Thursday, May 12, 2022

The outcome of Johnny Depp’s Amber Heard trial will have a “deterrent effect” on abuse victims, experts say

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There’s a chance the jury will be unconvinced by either side and determine that neither Depp nor Heard should be awarded damages, experts say

As Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s defamation trial takes a week-long hiatus, people are wondering what the end result will be. The outcome of this case rests in the hands of a Virginia panel of seven judges who will decide whether the 58-year-old actor or 36-year-old actress wins.

“The jury will determine damages for both the claim and the counterclaim. If the jury finds that Amber was liable to Mr. Depp it would make a finding of damages, if it found that Mr. Depp was liable to Amber’s counterclaim it would make a finding of damages,” a source told the New York Post.

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Depp filed a $50 million defamation lawsuit against his former wife Heard, claiming she harmed his reputation and career when she claimed in The Washington Post that she was a victim of domestic violence. Although Heard didn’t name Depp in the article, the actor’s lawsuit states, “The comment rested on the central premise that Ms. Heard was a victim of domestic violence and that Mr. Depp committed domestic violence against her.” Heard subsequently filed a $100 million countersuit, alleging that Depp and his legal team defamed her by calling her allegations a hoax.

The trial, being held at the Fairfax County Courthouse, is now in its fourth week. After the one-week break, it is currently said that the process should be resumed. Closing arguments are set for May 27, after which the jury will begin to consider the fate of the former couple. A source close to Heard’s team suggests the jury could be unconvinced on either side, stating that neither Depp nor Heard should be awarded damages.

“The jury will decide on damages and yes, it is possible that no damages will be awarded,” said a spokesman for Depp. If the jury does not find that Heard should be on the hook in Depp’s case, it would be entitled to recover the cost of her legal fees from Depp. The amount will be determined later by a judge, a source said.

Experts noted that if the jury finds the couple abused each other, that means Heard’s comment may have been a true account or that she was “deceptive” and only told half the truth. Heard and Depp’s “mutually abusive” relationship was a divisive analysis previously reported by Dr. Laurel Anderson, Heard and Depp’s former couples therapist, in a pre-recorded statement. Jill Huntley Taylor, a legal analyst and CEO of Taylor Trial, spoke to EW and explained that in order to prevail in court, Depp needs to prove that Heard’s comment was intentional.

However, Halim Dhanidina, a former California judge and current criminal defense attorney. complained about the celebrity trial, saying: “Every time a defamation lawsuit succeeds, it has a chilling effect on language. It has always been a deterrent for victims to come forward and speak out against any institution, organization or person with power. They feel their world might collapse on them.”

If the hypothetical win results in a substantial monetary judgment being awarded to Depp, Dhanidia told the New York Post, “Then I’m sure there are people out there who would think twice about making statements if those statements.” expose them to legal liability. We don’t want to create a world where people feel like they can say whatever they want, even if they know it’s not true. A verdict will have a deterrent effect in one way or another, no matter what the verdict is.

Even Taylor says, “No matter who wins, there really are no winners. This is a case of a toxic relationship and nobody gets away scot-free, regardless of money changing hands.” What needs to be noted, however, is that the ‘Aquaman’ actress doesn’t risk jail time as she doesn’t face criminal charges, only civil claims.

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