Law&Crime founder Dan Abrams on Wednesday rapidly reacted to dueling jury verdicts in a defamation trial between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, calling the outcome a “total loss” for Heard.
A Virginia jury of seven determined that Heard defamed Depp three times over again but that Heard was defamed only once by a statement by one of Depp’s lawyers, Adam Waldman, who was working as an “agent” for Depp.
The monetary awards were as follows: the jury determined that Depp should be paid $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. However, the judge overseeing the trial immediately reduced the punitive damages award to $350,000 pursuant to a cap mandated by state law.
That means Depp is due $10,350,000 from Heard.
Heard, however, is due $2 million for being defamed by the lawyer, the jury determined.
The upshot: a win of $8.35 million for Depp and a net loss for Heard — despite her win on one of the counts.
“The fact that Johnny Depp won on all three counts is pretty amazing,” Abrams reacted on the Law&Crime Network on Wednesday afternoon after the verdict was read. “Remember, this is a case where he sued a publication in London, where the standard is harder to win, and a judge came back and said, no, he believed that Johnny Depp was a — quote — ‘wife beater’ on twelve of fourteen counts. Now you have a jury here, seven people, five men, and two women, coming back and saying Johnny Depp was defamed on all three of the counts. I mean — this is, I think, a real surprise to a lot of people.”
Abrams said the sole win for Heard was but a “token win.”
Abrams said the sole count which Heard won related to allegations that she and her friends “conspired” to get Johnny Depp. He opined that perhaps the allegation that Heard and her friends “conspired” was what rubbed the jury the wrong way.
“The takeaway from this case is that these jurors believed Johnny Depp and they didn’t believe Amber Heard,” Abrams said. “I don’t think there’s any other way to interpret these all of these verdicts together.”
Abrams suggested that the case resulted in a “total loss” for Heard despite what he suggested was a “token win” on the single count.
“She just wins on this one issue,” Abrams said. “These jurors clearly believed Johnny Depp and didn’t believe Amber Heard.”
“This is vindication for Johnny Depp, and that means these jurors believe he was not a domestic abuser,” Abrams later said. “That allows him to get back his career . . . this is a massive win for Johnny Depp.”
Abrams then noted that a promised appeal by Amber Heard could only attack legal decisions by the judge and perhaps to reduce the damages. He said those avenues were Heard’s “most likely” chance for success — but, even then, Depp got “exactly what he wanted here.”
“I don’t think he cares about the money,” Abrams opined. “This is vindication for Johnny Depp. A jury has said he was defamed by these comments, and that means these jurors believe that he was not a domestic abuser. I think that allows him to get back his career in many ways.”
Abrams said it was “not particularly significant” that Depp wasn’t in court to hear the verdict. Heard was present in court, but Depp was reportedly watching remotely from the United Kingdom, the Law&Crime Network reported.
[Image via Law&Crime Network]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]