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Friday, February 3, 2023

Judge makes jury’s $10.3m award official in Depp-Heard trial

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The judge in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial made a jury’s award official on Friday, with a written order for Heard to pay Depp $10.35 million (€9.8 million) for damaging his reputation by describing herself as a domestic abuse victim in an opinion piece she wrote.

Judge Penney Azcarate entered a judgment order into the court record after a brief hearing in Fairfax County Circuit Court, Virginia.

She also ordered Depp to pay Heard $2 million, the jury’s award on her counterclaim that Heard was defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers.

The order was a formality after the jury announced its verdict on June 1st, largely siding with Depp after a sensational trial in which the couple revealed lurid details of their short marriage during a televised trial that was closely followed on social media.

Depp sued Heard over a December 2018 piece she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

The jury found in Depp’s favour on all three of his claims relating to specific statements in the 2018 piece.

The jury found Depp should receive $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, but the judge reduced the punitive damages award to $350,000 under a state cap.

Heard has said she plans to appeal against the verdict.

During Friday’s hearing, the judge said that if Heard appeals, she must post a bond for the full amount of the $10.35 million award while the appeal is pending – a common practice.

The judge’s order says both awards are subject to 6 per cent interest per year.

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