The jury has ruled in Johnny Depp’s favour after hearing six weeks of evidence in the US defamation trial between actor Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard in the high profile case that dominated headlines.
Thursday 26 May saw the final witnesses take the stand with a dramatic appearance via video link from British supermodel Kate Moss on Wednesday, in which she said that Depp had “never pushed me, kicked me or threw me down any stairs”.
The trial officially ended on Friday 27 May, after lawyers for both sides made their final closing statements, after which the jury was asked to retire, deliberate and reach a verdict on whether or not Heard defamed Depp in her 2018 Washington Post article at the heart of the case.
What was said in the closing arguments?
The closing remarks in the multimillion dollar defamation lawsuit ended with both sides urging the jurors to think about other victims of domestic abuse.
The Aquaman actress’ legal team highlighted the message that a verdict found in Depp’s favour would send to others, whereas Depp’s team said that her claims were “an act of profound cruelty to true survivors”.
In his closing remarks, Benjamin Rottenborn, representing Heard, said that a verdict in Depp’s favour would demonstrate to abuse victims that they would “always need to do more”.
“The facts are absolutely overwhelming, of abuse,” he told the jury.
“Mr Depp simply cannot prove to you that he never once abused Amber, and if you don’t know, you have to return a verdict for Ms Heard.
“A ruling against Amber here sends the message that no matter what you do as an abuse victim you always need to do more.
“No matter what you document you always have to document more, no matter who you tell you always have to tell more people.
“No matter how honest you are about your own imperfections and shortcomings in a relationship you need to be perfect in order for people to believe you.
“Don’t send that message – that’s what [Depp] wants you to do.”
Rottenborn added that theNightmare on Elm Street actor was “running head-long into the first amendment” of the US Constitution and urged members of the jury to “stand up” for freedom of speech.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to tell Mr Depp that this was ‘last chance’,” he said.
“Tell him to move on with his life. Tell him to let Amber move on for hers.
He added: “This trial is about so much more than Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. It’s about freedom of speech. Stand up for it, protect it, and reject Mr Depp’s claims against Amber.”
In her closing remarks, Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez, said the “mountain” of evidence that Depp assaulted his former partner was “simply not there”.
Vasquez began by reminding jurors that Heard had filed a restraining order against her former partner on May 27 2016.
“In doing so ruined his life by falsely telling the world that she was a survivor of domestic abuse at the hands of Mr Depp,” she said.
“On May 27 2022, exactly six years later, we ask you to give Mr Depp his life back. What is at stake in this trial is a man’s life.”
“There is an abuser in this courtroom but it is not Mr Depp. There is a victim of domestic abuse in this courtroom, but it is not Ms Heard.”
She added: “It is disturbing to think Ms Heard would make up the horrific tales of abuse that she testified to in this courtroom.
“What Ms Heard testified to in this courtroom is a story of far too many women, but the overwhelming evidence and weight of that evidence is that it is not her story.
“It is not Ms Heard’s story.
“It was an act of profound cruelty not just to Mr Depp, but to true survivors of domestic abuse for Ms Heard to hold herself out as a public figure representing domestic abuse.
“It was false, it was defamatory and it caused irreparable harm.”
When did jurors come to a decision?
Jurors were dismissed on Friday 27 May and, following the weekend and the US federal holiday Memorial Day on Monday 30 May, continued their deliberations until Tuesday 31 May.
Judge Azcarate reminded jurors of their obligation to consider all the evidence before reaching their conclusions, and forbade them from using outside sources for research purposes.
Their decision was officially revealed on Wednesday 1 June.
Due to the high profile nature of the case, Judge Azcarate has ordered the names of the jury to be sealed for a year.
What did the jury decide?
While the jury found in Depp’s favour, they found that both Depp and Heard had been defamed - Depp in Heard’s 2018 Washington Post article and Heard in her counterclaim against Depp over comments made by his lawyer Adam Waldman.
Depp was awarded compensatory damages of $10 million dollars (£8 million) and a further $5 million dollars (£4 million) in punitive damages.
Heard was awarded $2 million dollars (£1.6 million) in damages after her counterclaim against Depp over comments made by his lawyer Adam Waldman, who allegedly referred to her abuse claims as a “hoax”, was also found to be defamatory.