Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard trial: Jury to resume deliberations on duel actors’ claims

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Jurors considering opposing lawsuits brought by Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are due to meet on Tuesday to continue to deliberate on whether either actor has been defamed and deserves millions of dollars in damages. According to the Reuters report, Depp, the 58-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star, sued his ex-wife Heard in Virginia for $50 million and claimed she defamed him when she was called a “public figure representing domestic violence” in a newspaper opinion piece. Heard, 36, has filed a countersuit for $100 million, claiming Depp smeared him when his lawyer called his accusations a “hoax”.

The seven-person jury deliberated for about two hours on Friday before adjourning for the US Memorial Day holiday weekend. Depp denied hitting Heard or a woman and said it was she who became violent in their relationship. At the center of the court case is Heard’s December 2018 opinion piece in The Washington Post, in which she made the statement about domestic violence. The article did not mention Depp by name, but his attorney told jurors it was clear Heard was referring to him. Heard’s lawyers argued that she had told the truth and that her comments were covered by freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

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Depp and Heard met in 2011 while filming The Rum Diary and their wedding took place in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized about two years later. During six weeks of proceedings, jurors listened to recordings of the couple’s fights and saw graphic photos of Depp’s bloody finger. He said the top of the finger was cut off when Heard threw a bottle of vodka at him in 2015. Heard denied hurting Depp’s finger and said Depp sexually assaulted her that night with a bottle of vodka. ‘alcohol. She said she only hit him to defend herself or her sister. The testimony was widely streamed live on social media, drawing large audiences to hear details about the couple’s troubled relationship.

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Once among Hollywood’s biggest stars, Depp said Heard’s allegations cost him “everything”. A new Pirates movie has been put on hold, and Depp has been replaced in the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise, a Harry Potter spin-off. Depp lost a libel case less than two years ago against the Sun, a British tabloid which called him a “wife beater”. A High Court judge in London ruled that he assaulted Heard on several occasions. Depp’s attorneys filed the US case in Fairfax County, Va., because The Washington Post is printed there. The newspaper is not accused.

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