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Johnny Depp-Amber Heard verdict: Jury sides with Depp, awards $15 million

The jury of seven people reached a decision Wednesday in the defamation case brought by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard.

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Johnny Depp won his defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard on Wednesday, and the jury awarded him $15 million in damages.

Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages in his defamation suit. The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages.

The jury in Fairfax, Virginia, began deliberating Friday.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million after she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in 2018 in which she called herself a "public figure representing domestic abuse." Heard countersued Depp for $100 million.

Heard plans to appeal

Sources close to Amber Heard confirmed to NBC News reports that Heard plans to appeal Wednesday's verdict.

No additional details on the appeal were provided.

Public relations experts weigh in on Depp's career post-verdict

Less than an hour after Depp won his defamation case against Heard on Wednesday, he said in a statement that he felt like the “jury gave me my life back.”

But will the jury’s decision help him get his Hollywood career back? In the minds of some public relations experts, that remains to been seen.

In interviews with NBC News on Wednesday, three PR and crisis communications professionals said they felt confident that Depp could get his big-screen acting career back on track. Two other experts expressed more skepticism, pointing out that Depp’s stature in the entertainment industry was diminished even before the trial started and observing that a wide swath of the moviegoing public will continue to believe that Depp subjected Heard to physical abuse over years, regardless of the jury’s ruling.

Howard Breuer, chief executive of Newsroom Public Relations, a firm based in Los Angeles, said he thinks people in the industry will approach working with Depp again with caution.

“I’m sure there will be some factions in Hollywood who will be cautious as long as they know there are people out there who think Amber Heard was telling the truth,” Breuer said. “They’re going to be careful.”

Read more in NBC's story here.

Judge reduces Depp's award

Adam Reiss

Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages the jury awarded Depp to $350,000, which is the state’s statutory cap, or legal limit, making his total damages $10.4 million.

Johnny Depp: 'The jury gave me my life back'

In a statement, Depp celebrated his victory in his defamation lawsuit against Heard:

"Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed.

All in the blink of an eye.

False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career.

And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.

My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought.

From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that.

I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world. I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up. I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media.

I wish to acknowledge the noble work of the Judge, the jurors, the court staff and the Sheriffs who have sacrificed their own time to get to this point, and to my diligent and unwavering legal team who did an extraordinary job in helping me to share the truth.

The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally begun.

Veritas numquam perit.

Truth never perishes."

Social media celebrates Depp's victory, but some express concern

Many on social media who have followed the Depp-Heard case closely were jubilant after the verdict was read on Wednesday afternoon, calling the decision the "best possible outcome" on platforms like Reddit.

"Overcome with emotions at the moment! He did it! So proud of him! It has been an honor to fight for truth & justice the past 6 years. Finally, he has received justice!!" one person wrote on Twitter.

On Reddit, some celebrated saying justice is "alive and well."

On TikTok, the celebration continued, with one user posting a video of herself crying with happiness with the text, "He actually won." The comment section also celebrated the victory, with some writing "I'm so proud" and "Justice was served." Within 15 minutes the video had amassed nearly 25,000 views.

But not all social media users celebrated the decision, with some expressing concern about what this could mean for future domestic violence survivors.

"[T]his case set a horrible precedent for the way victims of abuse will be treated by the court of public opinion in the future," one person wrote.

Amber Heard reacts to verdict: 'I'm heartbroken'

Heard released a statement Wednesday afternoon reacting to the jury siding with Depp:

“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. 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.

I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously. 

I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK.

I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American — to speak freely and openly.”

Jurors award $2 million to Amber Heard

The seven-person jury also awarded $2 million in compensatory damages to Heard, but $0 in punitive damages.

Jury awards $15 million to Johnny Depp

The jury has awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages in his defamation suit against Heard.

Depp wins defamation suit against ex-wife Heard

A Northern Virginia jury sided with Johnny Depp on Wednesday afternoon, finding that former wife Amber Heard defamed him with allegations that he had committed domestic violence.

Depp sued for $50 million in damages over a 2018 opinion-editorial essay in The Washington Post, in which Heard said she had become a “public figure representing domestic abuse.”

Although the essay never mentioned Depp by name, his attorneys said it indirectly referred to allegations she made against him during their 2016 divorce.

Verdict delayed as verdict form didn't include damages

Judge Penney Azcarate sent jurors back to the deliberation room on Wednesday, delaying the verdict reading, which was scheduled for 3 p.m.

It wasn’t immediately clear if jurors forgot to fill out all their paperwork or if the panel still has to deliberate damages for one side or another.

Jurors deliberated for 13 hours

Adam Reiss

The seven-person panel deliberated for approximately 13 hours. They began on Friday afternoon, deliberated all day Tuesday and it was announced around 1:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday that they had reached a verdict.

With no appearance by Depp, fans dissipate

Adam Reiss

Adam Reiss and David K. Li

The throngs of Depp fans who had been flooding the Northern Virginia courthouse during this trial were nowhere to be found Wednesday.

Depp's fans had been regularly lining up at 1 a.m. for seats to the trial or to cheer Depp as he arrived every day.

But once word spread over the weekend that Depp had gone to the United Kingdom, fans who had lined the street and screamed as his SUV arrived and departed each day appeared to have stayed home.

Depp's camp said the actor would be keeping up with court action from the U.K. on Wednesday afternoon.

Heard's team rips Depp for skipping verdict

A rep for Heard tore into Depp for being out of the country on Wednesday afternoon, saying he took "his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour.”

Depp is in the United Kingdom on a previously scheduled work trip, his team said, and won't be in Northern Virginia when the verdict in his civil suit against Heard is announced at 3 p.m. EDT.

“Your presence shows where your priorities are," according to a statement from Heard's camp. "Johnny Depp plays guitar in the UK while Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia. Depp is taking his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour.”

Depp was on stage in Sheffield on Sunday, playing for guitarist Jeff Beck's tour.

Social media users await verdict news

On social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok, users, many of whom have closely followed the trial, expressed eagerness over the verdict being reached.

An overwhelming number of posts appear to support Johnny Depp, which has been the ongoing tone of posts from people tuning in throughout the trial. Just before 2 p.m. ET, the hashtag "#JusticeForJohnnyDepp" began to trend with more than 40,000 tweets.

"Verdict is in. Whatever happens JD has won in the court of public opinion and that was the most important thing to him," one person wrote.

Another person said they "applaud the strength and courage" Depp showed during the trial. "Someone who survived abuse and didn’t allow his name to be tarnished by lies," the user wrote.

On TikTok, one video gained more than 60,000 views in approximately 30 minutes. It showed the TikTok user covering her mouth with the text "I'M SO NERVOUS" written below.

Depp will not be in attendance

Depp, who brought this defamation lawsuit against his former wife, will not be in court when the verdict is read on Wednesday afternoon.

He had a previously scheduled work commitment and can't be in the Fairfax, Virginia, courtroom when jurors are set to reveal their verdict at 3 p.m. EDT, sources close to the actor said.

He'll instead monitor court action from the United Kingdom, where he was spotted over the weekend.

The actor gave a surprise musical performance at a concert Sunday night at the Sheffield City Hall, about 40 miles southeast of Manchester, for guitarist Jeff Beck’s European tour.

In a video shared on social media, Depp could be seen playing the guitar and singing a rendition of John Lennon’s classic “Isolation” that he and Beck released as their first single together in April 2020.

Verdict reached

Adam Reiss

The jury reached a verdict, and it is set to be read in about 90 minutes. Attorneys for both parties are gathering for the reading.

Wednesday marked the third day of deliberations.