The jury examining Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's multi-million dollar lawsuit has yet to reach a verdict. The trial revealed startling details about the former couple's rocky marriage and could end in several outcomes.
The jury deliberated on Tuesday, where they asked Judge Penney Azcarate whether they should consider their decision on Heard's entire opinion piece or just the essay's headline.
Heard's opinion piece read, "spoke up against sexual violence - and faced our culture's wrath." Azcarate advised the jurors to deliberate only the headline of the opinion piece. The jury will resume their discussion on Wednesday.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp attend the "Black Mass" premiere during the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival at The Elgin on September 14, 2015, in Toronto, Canada. | Source: Getty Images
WHAT IS THE TRIAL ABOUT?
The "Pirates of the Caribbean" actor and Heard have spent weeks detailing their turbulent marriage in their high-profile defamation trial before the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia.
Depp sued Heard for $50 million, claiming that her opinion piece in the Washington Post published in December 2018 defamed him. He argued that the opinion article damaged his reputation and career.
In the opinion piece, which did not mention Depp's name, Heard characterized herself as "a public figure symbolizing domestic abuse" in the essay.
Meanwhile, Depp's lawyers believed that Heard based the article on the 58-year-old actor because she publicly accused him of domestic abuse during their 2016 divorce proceedings.
Heard's lawyers denied the claims and stated that Heard's essay discussed public policy on domestic abuse. In addition to their claims, Heard's lawyers said that Depp abused the actress.
In a shocking turn of events, the 36-year-old "Aquaman" actress countersued Depp for $100 million, asserting that Depp's former lawyer slandered her by calling her allegations a "hoax."
Johnny Depp sits in the courtroom at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, for his defamation trial on April 26, 2022. | Source: Getty Images
Following the competing cases from Depp and Heard, the jury must decide if Heard's two passages and the headline from the actress's opinion essay are defamatory.
Because Depp is a prominent figure, Heard may only be found guilty of libel if the seven-member jury believes she acted with "actual malice."
Amber Heard testifies at Fairfax County Circuit Court during a defamation case against Johnny Depp in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 4, 2022. | Source: Getty Images
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE VERDICTS OF THE TRIAL
Depp and Heard's lawsuit is a civil trial, and neither of them can go to jail if they lose the case. It's unclear how long the jury will deliberate; however, there could be possible results once the jury reaches a decision.
The jury could rule in Depp's favor entirely, awarding him the $50 million he sought in his lawsuit. If the panel favored Heard, Depp would pay $100 million in damages to his ex-wife.
Amber Heard attends the GQ Men Of The Year Awards at The Star on November 15, 2017, in Sydney, Australia. | Source: Getty Images
If the court favors Depp's side, and Heard will not be able to pay the amount he asked for, the former couple could negotiate the payment. A similar process could happen to Heard.
Another possible result of the trial is that the jury could rule that both parties slandered each other, or that none of them defamed one another.
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard attend the UK Premiere of "Mortdecai" at Empire Leicester Square on January 19, 2015, in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
WHEN WILL THE VERDICT BE OUT?
The jury has heard lengthy testimonies and has seen several pieces of evidence from both parties over six weeks. They had been deliberating for two days without results.
According to Azcarate, if the jury cannot reach a unanimous conclusion, the court may declare Depp and Heard's defamation case a mistrial.
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