Depp is $8.35 million richer after the Depp vs Heard verdict comes out. Will Amber Heard file for bankruptcy or is it not over yet?
A six-week long trial that got a mass press coverage has finally come to an end with Johnny Depp as the winner and awarded $15 million by the jury which includes $10 million in compensation and $5 million in punitive damages.
Later, the judge capped the punitive damages at $350,000 making the total to $8.35 million which Amber Heard will have to pay because of the Depp vs Heard verdict on Wednesday, 1st June 2022.
According to the unanimous verdict, Depp won all three defamation claims against Amber Heard and Heard won only one for which she was awarded just $2 million out of a damage claim of $100 million.
The final verdict: she lost the lawsuit.
But will she be able to pay? Sources suggest Amber’s pockets are not that deep, after all she has only pocketed a little more than $3 million from the two Aquaman films.
Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard attracted public attention when the defendant Amber Heard, who is Johnny Depp’s ex-wife, started to give contradictory claims which Depp’s lawyers were quick to point out to the jury.
The Jury’s Verdict and Possibilities
Even though the trial was six weeks long, it started gaining more traction in the last few days when the theatrical performance that Amber Heard put up finally got unveiled and the Depp vs Heard verdict date inched closer.
Reaction videos, clips, and articles started to make the rounds on social media which further publicized the trial. The winner was clear according to the public, but all awaited for the jury to make the final decision which was made on Wednesday, 1st of June 2022.
The jury’s decision could have gone any way and some of the possible outcomes of the case were:
- Depp winning the lawsuit and getting $50 million from Heard
- Depp winning the lawsuit and getting a different amount than what filed.
- Heard wins the countersuit and Depp has to pay $100 million
- Heard wins the countersuit and gets a different amount for what she filed for.
- Both were found to have defamed one another
- No parties were found defamed
- There is no unanimous decision by the jury declaring the lawsuit a mistrial because of no deliverance of a verdict.
What was the Lawsuit About?
In 2018, two years after her divorce with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star Johnny Depp, Amber Heard penned an opinion piece in the Washington Post that she was a survivor of domestic abuse.
Depp was referred to as a “wife beater” in an article in The Sun, a British tabloid, soon after Heard’s article starting gaining attention from the audience. Depp filed a libel suit against The Sun which he lost in 2020.
This claim against the tabloid costed Johnny Depp his role as “Grindelwald” in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, something that is very close to Harry Potter fans all over the world.
He also revealed that after the article, there was a Hollywood boycott against him which had had a tremendous impact on his career. All of this build-up led to the defamation lawsuit and now, the Depp vs Heard verdict.
As a result, he filed a defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife for $50 million. In response, Amber Heard filed a countersuit to claim $100 million in damages.
The hearing progressed for six weeks before the jury made its final decision on Wednesday 1st June 2022 and the long awaited Depp vs Heard verdict was out in which Depp won $15 million from the lawsuit.
While the Depp vs Heard verdict was in favour of Depp, it was most certainly not all inclined towards Depp as he was announced to receive only 30% of the amount he charged Heard in the defamation lawsuit, which is $50 million.
Amber Heard’s Statements Critiqued by the Public
Amber Heard was consistently being critiqued for her statements in court. People from all over the world united when they saw Amber Heard crying without tears and becoming normal in a jiffy after a statement in which she supposedly cried while recounting her days with ex-husband Johnny Depp.
Heard was also found coming to the courtroom with a concealer palette to show how she concealed her bruises over the years which also received public criticism when she was questioned by Camille Vasquez, Depp’s attorney on whether she had put on makeup for a fake bruise and alerted TMZ, a celebrity gossip website to take photos of her.
One Evidence for Two Accounts
Heard was also found to have presented one photo as evidence of domestic violence on two separate accounts on which Depp’s lawyer Camille Vasquez roasted Heard in the courtroom. The photo was that of wine spilled across a room.
When shown the picture, Heard stated that she couldn’t tell where the picture was taken since there were hundreds of evidence photos and many more accounts when she did not take any photos as evidence to back her claims.
This might have scored her a point in the Depp vs Heard verdict, lowering the compensation from $50 million to $15 million only.
This video gained Ms. Vazquez so much attention from Johnny Depp fans all over the world that they wanted her to replace Heard as Mera in Aquaman 2, a film that DC fans from all over the world have been awaiting since the first film’s release in 2018 and maybe even more so after the Depp vs Heard verdict.
However, Heard’s unpopularity amongst Depp fans after the Depp vs Heard verdict might have Aquaman producers thinking of a replacement for the third movie of the franchise as Aquaman 2 is already shot and is set to be released on 17th March 2023.
Trailer “Trashing” Incident 2013
Another statement from Heard that had been quoted on more than a dozen accounts was an incident from 2013. Depp allegedly “trashed” California’s Hicksville Trailer Palace, according to Heard.
The Depp vs Heard verdict also took into account Night’s statement. Parts of Heard’s statements were found to be conflicting by Morgan Higby Night who was the man who created the campgrounds and the trailers. He testified in favor of Depp saying that he saw Heard getting mad about something and yelling at Depp.
Night did not hear the rest of the conversation so he was not witness to Depp becoming physical with Heard, but he checked in the trailer for the damages as he was quite concerned about his creations.
Night said that he was relieved to find that the only damage was a light fixture which was contracting to Heard’s statement that Depp had “trashed” or in other words badly damaged the trailer when getting physically abusive with Heard. This conflicting statement earned Heard negative points which led to the Depp vs Heard verdict in favor of Johnny Depp.
Photo Evidence Tampering
A digital forensic expert, Bryan Neumeister was called into the courtroom on Thursday 26th May, 2022 to analyze whether the photo evidence that Heard submitted to the court was tampered with or not.
The expert assessed the photos with Heard’s bruised face and revealed that the photos were modified. However, Neumeister did not opinionate on whether the photos were modified by Heard intentionally. He took on to clear that he was just stating the fact that the photos were modified.
Camille Vasquez, this time in a striking white outfit requested Heard in the stands again and openly accused that she had the photos modified so her face would appear red to which Heard denied and stated that she had “never edited a photograph” which scored another negative point in the Depp vs Heard verdict.
Because of her bold statements during the trial, Vasquez has become a notable figure amongst public following the case closely and awaiting the Depp vs Heard verdict eagerly.
Amber Heard Loses the Case
The law firm that represented Heard in the trial faced a lot of criticism because of their unpreparedness in court. The firm had a positive reputation before the Depp v Heard case but their defense attorneys being rude with the witnesses was something that got them bad reviews online even more so after the Depp vs Heard verdict. Here’s what a user had to say on Yelp:
The lawyers were found to be asking silly questions from the witnesses in the Depp vs Heard trial, like asking the forensic expert whether he had a formal degree in digital forensics to be making a claim that the photos were modified.
This was after Ms. Vasquez had clearly shown the jury how photos submitted as separate pieces of evidence were the same when placed side by side and even on top of one another.
Elaine Bredehoft, Heard’s attorney even went on to ask Night on his statement in favour of Depp if he was a Depp fan to which the courtroom burst into laughter when he said “I am not”. This video clip is also gaining a lot of traction on social media amongst the followers awaiting the Depp vs Heard verdict.
Looks like the loss is not for just Amber Heard, but also for Woods Rogers Attorneys at Law.
Will Amber Heard Pay the Compensation?
Even though the jury has voted unanimously in favour of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard owes Depp $8.35 million, it is unlikely that she will be able to pay.
For her first Aquaman film, she was paid $1 million plus bonuses based on the film’s performance at the box office. She pocketed just $2 million for the second Aquaman film which is yet to release.
The Depp vs Heard verdict might result in Heard filing for bankruptcy which would wipe way the $8.35m she has to pay in compensatory damage. However, she will still have to pay the $350,000 punitive damages.
Another likelihood is that Heard appeals the verdict. However, in order to be granted an appeal against the Depp vs Heard verdict, she will have to post a bond of the full amount that she owes to Depp which is $10,350,000. This amount could also be increased based on the interest charges on the amount over the course of the appeal trial.