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The jury sides with Depp in the lawsuit, Heard in the counterclaim

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FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — A jury on Wednesday ruled in favor of Johnny Depp in his defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard, upholding his stance that Heard alleges she was molested by Depp before and during their brief marriage.

The jury also ruled in favor of Heard, who said she was defamed by Depp’s attorney when he called her abuse allegations a hoax.

The jury members found that Depp should be awarded $15 million in damages, while Heard should be awarded $2 million.

The verdicts end a televised trial that Depp had hoped would help restore his reputation, though it turned into a spectacle of a malign marriage. Fans – mostly on Depp’s side – lined up overnight to get a seat in the courtroom. Bystanders unable to get in lined up in the street to cheer for Depp and taunt Heard whenever one of them appeared outside.

Depp sued Heard for defamation in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post in which she described herself as “a public figure who advocates domestic violence.” His lawyers said he was defamed by the article, although he never mentioned his name.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) – A jury said Wednesday it had returned a verdict in Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard, which said Depp physically and sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions.

The jury also returned verdict on a $100 million counterclaim Heard filed against Depp. Heard said she was defamed when Depp’s attorney called her abuse allegations a hoax.

The verdicts were due to be read at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the Virginia courthouse, but the judge sent the jury back for not completely filling out the verdict form. The seven-member civil jury had to decide unanimously for each verdict. They deliberated for about 12 hours over three days.

Depp is suing his ex-wife for $50 million, accusing her of defaming him with a 2018 comment in which she described herself as “a public figure who portrays domestic violence.” Heard filed a $100 million counterclaim against the Pirates of the Caribbean star after his attorney called her allegations fraudulent. Each accuses the other of having destroyed his career.

Testimonies during the six-week trial contained glaring details of their short and volatile marriage. Heard testified that Depp physically or sexually assaulted her more than a dozen times. Depp said he never hit Heard, she made up the abuse allegations and she was the one who physically assaulted him on multiple occasions.

The jury must decide on both allegations whether or not the statements were made with “actual malice,” meaning they knew what they said was wrong, or whether they acted in reckless disregard of the truth.

During the closing arguments, both sides of the jury stated that a verdict in their favor would restore the lives of their clients.

Depp didn’t wait for the decision in Virginia. He has spent the last few days on stage singing and playing guitar with Jeff Beck in the UK.

https://www.cbs17.com/news/jury-reaches-verdict-in-johnny-depp-amber-heard-libel-trial/ The jury sides with Depp in the lawsuit, Heard in the counterclaim

Dais Johnston

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