Johnny Depp, Amber Heard trial might award massive verdict to winner, specialists say

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Authorized specialists have weighed in on the explosive court docket showdown between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard – and are predicting a really shocking consequence.

Jurors at Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s bombshell defamation trial might come again with an enormous money verdict for the successful facet — even when the celebrities don’t come off as sympathetic, authorized specialists informed The Put up.

The seven jurors have been listening to concerning the warring Hollywood pair’s issues for 5 weeks, and been informed about their massive film paydays and jetsetting life-style, together with to Depp’s non-public island within the Bahamas.

“Ordinarily individuals take a look at these two and suppose there are extra sympathetic characters to fret about than Johnny Depp’s ex-wife,” mentioned Virginia defamation lawyer Jeremiah Denton.

Nonetheless, that may not cease the jury from awarding a big sum in damages, Denton and different specialists mentioned.

Heard is being sued by Depp for $US50 million ($A67m) for implying he abused her in a 2018 Washington Put up op-ed. Though she didn’t title him, he claims her allegations are false and value him profitable film roles.

Heard has countersued, asking for $US100 million ($A134m) and claiming she suffered “rampant bodily violence and abuse” at his palms.

“They could possibly be actually unsympathetic however they may come again and say it’s mathematically possible that I’ve misplaced at the least (US) $25 million in future revenue,” Denton mentioned. “Properly then, it’s form of hard to show your again on that.”

Depp, 58, had forensic accountant Michael Spindler testify on the Fairfax, Virginia, trial that he misplaced $US40 million in revenue following Heard’s Washington Put up piece.

His expertise manager Jack Whigham additionally took the stand, saying Heard’s essay sank a $US22.5 million take care of Disney to proceed Depp’s position as Captain Jack Sparrow within the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Heard hasn’t but known as a witness to debate her alleged monetary losses from her claims that Depp and his lawyer defamed her when they denied her abuse allegations. On Thursday, although, Heard’s expertise agent Jessica Kovacevic testified that Heard’s profession prospects tanked after the claims that she was mendacity.

Even when Depp or Heard proves they have been defamed, in addition they should show that the defamatory statements induced monetary losses totalling $50 million ($A67m) and $100 million ($A134m), respectively.

Texas civil lawyer Katherine Lizardo agreed that listening to about celeb lives might make jurors much less sympathetic, however famous that jurors could also be invested within the bigger points at play within the case together with perjury, defamation and home violence.

“Peculiar individuals basically is likely to be much less sympathetic each time the events are wealthy or have extra money than them,” Lizardo informed The Put up. “However I believe on this scenario, there’s a probability that the jury would possibly take into account awarding damages to whoever wins their defamation declare due to the massive points right here.”

The lawyer mentioned the jury would possibly wish to ship a “message” to whoever would lose within the case.

“The jury would possibly say that one in every of them dedicated precise malice … that they’ll say, ‘You could have severely broken the fame of the opposite and now you will have made us sit right here and hearken to all of this for the previous six weeks’ and so they is likely to be upset in that approach,” Lizardo mentioned.

“I believe the jury may be very a lot invested on this,” she added. “If they will get upset, I believe now it’s not concerning the cash anymore, it’s concerning the precept for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.”

Denton, the Virginia lawyer, famous that however, the jurors may not wish to award a big sum to apparently already rich actors.

“As a result of they’re privileged actors who’ve a life the place they have no idea what monetary need is, a jury might say, ‘What on this planet are they in right here losing their time for?’ and award one in every of them a greenback,” Denton mentioned, noting that he knew of at the least one Virginia case the place a jury awarded the measly sum to ship a message.

On Thursday, on the fifth week of trial, jurors heard Depp’s former enterprise accomplice Joel Mandel testify about how the actor spent $US10,000 ($A14,000) a day on a safety guard and employed docs and nurses to assist him keep sober — to the tune of $US100,000 ($A142,000) a month.

Throughout Mandel’s testimony, Ian Runkle — a Canadian lawyer with no connection to the case who’s observing the trial whereas he’s in Virginia for work — mentioned he noticed “a few of [the jurors] writing and a few expressions on the massive greenback quantities of mega-celeb life.”

Runkle mentioned jurors have been “very poker-faced” however famous that they appear to “lean in [Depp’s] route.” And he mentioned they appeared “checked out” by the top of Heard’s direct.

Denton defined that whichever facet loses is prone to attraction. However even when the award may be very excessive in comparison with prior defamation jury awards in Virginia, a court docket should still uphold the determine due to their massive incomes.

“As a result of these individuals have been such excessive revenue turbines, it is extremely doable {that a} very excessive award within the tens of tens of millions of {dollars} could possibly be upheld,” Denton informed The Put up.

He additionally defined that this case couldn’t precisely be in comparison with prior defamation cases and jury verdicts in Virginia.

“The court docket has really been fairly express about saying you possibly can’t examine one defamation verdict to a different as a result of the shifting components are so completely different, the elements are so completely different,” Denton mentioned. “We in all probability don’t have one other defamation case in our books — in Virginia at the least — involving a well-known film star who makes many tens of millions a 12 months. That makes an enormous distinction.”

Reps for Depp and Heard declined to remark.

This text initially appeared within the New York Put up and was reproduced with permission.

Initially revealed as Jurors in Depp-Heard trial might award massive verdict to winner, specialists say

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