The lawyer representing Amber Heard has said the actress is “absolutely not” able to pay Johnny Depp £8million damages following her being found guilty of defamation.
On Wednesday (June 1) the jury in the Depp and Heard trial at the district court in Fairfax, Virginia ruled in favour of Depp, agreeing that he should be awarded $10million (£8million) in compensatory damages and $5million in punitive damages. Heard was awarded $2million (£1.5million) after the jury found that Depp had defamed her through his attorney.
Depp had accused his ex-wife of defaming him in a 2018 The Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote about being a survivor of domestic violence. While Heard’s piece didn’t mention Depp by name, the actor’s lawyers argued that it falsely implies she was sexually and physically abused by him in their marriage.
Heard filed a counterclaim against her ex-husband, arguing that he created a smear campaign against her. The jury found that Heard’s statements about her marriage were “false” and that she acted with “actual malice”.
Now, Heard’s lawyer has told Today that the actress cannot afford to pay the damages and claimed that the trial being televised didn’t help Heard’s case.
“A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed, and it caused the jury to be confused,” Elaine Charlson Bredehoft said. When host Savannah Guthrie asked if Heard would be able to pay the compensatory damages, Bredehoft responded: “Oh, no, absolutely not.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 2, 2022
Bredehoft went on to cite the verdict in a 2020 case in which Depp lost a libel suit against The Sun for calling Depp a “wife beater” in its reporting.
“And the court found there – and we weren’t allowed to tell the jury this – but the court found that Mr Depp had committed at least 12 acts of domestic violence, including sexual violence against Amber,” Bredehoft continued.
“So what did Depp’s team learn from this? Demonise Amber, and suppress the evidence.”
Entertainment Weekly has reported that Heard plans to appeal the verdict.
Heard, 36, was present in court for Wednesday’s verdict, while the 58-year-old Pirates Of The Caribbean star was in Newcastle for the announcement following his recent live performances with Jeff Beck in the UK.
Part of Heard’s statement in reaction to the ruling read: “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.
Depp, meanwhile, said: “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.”