After about three days of deliberation, the jury came out Wednesday with a verdict in the case of Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard. On the heels of each side’s powerful closing statements, there has been much speculation as to whether Johnny will win, how much will the jury award them, and even how long it will take for the verdict to come out.
The jury determined that Amber defamed Johnny in three distinct statements in The Washington Post article and that Johnny defamed Amber in one statement made via his counsel Adam Waldman. Johnny was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive penalties by the jury. Amber was given $2 million in compensatory damages but no punitive damages.
Johnny Depp’s lawyers Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez after the verdict. Photo Credit: CNN Entertainment
I was actually surprised that the verdict came immediately. Some people though said it should have been quicker since it should be obvious who’s telling the truth. But I just thought there are so many things to consider, from the evidence to the questions they have to answer. I also imagined they were a diverse group of people who may have opinions different from each other. Apparently, they all came to a unanimous decision a lot easier.
Amber voiced her disappointment over the decision, more so with what this means for other women. This was also echoed by her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft in a Today interview. In my opinion, this just throws more credibility to what Camille Vasquez said in her closing argument — that the story of abuse is not Ms. Heard’s story. At a time when this verdict should have felt like a personal loss, it was still spun to be something generic (though a valid concern): something bad for victims of abuse.
So, what’s next?
And so we all move forward. Yes, that includes us who by now have gotten used to adjusting our schedule around the trial or catching up when a live viewing is not possible.
About 6 years ago, Amber filed for a temporary restraining order against Johnny. About a year after that, they got divorced and the op-ed was written another year after. And verdict will continue to affect how their life stories play out.
I imagine Johnny will be more in demand than ever now as an actor. Meanwhile, journalist and political commentator Megyn Kelly says Amber is now a walking red flag in Hollywood and is basically “unemployable”.
But then again some people who have been through more, and who’ve caused far more damage (or maybe a different scale or type of damage) have somehow found themselves a way around, given time. Think of Anna Delvey, Sarma Melngailis (aka the Bad Vegan), Simon Leviev (aka the Tinder Swindler) or even these guys from Enron. Now I’m not saying they are comparable from the standpoint of their victims, I’m just saying things probably seemed pretty darn bleak for them at one point, but they’re still here and probably doing their own thing.
And so I wonder where we’ll all be in the next 6 years. This includes the Philippines and the businesses in the country too! I can only hope for a worthy president for the country by then and that we learn our lesson.
For Amber, Johnny, and the people embroiled in all of these, it’s not the end. They will all move forward and live their own lives, just like us. Ultimately, as Camille said, “It’s time to turn the page and look to the future.”