Legal experts attempted to explain the finding in the defamation cases between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Depp started the legal efforts when he sued Heard for her allegations. In response to his allegations, she then countersued.
The jury found for Depp in each charge, but on Heard's allegations, the court found that attacks by Depp's spokesperson in the DailyMail were defamatory to Heard. Those allegations against Depp weren't addressed in the trial by the Depp team.
\u201cthese are the respective allegedly defamatory statements the jury decided on. Heard's statements left (describing experience of enduring abuse), Depp's to the right (attacking Heard explicitly)\n\nThe judgment for this, if sustained, nets over $8 million to Depp\u201d— \u05e7\u05e9\u05ea A* (@\u05e7\u05e9\u05ea A*) 1654112669
What was most notable is that defamation is notoriously difficult to prove by those considered to be public officials. Actual malice is a heavy standard to meet, as some analysts pointed out. The fact that the jury believed Depp met that standard was significant.
\u201cNOTE: Defamation is an intentional tort and cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.\n\nAlso, the finding of actual malice is a big deal. It\u2019s a very high standard to be met by a plaintiff/counterclaim-plaintiff.\u201d— Katie S. Phang (@Katie S. Phang) 1654110185
\u201ctotal: Heard ordered to pay $10M for compensatory for all 3 statements alleged. They had to show actual malice b/c Depp a public figure, so very rare. Heard's team says she is "heartbroken," says it's a setback for all women.\u201d— Harry Litman (@Harry Litman) 1654112054
\u201cWow interesting- jury really splitting the liability finding - Depp liable now also at least one one count.\u201d— Shanlon Wu (@Shanlon Wu) 1654110761
In wake of the verdict, conservatives oddly flocked to social media to proclaim the end of the "Me Too" era. The House Republican Judiciary Committee even came out in support of Depp posting a gif of him. Meghan McCain somehow blamed the ACLU, which wasn't involved in the civil suit between the two parties.
\u201cGOP comes out in favor of someone just found liable for $2 million in defamation claim.\u201d— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss) 1654112401
You can see other comments from legal analysts below:
\u201cOverall, I think this is the court result Depp wanted. I imagine Heard is really crushed by this outcome. Yes, I do still think it was a folly to bring this case, and there will be plenty of good issues on appeal if it gets that far. But this is certainly a good day for Depp.\u201d— Eriq Gardner (@Eriq Gardner) 1654110965
\u201cShorter finding from the jury: You both are terrible people, but Amber you defamed him more.\u201d— Bradley P. Moss (@Bradley P. Moss) 1654111758
\u201cIt\u2019s a civil case. There are no findings of \u201cguilt,\u201d notwithstanding the tweets of this lecturer.\u201d— Preet Bharara (@Preet Bharara) 1654110822