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Amber Heard’s Lawyer Claims Social Media had an Effect on the Case

After a six-week defamation trial, the jury found in favor of Johnny Depp. The trial centered around an op-ed his ex-wife Amber Heard wrote in the Washington Post, where she declared herself a “public figure representing domestic abuse”. He sued her for defamation that harmed his career, claiming she was the one who had abused him. She countersued him for $100 million, saying he was running a smear campaign against her. But in the end, the jury found his defamation claim to be true and awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, which was then reduced to $10.35 million total. However, according to Amber Heard’s lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, the story isn’t over. 

“I am so sorry to all those women out there

Appearing on NBC’s “TODAY” show a day after the suit, Bredehoft said the jurors’ decision was affected by social media although they were told not to look online. “They went home every night. They have families. The families are on social media. We had a 10-day break in the middle because of the judicial conference. There’s no way they couldn’t have been influenced by it,” she said.

She said the social media coverage on the case was “horrible” as an overwhelming amount of posts on Twitter and TikTok seemed to support Depp. “It’s like the Roman Colosseum, you know? How they viewed this whole case. I was against cameras in the courtroom and I went on record with that and argued against it because of the sensitive nature of this. But it made it a zoo,” Bredehoft said.

She went on, explaining Heard’s reaction to the jury’s decision. “One of the first things she said is, ‘I am so sorry to all those women out there. This is a setback for all women in and outside the courtroom,’” Bredehoft said. “She feels the burden of that.” 

In this vein, Bredehoft said the verdict sends “a horrible message” to women suffering from domestic violence. “Unless you pull out your phone and you video your spouse or your significant other beating you, effectively you won’t be believed.

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There was so much evidence that did not come in”

Although the jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages to $350,000, the state’s statutory cap or legal limit. When asked if her clients could pay the $10.35 million to Depp, Bredehoft said, “Oh no, absolutely not.” The jury also found that Depp had defamed Heard on one account, awarding Heard $2 million in compensatory damages but no punitive damages. This regarded one of three statements Depp’s former attorney Adam Waldman said in 2020 to the Daily Mail when he called Heard’s abuse allegations a hoax. [1]

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However, Bredehoft added that Heard plans to appeal. Bredehoft claimed, “She has some excellent grounds for it,” adding “there was so much evidence that did not come in” referring to Depp’ lost libel case against British tabloid newspaper The Sun when it called him a “wife-beater”. Other alleged suppressed evidence includes Heard’s “very significant” medical records, which displayed a pattern going all the way back to 2012 of Amber reporting this to her therapist”. Plus, she claimed Depp’s legal team managed to bring in “a number of things… that should not have been allowed, and it caused the jury to be confused.[2]

Bredehoft called this “a tale of two trials” overall. “Johnny Depp brought a suit in the U.K. for the same case and the burden of proof was easier for him there,” she said. “The court found there — and we weren’t allowed to tell the jury this — that Mr. Depp had committed at least 12 acts of domestic violence, including sexual violence, against Amber. So what did Depp’s team learn from this? Demonize Amber and suppress the evidence,” she said. “We had an enormous amount of evidence that was suppressed in this case that was in the U.K. case. And in the U.K. case, when it came in, Amber won. Mr. Depp lost.

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Depp and Heard Respond to the Verdict

Johnny Depp was not present at the verdict but he wrote a response on Instagram where he thanked his supporters. “…False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me,” he continued. “It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career. And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled...” He concluded with an acknowledgement of “the noble work of the Judge, the jurors, the court staff and the Sheriffs who have sacrificed their own time to get to this point, and to my diligent and unwavering legal team who did an extraordinary job in helping me to share the truth.”

Amber also wrote a response on Instagram. “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” she wrote. “I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband. I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously…”

Keep Reading: Opinion: Why do people take so much pleasure in attacking Amber Heard?

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  1. “Amber Heard’s lawyer says ‘lopsided’ social media frenzy influenced jury, actor can’t pay over $10M in damages.NBC News. Marlene Lenthang. June 7, 2022
  2. “Amber Heard’s Lawyer Says Actress Was ‘Demonized’ During Trial, Cites ‘Lopsided’ Social Media.Rolling Stone. Daniel Kreps. June 2, 2022
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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