Johnny Depp Wins $15M Defamation Claim; Amber Heard Partial $2M Win in Counterclaim

TOPSHOT - US actress Amber Heard (L) testifies as US actor Johnny Depp looks on during a defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 5, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in …
JIM LO SCALZO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The jury in a Fairfax County, Virginia, courthouse decided Wednesday that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard each wronged the other, though Depp was the more aggrieved party, in a defamation suit and counter-suit that captivated the country.

Depp sued Heard, his former wife, for a 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post that claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse. She did not name Depp directly, but it was clear from the context that she was accusing Depp of having abused her.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million. Heard filed a counterclaim for $100 million, complaining about statements his lawyers had made about her in answering her claims.

The trial lasted from April until early June, and featured sensational and shocking details their marriage. Depp’s side presented evidence that Heard had actually abused him, rather than the other way around, and refuted rumors that Depp had abused previous lovers, such as supermodel Kate Moss. Public opinion appeared to side with Depp.

The jury found for Depp on all three of his defamation claims regarding the op-ed, awarding him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Notably, the jury found that a statement accusing Depp of sexual violence and domestic abuse was defamatory.

The jury found for Heard on only one of her two claims, awarding her $2 million in compensatory damages but no punitive damages, sending a message that they found her more at fault.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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