Fact-Based Opinion | Dr. Colin A. Harris
Heard Defamed Depp, Depp Sued, Heard Lost, Heard Appealed, Heard Withdrew Appeal, Trial Verdict Stands, Heard must Pay $1 Million. Who won?
The Depp v. Heard trial was held in Fairfax County, Virginia, from April 11 to June 1, 2022. The jury unanimously returned the judgment that Heard defamed Depp. The verdict sends a strong message to liars and domestic abusers that they will be held accountable for their toxic, abusive behaviors. The judgment against Amber Heard was a significant revelation that men are victims of domestic violence. This verdict benefits domestic violence victims because it highlights the length a person would go to abuse and continue abusing their victim. Additionally, it ripped the veil off the eyes of so many people to show that women can commit some truly horrendous acts, then lie to cover their tracks. Fortunately, the jury saw through Heard's facade and ruled in Depp's favor. The jury believed that Heard was a liar who fabricated the physical and sexual abuse allegations against Depp were false. This win for Johnny Depp sends a strong message that we as a society will not allow people to make false allegations against another for their own personal gain. This judgment will also empower victims of domestic violence to come forward to tell their truth while simultaneously deterring abusers and disingenuous individuals from making false allegations in fear of being exposed and publicly shamed.
Defamation is the act of communicating to a third party false statements about a person…
The jury found that the message Heard communicated to the world in her 2018 op-ed was false. Heard's allegations were deemed untrue because the trial showed that Depp never physically or sexually abused Heard. The seven-person jury analyzed six weeks of testimony and evidence and determined that Heard's physical and sexual abuse allegation was a lie. When given the opportunity to tell her truth, Heard got on the stand and told a tale so preposterous that no rational person could or should believe it. The jury's position was based mainly on the fact that Heard is untrustworthy, her evidence did not support her claims, and she admitted on the stand that the op-ed was indeed about Johnny Depp. Consequently, the jury awarded $15 million in compensatory damages to the prevailing party, Depp, prompting the following statement from Heard:
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.
Similar to the Jury's verdict, most people who watched the trial and were familiar with the facts overwhelmingly supported the Jury's verdict. Contrastingly, the mainstream media aggressively ran to Heard's defense while neglecting to address the overwhelming evidence and Heard's admissions, "I did not punch you, I was hitting you," proving that Heard physically abused Depp. The mainstream media is complicit in the continued abuse of Depp by refusing to acknowledge that Heard is a husband-beater. These institutions are even reluctant to admit that men can be victims of domestic abuse. The mainstream media is also doing a great disservice to the 1 in 7 male victims who experience physical violence from their intimate partners.
On November 23, 2022, Heard filed a brief with the Court of Appeals in Virginia, requesting to overturn the jury's verdict that Ms. Heard had lied and fabricated sexual and physical allegations, and defamed Depp in her 2018 op-ed. In Heard’s eagerness to force the world to forget the facts and the cacophony in her public messaging, her team and supporters released a number of disjointed emotion-driven documents (open letter and amicus curiae) reiterating the defamatory position.
On December 19, 2022, Heard broke her six-month Instagram silence to publish the following statement:
After a great deal of deliberation I have made a very difficult decision to settle the defamation case brought against me by my ex husband in Virginia.” “It’s important for me to say that I never chose this. I defended my truth and in doing so my life as I knew it was destroyed.
Heard’s statement is meant to mislead and confuse readers because it is written in a manner that suggests that the jury’s verdict was thrown out. Amber Heard did not settle the defamation case. Instead, she withdrew her appeal under the agreement that she, through her insurance company, would only pay $1 million instead of the $8 million she owed Depp. The jury’s judgment that Heard defamed Depp by lying to the public in her op-ed still stands. This judgment is documented in the courts and will forever be a stain attached to her name.
The facts are:
Amber Heard wrote an op-ed indirectly accusing Depp of domestic abuse.
Depp sued Heard for $50 million.
The jury found that Heard lied and defamed Depp.
The jury awarded Depp $10 million.
The Washington Post added an editor’s note to Heard's 2018 op-ed highlighting that a jury found Heard liable on three counts for her statement in the 2018 op-ed.
Amber Heard appealed the Verdict.
Amber Heard withdrew her appeal.
The verdict that Heard defamed Depp still stands.
Depp agreed to accept a reduced judgment of $1 million, instead of $10 million. This is the only change.
Depp's willingness to accept only $1 million in damages is a testament to his character. This act also supports his legal team's statement that Depp sued to clear his name and not for the money. The trial, verdict, and judgment are significant WINS FOR JOHNNY DEPP, both in the courts and the public. Only time will tell if Amber Heard will ever recover and once again be accepted in society.