C: Wikimedia Commons

Amber Heard’s Claims, and why Johnny Depp won

The jury in the case, which was held at Fairfax County Court in Virginia, returned a unanimous  verdict after a relatively short period of deliberation. The jury found in favour of Depp on all 3 counts. 

Depp had entered a claim for damages for $50,000,000 however the jury awarded him $15,000,000, of which $10,000,000 was awarded in compensatory damages and $5,000,000 in punitive damages.  The total was reduced to $10,350,000 due to limitations on punitive damages in the state of Virginia.

Heard’s counter claim for $100,000,000 in damages was unsuccessful save on one count where she was awarded $2,000,000 in damages for defamatory comments written by attorney Adam Waldman where he claimed that she and her friends had ‘set’ Johnny up by spilling wine, roughing up some furniture, and calling the cops. She was awarded no punitive damages.

During the trial which was heard over 24 days,  Heard made a series of allegations of serious physical and sexual abuse during her lenghty testimony, however her credibility was damaged throughout the trial by a series of contradictions that arose regarding her testimony. 

Heard had presented a colour corrector makeup palette to the court claiming that it was the one she had used to camouflage bruises she claimed to have received when Depp struck her. A video released on social media by representatives of the manufacturer of the palette, Milani,  said that at the time she alleges the abuse and bruise covering took place, the product was not yet in circulation. 

Heard had also alleged that Depp had assaulted her while the pair and some friends were staying at a holiday resort called Hicksville Trailer Palace. She claimed that Depp had grabbed the wrist of a female member of the party after Heard alleged he became jealous, and asked the woman if she knew ‘how many pounds of pressure it takes to break a human wrist’. This account, however, was not corroborated by the alleged victim. 

She also alleged that an enraged Depp later trashed the trailer the couple were staying in before forcibly conducting a cavity search on her in efforts to ‘locate cocaine’. 

The owner of the trailer park, Morgan Night, later testified that only a lightbulb was damaged in the trailer Depp and Heard stayed in. He also testified to witnessing Amber shouting at Depp. 

Officer Melissa Saenz testified via video link that on an occasion where she was called to the couple’s former residence she did not see any signs of domestic violence at the property, and that there were no visible signs of injury on Amber Heard. 

While the pair were in Australia when Depp was filming Pirates of the Caribbean 5, 

Heard  testified about an occasion where she claims that Depp assaulted her by grabbing her by the throat, slamming her against a wall, threatening her with a broken glass bottle, throwing glass bottles at her, repeatedly “whacking” her in the face,  and raping her with a liqour bottle.

However the manager of the property Johnny Depp had rented, Ben King, testified that he did not see any signs of injury on her despite flying to LA with her shortly after the alleged incident. Heard had also testified that she had bruises on her jaw and cuts on her forearm. In his testimony, King told the court how Amber had asked him if he had “ever been so mad at somebody that you just lost it”, on the plane. 

Depp claimed that on the same trip he had had part of his finger severed after Amber threw a vodka bottle at him. 

Personal security guard and former Marine, Starling Jenkins, testified that Heard threw personal belongings of Depp off the balcony of their home after she says they “had a fight” including his wallet, passport, and phone. Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez argued that Heard taking a series of photos of Depp while he was sleeping, one in which he had ice-cream spilled on his leg, suggested that she was not afraid of the man she claims abused her.  

Audio recordings of Heard arguing with Johnny in which she can be heard calling him a baby, mocking him, and one where she can be heard asking him if he thinks anyone will believe him ‘a man’ is a victim of domestic abuse. 

In the closing arguments of the case, Depp’s lawyer Ben Chew implored the jury to find in his client’s favour saying that Depp (58) had borne the weight of the false allegations “stoically” for the past 6 years. He continued by stating that all Depp wanted was the “restoration of his good name” and that the case was “never about money”, neither was it a way to “punish Amber”. 

The jury initially failed to fill in the section for damages on the necessary forms, requiring the judge to send them back into deliberation to complete the task.

Depp was not in court to hear the verdict although it was reported he joined in remotely.  

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