His life is at stake.” And Amber Heard’s lawyers were again very combative. “If he abused her once, she wins.”
In 2018, Amber Heard published an op-ed in The Washington Post. In it she wrote about domestic violence. Her ex-lover’s name – whom she met at the age of 23 on the set of ‘The Rum Diary’ – was not mentioned once, but everyone knew immediately who she was talking about. It is for that column in the American quality newspaper that Depp is now demanding fifty million dollars from the blond ‘Aquaman’ actress. He wants to have his name cleared in hopes of saving his waning career. Not much later, Heard filed a counterclaim against Depp, in turn demanding $100 million from him for defamation.
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For six weeks we’ve listened to tough lawyers, bizarre psychiatrists, and striking confessions, but the trial has finally come to an end. The last witnesses were called on Thursday. On Friday, the lawyers for both Depp and Heard gave their closing arguments. When the last word has been said, it is the turn of the seven-member jury. But when will there be a verdict? Unfortunately, that is difficult to estimate, because we work with a jury. The timing of the ruling depends on how quickly they agree. The judges may reconvene daily until they reach a conclusion.
What are the stakes?
To win, Johnny Depp must prove not only that he was falsely accused of domestic violence, but also that the essay Heard wrote did cause him harm. If he proves right, Amber Heard will have to pay him damages – which will probably be quite high, given that he is demanding $50 million from her. However, she has filed a counterclaim for $100 million. This is also included in the decision-making process. If it is decided that Johnny Depp is indeed liable for her claim, he will also have to pay damages. Incidentally, it is also possible that the jury is not convinced by both parties and that they decide that neither of them should receive compensation. “The jury decides on damages and yes, it is quite possible that none will be awarded,” a spokesperson for Johnny Depp told The New York Post.
If the jury decides Amber Heard is not guilty, she will be able to recover (some of) her legal costs. Depp will then have to pay for that. The amount she will receive will be determined by a judge. In any case, the two do not have to fear a prison sentence. This is a civil action, not a criminal case. So a prison sentence is out of the question.