For weeks people were glued to the defamation lawsuit involving Johnny Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard. The verdict announced Wednesday showed a clear victory for Depp.
A jury awarded the actor more than $10 million, vindicating his allegations that Heard lied about Depp abusing her before and during their brief marriage.
“The court of public opinion certainly got this one right,” explained attorney Alison Triessl. “Everybody in the world was basically Team Johnny.”
But in a split decision, the jury also found that Heard was defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included roughing up the couple’s apartment to look worse for police. The jury awarded her $2 million.
Triessl, like many legal experts and millions of others, watched the trial very closely.
“Everybody in the world thought Johnny Depp should win in this case, and boy did he,” she said.
The legal expert said at the end of the day, it all came down to the major question: “Who do you believe?”
“In a verdict like this we can certainly say, despite Johnny Depp’s warts, his drug addiction, his alcohol abuse, his very very foul language- they believed him,” she explained. “They believe he did not physically or sexually abuse Amber Heard.”
Triessl also pointed out that the jury just simply didn’t believe Heard.
She pointed out a couple of “gotcha moments” like the discrepancy over the $3.5 million donated to the ACLU and the “leak to TMZ”. That leak in question was the presence of TMZ cameras at the courthouse when Heard filed a restraining order against Depp back in 2016. Those cameras captured a large bruise on Heard’s face. Triessl pointed out that the restraining order was filed without the knowledge of Depp’s legal team.
“There’s a jury instruction if you think a witness is lying about one thing you can disregard their testimony in its entirety,” she said.
When it came to who had a better legal team, Triessl said that Depp’s team had some “great lawyering.” She called Depp’s lawyer, Camille Vasquez’s, cross-examination of Heard “textbook”.
“Amber’s team had trouble getting evidence in,” Triessl explained. “What really hurt them, in the end, was that they did such a bad job on figuring out the time they needed for the closing argument that when it came to their rebuttal, they only had six minutes. That hurt them. “
Heard’s legal team is now reportedly planning to appeal the decision claiming that jury was influenced by outside sources. However, Triessl doesn’t think it’s likely to happen.
“The judge very clearly stated to them, ‘Do not watch TV. Do not look at any outside influences,'” Triessl explained. “So unless she has proof that they actually did, that’s a very bold assertion.”
“This was a very clean trial, this judge listened to both sides. Both sides got input on jury instructions. there were very few objections,” she continued. “I don’t think there’s much there to appeal. Unless a juror comes forward and said ‘yes, it influenced me I watched it,” I don’t think she has grounds to appeal.”
Married just 15 months, Depp sued Heard for libel in Fairfax County Circuit Court over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” His lawyers said he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned his name.