What happens to Amber Heard if Johnny Depp wins defamation trial?

Amber Heard could be in the nose for tens of millions of dollars if she can’t convince jurors of her case – but there could be an even worse outcome.

The fate of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard – and whether either side will be liable for millions in damages in their dueling defamation cases – is in the hands of an American jury.

Seven jurors overseeing the trial in Fairfax County, Virginia – just outside Washington DC – will decide whether Heard, 36, defamed Depp, 58, when she wrote a 2018 Washington Post opinion piece calling himself “a public figure representing domestic violence,” reports the NY Post.

The jury must also determine whether she should be liable for millions in damages.

“The jury will determine damages for the claim and the counterclaim,” sources close to Heard’s legal team said. The post office. “If the jury finds that Amber was liable for Mr. Depp, they would determine damages, if they find that Mr. Depp was responsible for Amber’s counterclaims, they would determine damages.”

the Aquaman The actress – who dated Depp and was married to him for 15 months – is not facing jail time as she faces no criminal charges, just civil suits.

the Pirates of the Caribbean The actor has filed his $50m (A$72m) defamation lawsuit against Heard, claiming she damaged his reputation and career – costing him tens of millions – when she wrote the editorial.

Heard did not name Depp in the essay, but his lawyers argue it still defamed him because it clearly referenced domestic abuse allegations his ex-wife made when she filed for divorce in 2016 and had obtained a temporary restraining order against him.

Depp denies ever physically hurting Heard and claimed she was the abuser in their relationship. Heard, meanwhile, accused Depp of assaulting her dozens of times.

The actor then filed defamation counterclaims for $100m (A$146m) – alleging Depp was waging a “smear campaign” to ruin his life.

The couple have been fighting in front of a jury at the Fairfax County Courthouse for four weeks. The trial is currently on a one-week hiatus.

Closing arguments are set for May 27 and the jury could begin deliberating the fate of the estranged couple shortly thereafter.

It’s also possible the jury is not persuaded by either party and determines that neither Depp nor Heard should be awarded damages, the source close to Heard’s legal team said.

A spokesperson for Depp confirmed: “The jury decides damages and yes, it is possible that no damages will be awarded.”

If the jury does not find that Heard should be liable in Depp’s case, she would be entitled to recover the cost of her legal fees from Depp. That amount will be determined later by a judge, the sources said.

But if Depp is successful, it could have a “chilling effect” that would discourage other alleged victims from coming forward, said Halim Dhanidina, a former California judge and current criminal defense attorney.

“Whenever a libel suit is successful, it has a chilling effect on speech,” Mr Dhanidina said.

“There has always been a chilling effect for victims to come forward and speak out against institutions or entities or people in power because they feel like their world might come crashing down on them,” he said. he continued.

If the hypothetical win also leads to substantial financial judgment being awarded to Depp, “then I’m sure there are people out there who would think twice about making statements if those statements could expose them to legal liability,” he said. said Mr. Dhanidina.

On the other hand, “we don’t want to create a world where people feel like they can say whatever they want even though they know it’s not true,” the former judge noted. .

“A verdict will have a chilling effect one way or the other, regardless of the verdict,” Dhanidina said.

This article originally appeared in the NY Post and has been republished with permission.

Leave a Comment