Denise Lavoie, The Associated Press
Posted Thursday, June 2, 2022 11:28 a.m. EDT
Last updated Thursday, June 2, 2022 4:47 PM EDT
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Amber Heard was “demonized” by ex-husband Johnny Depp’s legal team and excoriated on social media in a sensational libel trial that ended with a jury on her ordering to pay Depp $15 million, Heard’s attorney said Thursday.
Elaine Bredehoft, one of Heard’s lead lawyers during the trial, said she believed the jury had been swayed by a relentless barrage of social media posts condemning her and supporting Depp. She said Heard planned to appeal.
“These people were threatening her with death. They threatened to microwave her baby. That’s the kind of social media she was getting,” Bredehoft said on “CBS Mornings.”
“It was like a Roman coliseum, that’s the best way to describe the atmosphere here. And I have to believe the jury, even if they’re told not to watch anything, you know, they have weekends, they have families, they have social media,” she said.
Bredehoft also said some evidence that was allowed in a similar defamation lawsuit Depp lost in the UK was suppressed in the lawsuit he filed in Virginia. In the UK case, the judge found that Depp assaulted Heard on a dozen occasions.
“We weren’t allowed to tell the jury,” Bredehoft said on NBC’s “Today” show. “So what did Depp’s team learn from this? Demonize Amber. And suppress the evidence.
Wednesday’s verdict from the Fairfax County Circuit Court found Depp had been libeled by three statements in a 2018 op-ed written by Heard in which she said she had been abused. The jury awarded him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, but the judge reduced the amount of punitive damages to $350,000 under a state cap.
Depp’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, said Wednesday that the verdict “confirms what we have said all along, which is that the allegations against Johnny Depp are defamatory and unsupported by any evidence.”
When asked on “Today” if Heard had the money to pay the $10.35 million, Bredehoft replied, “Oh, no, absolutely not.”
The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in its countersuit, finding she was defamed by a Depp lawyer who accused her of creating a detailed hoax surrounding the abuse allegations.
The case captivated viewers who watched TV coverage from hammer to hammer, including avid followers on social media who dissected the actors’ mannerisms, clothing choices and drinking and drinking. drugs.
While the case was ostensibly about defamation, most of the testimony focused on whether Heard had been physically and sexually abused, as she claimed. Heard listed more than a dozen alleged assaults, including a fight in Australia – where Depp was filming a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ sequel – in which Depp lost the tip of her middle finger and Heard said she had been sexually assaulted with a bottle of alcohol.
Depp said he never hit Heard and she was the abuser, although Heard’s lawyers uncovered years-old text messages Depp sent apologizing to Heard for his behavior as well as profane texts he sent to a friend in which Depp said he wanted to kill Heard and defile his corpse.
Both performers emerge with unclear perspectives. Three-time Best Actor Oscar nominee Depp was a bankable star until recent years, notably starring as Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies. However, he lost that role and was replaced in a “Fantastic Beasts” spin-off.
Heard’s acting career has been more modest, and her only two upcoming roles are in a small movie and the upcoming sequel “Aquaman” which will be released next year.
New York family law attorney Brett Ward said Depp made himself a more credible witness by admitting to his drug and alcohol use and that he can be a difficult person. But he said Depp also runs the risk of making those moments more memorable to audiences than his film work.
“He says he did this for his children. After watching the whole trial, I don’t think he did his kids a favor by airing out all that dirty laundry,” Ward said.