Johnny Depp verdict - live: Jury reaches decision in Amber Heard defamation trial

·31 min read

The jury in the defamation trial opposing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has reached a verdict on the third day of deliberations.

Depp sued Heard for $50m for implying he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Although she didn’t name him, he claims her allegations impacted his ability to work. She is pursuing a $100m counterclaim.

In closing arguments on Friday, Depp’s lawyers asked jurors to “give him his life back” after it was “ruined” by Heard’s domestic abuse allegations. They alleged Heard would rather be in a fight than let the actor leave, called her claims an act of profound cruelty to true survivors, and said that she gave the performance of her life on the stand.

In their closing, Heard’s lawyers said ruling in favour of Depp would make jurors an “accomplice” to his abuse and to his “campaign of global humiliation”, and called out the actor for “laughing” and “snide comments” during closing arguments, adding that he engaged in “victim-blaming at its most disgusting”.

Depp’s team on Tuesday filed a failed motion to strike part of Heard’s closing which asked jurors to consider the “message” that ruling against her would send to other abuse victims.

Key points

Trial by TikTok and the death knell for MeToo

19:50 , Oliver O'Connell

With both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard resting their cases in the multi-million-dollar defamation trial, it now comes down to the jury to decide the verdict. But with Johnny Depp already winning the social media war, does it really matter? Rachel Sharp reports.

A trial by TikTok and the death knell for MeToo. Who won Depp v Heard?

Depp to watch verdict being read from UK

19:41 , Oliver O'Connell

Johnny Depp will watch the verdict being read in his defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard from the UK.

“Due to previously scheduled work commitments made before the trial, Mr Depp will not be physically present for today’s 3pm verdict and will be watching from the United Kingdom,” a source close to Mr Depp told Law & Crime in a statement.

Depp to watch verdict being read from UK in defamation trial against ex-wife Heard

Comment: Johnny Depp is proof that men accused of abuse never suffer the same lifelong consequences as survivors

19:20 , Oliver O'Connell

As the jury deliberates in the Depp v Heard defamation trial, Emmie Harrison-West asks why high-profile men who face allegations have a reserved spot in the limelight.

Johnny Depp proves that men accused of abuse don’t face the consequences survivors do

‘Your presence shows where your priorities are'

19:09 , Oliver O'Connell

Regarding Johnny Depp’s absence from court, a spokesperson for Amber Heard says:

“Your presence shows where your priorities are. Johnny Depp plays guitar in the UK while Amber Heard waits for a verdict in Virginia. Depp is taking his snickering and lack of seriousness on tour.”

Johnny Depp v Amber Heard judge and staff applauded in court

19:02 , Oliver O'Connell

The judge and court staff who sat through six weeks of testimony in the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard received a round of applause as the jury finally began deliberations in the case.

The courtroom in Fairfax County, Virginia, witnessed a rare moment of lightheartedness – and agreement between the legal teams for the former spouses – on Friday (27 May) as they showed their thanks to Judge Penney Azcarate.

Rachel Sharp reports:

Depp v Heard judge applauded as jury sent out to deliberate

Johnny Depp will not be present for the verdict

18:49 , Oliver O'Connell

Johnny Depp will not be present for the reading of the verdict as he is still in the UK.

A source close to Mr Depp said: “Due to previously scheduled work commitments made before the trial, Mr. Depp will not be physically present for today’s 3pm verdict and will be watching from the United Kingdom.”

BREAKING: Jury reaches verdict

18:35 , Oliver O'Connell

The jury has reached a verdict in the defamation trial opposing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

The court in Fairfax, Virginia, issued an alert on Wednesday afternoon announcing the verdict would be read in court at 3pm after roughly 12 hours of deliberation.

Jury reaches verdict in Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation case

Amber Heard’s testimony on Johnny Depp

18:15 , Oliver O'Connell

WARNING: This article contains allegations of physical and sexual violence that some readers may find distressing.

Amber Heard spent several days on the witness stand in the defamation trial brought against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp, telling jurors of the abuse she claims to have suffered at his hands.

She began on 4 May by providing background how they met and they fell in love, before sharing several allegations of physical abuse and sexual assault across three more days on the stand.

Here’s what we learned from Ms Heard’s testimony:

Key moments from Amber Heard’s testimony on Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp’s testimony on Amber Heard

17:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Johnny Depp gave nearly four days of testimony in his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, seeking to convince the jury that he did not abuse her and was in fact a victim of her abuse.

Mr Depp first took the stand on Tuesday 19 April, then kept testifying every day up until the end of Thursday 21 April. Proceedings paused on Friday 22 April, then over the weekend, and picked up again on 25 April with continued testimony from Mr Depp. He then returned to the stand for his rebuttal on 25 May.

Here is what we learned during his time as a witness:

A severed finger and shouting matches: Johnny Depp’s testimony on Amber Heard

17:19 , Oliver O'Connell

Johnny Depp asks jurors to ‘give him his life back’

17:15 , Oliver O'Connell

Johnny Depp’s lawyers pleaded with jurors to “give him his life back” after it was “ruined” by Amber Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse, as closing arguments got underway on Friday (27 May).

Mr Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez told the jury that the evidence had shown Ms Heard was the “abuser” and Mr Depp was the “abused” during their tumultuous relationship, saying that both Mr Depp’s “good name” and his “life” are at stake as they reach their verdict.

Rachel Sharp reports:

Johnny Depp closing argument asks jurors to ‘give him his life back’

Amber Heard lawyer says ruling in favour of Johnny Depp would make jurors into ‘accomplice’

16:45 , Oliver O'Connell

Amber Heard’s attorney told jurors that ruling in favour of Johnny Depp would make them an “accomplice” to his abuse and “campaign of global humiliation”, as the case neared a dramatic close on Friday (27 May).

Attorney Benjamin Rottenborn delivered closing statements to the court in Fairfax, Virginia, where he warned that Mr Depp’s argument that he was not abusive to Ms Heard sends a “message” to survivors of domestic abuse everywhere.

Rachel Sharp reports:

Amber Heard lawyer urges jurors not to be ‘accomplice’ to Johnny Depp’s abuse

Pirates of the Caribbean boat driven past Depp v Heard courthouse

16:15 , Oliver O'Connell

A car decorated as a ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean films drove past the courthouse where a jury was deliberating the verdict in Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against Amber Heard on Tuesday (31 May).

Holly Patrick reports:

Pirates of the Caribbean boat driven past Depp v Heard courthouse as jury deliberates

Why the defamation trial is being held in Virginia

15:45 , Oliver O'Connell

The explosive defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has unfolded well outside their normal Hollywood orbit – at a court in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Mr Depp’s suit against his ex-wife alleges that she defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.

The trial is taking place in Fairfax because the online edition of The Post is published via servers in the county, allowing Mr Depp to sue her in that area.

Gustaf Kilander reports:

Why the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation trial is being held in Virginia

How does the jury work?

15:12 , Oliver O'Connell

A jury of seven people has been assembled for this case.

According to Court TV, the jurors include five men and two women, with two alternate jurors remaining on standby if one of the main pool is dismissed or needs to drop out.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Jamie R. Abrams, a University of Louisville law professor, said of the jurors: “One challenge that they are likely facing is staying focused on the case at hand without allowing all of their own lived experiences and biases to lead them to a snap judgment that is not supported by the testimony.

“The jury instructions are very concrete in helping jurors do that focusing as a legal matter, but this is a real challenge on a human level.”

The unlikely cult celebrities of the trial

14:43 , Oliver O'Connell

Fans of the estranged couple have exhaustively documented the plaintiff and defendant’s every move and mannerism in court, their attorneys’ arguments, the judge’s interventions, and a wealth of colourful witness testimony on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, carving up what might have amounted to dry legal proceedings into a spectator sport.

All of which has raised disapproving eyebrows in some quarters, with concerns expressed that the real issue at the heart of the case, domestic violence, is being lost in what has become a bad taste viral soap opera.

While those criticisms are more than valid, there is no question that the trial has provided an extraordinary spectacle and a cast of unforgettable supporting characters who have found themselves unlikely cult celebrities.

Joe Sommerlad reports:

Unlikely cult celebrities of Johnny Depp v Amber Heard, from lawyers to alpacas

14:00 , Clemence Michallon

Fans speak out

As the trial grew to a close, The Independent’s Rachel Sharp spoke to some of the fans who have traveled to voice their support for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard outside the courthouse throughout the proceedings.

She reports from Fairfax, Virginia:

Who are the Johnny Depp fanatics camping outside the Amber Heard trial?

Amber Heard: Aquaman 2 petition nears 4.5 million signature target

13:30 , Peony Hirwani

A petition to remove Amber Heard from Aquaman 2 has nearly reached its target of 4.5 million signatures, as a jury continues to deliberate on the verdict of Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against her.

More than 4.4 million people had signed the Change.org petition to have Heard cut from the franchise at the time of writing.

Tom Murray reports:

Amber Heard: Aquaman 2 petition nears 4.5 million signature target

13:00 , Clemence Michallon

All the celebrities who have supported Johnny Depp

Over the course of proceedings – and Johnny Depp’s previous legal case against The Sun – a number of prominent celebrities have offered their take on the couple, with Amber Heard receiving public backing from several stars.

Others have also spoken out in support of Mr Depp, including his ex-partners Winona Ryder and Kate Moss, as well as actor Javier Bardem and musician Sia.

Here’s a breakdown by Louis Chilton of some of the biggest names to speak out in favour of Mr Depp, and what they said:

All the celebrities who have supported Johnny Depp

12:00 , Clemence Michallon

All the celebrities who have supported Amber Heard

With closing arguments scheduled for Friday (27 May) before the jury deliberates, which public figures are supporting Heard? Ellie Harrison reports:

All the celebrities who have supported Amber Heard during the defamation trial

11:00 , Clemence Michallon

Amber Heard’s lawyer accuses Johnny Depp of ‘victim blaming at its most disgusting’

Amber Heard’s lawyers have accused Johnny Depp of “victim-blaming at its most disgusting” in closing arguments of the former couple’s defamation trial.

Speaking on behalf of Ms Heard, Benjamin J Rottenborn said: “You saw her on the stand testify with her own mouth exactly what she went through... They want to penalise Ms Heard for not speaking about that earlier?”

Holly Patrick reports:

Amber Heard’s lawyer accuses Depp of ‘victim blaming at its most disgusting’

10:00 , Clemence Michallon

Most dramatic moments in Depp v Heard trial

Over six weeks of testimony, jury heard from string of witnesses including the couple’s friends, psychiatric experts, surgeons, and the actors themselves.

Testimony painted a disturbing portrait of a doomed marriage, laying bare violent fights, drug use, and vicious words to each other.

Here are some of most dramatic moments in the proceedings:

Most explosive moments in the star-studded Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation trial

09:00 , Clemence Michallon

Amber Heard lawyer calls out Johnny Depp for ‘laughing’ and ‘snide comments’

Amber Heard’s lawyer accused Johnny Depp of “laughing and making snide remarks” in court as the jury was shown a video which the actor himself previously said showed him “assaulting cabinets”.

Attorney Ben Rottenborn replayed the video - filmed by Ms Heard in 2016 - during closing arguments in the couple’s defamation trial on Friday.

Mr Rottenborn sought to refute testimony from a former TMZ employee that the video, which shows Mr Depp storming around a kitchen slamming cabinets, was sent to the outlet directly by Ms Heard in an attempt to smear him following their divorce.

Megan Sheets reports:

Amber Heard lawyer calls out Johnny Depp for ‘laughing’ during closing argument

08:00 , Clemence Michallon

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: A timeline of their relationship, allegations, and court battles

Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard in March 2019, alleging a column Heard wrote in The Washington Post about domestic violence was defamatory and asking for $50m in damages. Ms Heard then filed a $100m countersuit.

The proceedings began with jury selection on 11 April 2022 in Fairfax, Virginia. Closing arguments took place on 27 May before jurors were sent out to deliberate.

Here is a timeline of Mr Depp and Ms Heard’s relationship, separation, and court battles, from when they are said to have started dating to the latest trial:

A timeline of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s relationship and court battles

Kate Moss attends Johnny Depp show with Jeff Beck at Royal Albert Hall

07:30 , Peony Hirwani

Johnny Depp performed with Jeff Beck for the second time in London, as he awaits the verdict for his $50m defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.

The 58-year-old actor previously performed with Beck at the Royal Albert Hall on Monday 30 May, and in Sheffield on Sunday 29 May.

Tuesday’s performance was, according to multiple reports, attended by Depp’s ex-partner Kate Moss, six days after she testified to refute a rumour that he pushed her down a set of stairs while they were dating in the early Nineties.

Read more here:

Johnny Depp invites Kate Moss to second Royal Albert Hall show in London

07:00 , Clemence Michallon

Johnny Depp v Amber Heard judge and staff applauded in court

The judge and court staff who sat through six weeks of testimony in the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard received a round of applause as the jury finally began deliberations in the case.

The courtroom in Fairfax County, Virginia, witnessed a rare moment of lightheartedness – and agreement between the legal teams for the former spouses – on Friday (27 May) as they showed their thanks to Judge Penney Azcarate.

Rachel Sharp reports:

Depp v Heard judge applauded as jury sent out to deliberate

06:00 , Clemence Michallon

Amber Heard’s testimony on Johnny Depp

WARNING: This article contains allegations of physical and sexual violence that some readers may find distressing.

Amber Heard spent several days on the witness stand in the defamation trial brought against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp, telling jurors of the abuse she claims to have suffered at his hands.

She began on 4 May by providing background how they met and they fell in love, before sharing several allegations of physical abuse and sexual assault across three more days on the stand.

Here’s what we learned from Ms Heard’s testimony:

Key moments from Amber Heard’s testimony on Johnny Depp

04:30 , Clemence Michallon

Johnny Depp’s testimony on Amber Heard

Johnny Depp gave nearly four days of testimony in his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, seeking to convince the jury that he did not abuse her and was in fact a victim of her abuse.

Mr Depp first took the stand on Tuesday 19 April, then kept testifying every day up until the end of Thursday 21 April. Proceedings paused on Friday 22 April, then over the weekend, and picked up again on 25 April with continued testimony from Mr Depp. He then returned to the stand for his rebuttal on 25 May.

Here is what we learned during his time as a witness:

A severed finger and shouting matches: Johnny Depp’s testimony on Amber Heard

03:30 , Clemence Michallon

Johnny Depp asks jurors to ‘give him his life back’

Johnny Depp’s lawyers pleaded with jurors to “give him his life back” after it was “ruined” by Amber Heard’s allegations of domestic abuse, as closing arguments got under way on Friday (27 May).

Mr Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez told the jury that the evidence had shown Ms Heard was the “abuser” and Mr Depp was the “abused” during their tumultuous relationship, saying that both Mr Depp’s “good name” and his “life” are at stake as they reach their verdict.

Rachel Sharp reports:

Johnny Depp closing argument asks jurors to ‘give him his life back’

02:30 , Clemence Michallon

Amber Heard lawyer says ruling in favour of Johnny Depp would make jurors into ‘accomplice’

Amber Heard’s attorney told jurors that ruling in favour of Johnny Depp would make them an “accomplice” to his abuse and “campaign of global humiliation”, as the case neared a dramatic close on Friday (27 May).

Attorney Benjamin Rottenborn delivered closing statements to the court in Fairfax, Virginia, where he warned that Mr Depp’s argument that he was not abusive to Ms Heard sends a “message” to survivors of domestic abuse everywhere.

Rachel Sharp reports:

Amber Heard lawyer urges jurors not to be ‘accomplice’ to Johnny Depp’s abuse

01:45 , Clemence Michallon

Pirates of the Caribbean boat driven past Depp v Heard courthouse

A car decorated as a ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean films drove past the courthouse where a jury was deliberating the verdict Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against Amber Heard on Tuesday (31 May).

Holly Patrick reports:

Pirates of the Caribbean boat driven past Depp v Heard courthouse as jury deliberates

01:00 , Clemence Michallon

Why the defamation trial is being held in Virginia

The explosive defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has unfolded well outside their normal Hollywood orbit – at a court in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Mr Depp’s suit against his ex-wife alleges that she defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.

The trial is taking place in Fairfax because the online edition of The Post is published via servers in the county, allowing Mr Depp to sue her in that area.

Gustaf Kilander reports:

Why the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation trial is being held in Virginia

Wednesday 1 June 2022 00:15 , Clemence Michallon

The bizarre parasocial fans of the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial

Throughout the past six weeks, the historic trial has attracted worldwide headlines, a frenzy of fans, and memorable viral moments. But what has caught people’s attention more than just the trial’s wild claims are the social media users who have taken the case into their own hands, writes Meredith Clark:

The bizarre parasocial fans of the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard trial

Tuesday 31 May 2022 23:30 , Clemence Michallon

Updates from the courtroom

Jurors broke for lunch earlier on Tuesday 31 May.

According to the Law & Crime network, some movement was seen in the courtroom, but there was no major development over the first half of the day.

Speaking to The Washington Post, Jamie R. Abrams, a University of Louisville law professor, said of the jurors: “One challenge that they are likely facing is staying focused on the case at hand without allowing all of their own lived experiences and biases to lead them to a snap judgment that is not supported by the testimony.

“The jury instructions are very concrete in helping jurors do that focusing as a legal matter, but this is a real challenge on a human level.”

Tuesday 31 May 2022 22:45 , Clemence Michallon

How does the jury work?

A jury of seven people has been assembled for this case.

According to Court TV, the jurors include five men and two women, with two alternate jurors remaining on standby if one of the main pool is dismissed or needs to drop out.

Why does Depp’s team want to strike part of Heard’s closing?

Tuesday 31 May 2022 22:20 , Megan Sheets

Depp’s lawyers raised concern over an “inappropriate argument” in Heard’s closing statement in a filing in Fairfax County District Court on Tuesday as the jury deliberated for a second day in the couple’s defamation case.

They asked a judge to strike the argument from the record, instruct the jury to disregard it and to revise the Special Verdict Form.

The Independent’s Megan Sheets explains:

Johnny Depp asks to strike ‘inappropriate argument’ in Amber Heard closing statement

Tuesday 31 May 2022 22:10 , Clemence Michallon

A trial by TikTok and the death knell for MeToo

With both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard resting their cases in the multi-million-dollar defamation trial, it now comes down to the jury to decide the verdict.

In a case where both former spouses have leveled serious allegations of domestic violence against one other and where tens of millions of dollars are at stake, social media has increasingly hijacked proceedings.

The online obsession spurs a troubling question: Does the verdict really matter?

Rachel Sharp reports:

A trial by TikTok and the death knell for MeToo. Who won Depp v Heard?

Tuesday 31 May 2022 21:40 , Clemence Michallon

What did Amber Heard’s Washington Post op-ed actually say?

The current court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard centres around an opinion piece Heard wrote in 2018 for The Washington Post, titled: “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”

Mr Depp has sued Ms Heard, his ex-wife, for alleged defamation over the article. While Mr Depp was not named, he claims her allegations the piece made it difficult for him to land movie roles.

But what did the article – which remains online at The Washington Post – actually say?

Leonie Cooper reports:

What did Amber Heard’s Washington Post op-ed actually say?

Tuesday 31 May 2022 21:31 , Clemence Michallon

Johnny Depp’s lawyers asks to strike part of Amber Heard’s team’s closing arguments

Johnny Depp’s legal team has asked the court to strike part of Amber Heard’s team’s closing arguments.

The objection was filed on Tuesday (31 May) as the jury kept deliberating.

It describes the statement in question as “inappropriate” and asks for the jury to be instructed to disregard it.

The remarks were made on Friday (27 May), when an attorney for Ms Heard told the jury their decision would send a message to “every victim of domestic abuse everywhere”.

The objection highlights further remarks in which Ms Heard’s attorney said that a ruling against Ms Heard would show that “as an abuse victim, you always have to do more.”

Mr Depp’s legal team is arguing that the remarks “improperly invite the jury to focus on on a larger social objective beyond the [case].”

The document also includes a motion asking for corrections to be made in the verdict form jurors have been instructed to use to present their decision.

A decision by the court has yet to be announced. The memorandum in support of the objection can be viewed here.

Tuesday 31 May 2022 21:10 , Clemence Michallon

Elon Musk weighs in on Johnny Depp trial against Amber Heard

Elon Musk weighed in on the contentious trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, saying that “I hope they both move on. At their best, they are each incredible”.

Closing arguments in the defamation trial between Mr Depp and Ms Heard took place on Friday. The jury will return on Tuesday for deliberations.

Gustaf Kilander and Rachel Sharp report:

Elon Musk weighs in on Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard trial

Tuesday 31 May 2022 20:40 , Clemence Michallon

What happens next in the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation trial?

Johnny Depp, 58, is suing Amber Heard, 35, for $50m (£40m) over an opinion piece she wrote for The Washington Post in December 2018 in which she discussed domestic abuse and experiencing “the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out”.

Although Ms Heard did not name her ex-husband in the article in question, Mr Depp’s legal team argues that readers were likely to assume he was the person responsible for the ordeal she alluded to and have claimed that the piece caused their client to lose out on lucrative film roles as a result of its publication.

The trial ended on Friday 27 May when lawyers for both sides made their closing statements, after which the jury was asked to retire, deliberate and reach a verdict on whether or not, on the balance of probability, Ms Heard did defame Mr Depp in the Post article at the centre of the case.

Joe Sommerlad reports on next steps:

What happens next in the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation trial?

Tuesday 31 May 2022 20:10 , Clemence Michallon

How the verdict sheet works for Amber Heard’s counter-suit

Similarly, jurors are asked to fill out the rest of the verdict form (or verdict sheet) to express their ruling as to Amber Heard’s counter-claims.

Here too, the jury is asked to provide answers regarding three statements.

Should they find in Ms Heard’s favor on all three statements, jurors are then asked to state the amounts of compensatory and punitive damages they wish to award her.

Tuesday 31 May 2022 19:40 , Clemence Michallon

How the verdict will be presented

The jury will make its verdict known thanks to a verdict sheet to be filled out.

The eight-page verdict sheet has been shared by the Fairfax County Courthouse as the jury deliberates.

It asks the jury to rule on all three statements behind Johnny Depp’s allegations against Amber Heard.

Should they find in Mr Depp’s favor on all three statements, jurors are then asked to state the amounts of compensatory and pumitive damages, if any, that they want to award him.

The verdict form can be viewed here.

Jury asks if they should consider just headline or entirety of op-ed

Tuesday 31 May 2022 19:12 , Gustaf Kilander

The jury asked if they should consider just the headline of Ms Heard’s op-ed or the entire text of the article in their deliberations.

“I think the confusion came in this particular one because the statement in question is the title of the op-ed. So I think they’re just confused if it’s the whole op-ed or just the title as a statement,” Judge Penney Azcarate said on Tuesday.

“And it’s clear that the title is the statement so I was going to answer that the title is the statement in question,” she added.

Tuesday 31 May 2022 19:10 , Clemence Michallon

Amber Heard’s counter-suit

Similarly, jurors have been asked to examine three statements as part of Amber Heard’s counter-suit, which she filed in response to Johnny Depp’s lawsuit.

For each statement, they are asked to look at five elements: whether it was made by Alan Waldman while acting as an agent for Mr Depp, whether the statement is about Ms Heard, whether it was seen by someone other than Ms Heard, whether it is false, and whether Ms Heard proved “by clear and convincing evidence” that “the statement by Mr Waldman was made with actual malice”.

“If Ms Heard failed to prove any or more of the five elements above, then you shall find your verdict for Mr Depp with respect to the above statement,” the instructions read.

Here is an example of what they look like, for the first statement:

 (Fairfax County Court)
(Fairfax County Court)

Tuesday 31 May 2022 18:40 , Clemence Michallon

Johnny Depp must prove seven elements to win

Instructions given to the jury highlight three statements that make up the core of Johnny Depp’s defamation claims.

For each statement, the instructions identify seven elements Johnny Depp and his legal team must prove in order to prevail.

“If Mr Depp failed to prove any or more of the seven elements [...] then you shall find your verdict for Ms Heard,” the instructions read.

Jurors are asked to examine three statements: “Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change,” “Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” and “I had the rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”

For each statement, jurors are asked to consider whether Ms Heard made it, whether it’s about Mr Depp, whether it’s false, whether it has a defamatory implication against Mr Depp, whether that implication was designed and intended by Ms Heard, whether it conveyed that implication to someone other than Mr Depp, and whether Mr Depp proved “by clear and convincing evidence” that Ms Heard “made the statement with actual malice”.

All seven elements have to be present for the jury to rule in Mr Depp’s favor for each statement.

Here is an example of what the instructions look like, for the first statement:

 (Fairfax County Court)
(Fairfax County Court)

Tuesday 31 May 2022 18:10 , Clemence Michallon

What attorneys say about the Depp v Heard trial

Johnny Depp set out on a complicated legal path when he sued Amber Heard for defamation.

The lawsuit opposing him and Ms Heard in Fairfax, centres around an op-ed Heard wrote in 2018 for The Washington Post.

Ms Heard doesn’t name Mr Depp in the piece but describes herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”. Mr Depp and his legal team have contended that the op-ed rests “on the central premise that Ms Heard was a domestic abuse victim and that Mr Depp perpetrated domestic violence against her”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”.

In discussions with The Independent during the fourth week of proceedings, three attorneys highlighted the high standard Mr Depp must reach if he hopes to win his defamation case – the same standard Ms Heard must also meet if she wants her countersuit against Mr Depp to be successful.

They also pointed to the ultra-public nature of the trial, and the potential gap between the opinions of viewers following the proceedings online and those of jurors, who are prevented from reading up on the trial while it happens.

Clémence Michallon reports:

What attorneys say about the Depp v Heard trial

Tuesday 31 May 2022 17:40 , Clemence Michallon

Fans at the Depp v Heard trial

For the last six weeks, hundreds descended on the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia for the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

Among them, Yvonne de Boer booked time off work to support Mr Depp in person.

The travel agent and self-proclaimed “number one fan” left behind her life in Los Angeles to come to Fairfax, Virginia, for the entirety of the actor’s defamation trial.

She spent every day inside the courtroom watching the case unfold and every night camped outside the courthouse to snap up one of the limited spaces in the public gallery the next morning.

“I get here [in the line] at 1 in the morning and then we get into the court at 9am,” she told The Independent on Thursday morning of the routine that has consumed her life since 11 April.

“I’m then leaving at 5.30pm or 6pm [when the court day ends], going to bed for four hours and then I get up and do it all again. Every day. I’ve been here the whole six weeks, every day.”

Rachel Sharp reports:

Who are the Johnny Depp fanatics camping outside the Amber Heard trial?

Tuesday 31 May 2022 17:10 , Clemence Michallon

Documentary will chronicle trial

A documentary on the Depp v Heard trial is in the works.

Warner Bros Discovery UK will produce a two-part documentary looking into the legal battle, Variety reported on Tuesday (31 May).

According to the website, the documentary will look “at the extensive evidence and testimony” of both parties, and each episode “will present one side of the argument through legal teams, friends, family and key witnesses.”

The programme will air on Discovery+.

The entertainment company previously released a documentary titled Johnny vs Amber, which looked at Mr Depp’s defamation trial against The Sun. Mr Depp filed a libel lawsuit against the newspaper’s publisher in 2018, and it went to trial in 2020. A judge found in The Sun’s favor in November of that year.

Tuesday 31 May 2022 16:40 , Clemence Michallon

How jurors must rule on Amber Heard’s counter-suit

Similarly, here’s an overview of the questions jurors must consider when weighing Amber Heard’s counter-suit against Johnny Depp:

 (Fairfax County Court)
(Fairfax County Court)

Tuesday 31 May 2022 16:10 , Clemence Michallon

Jury instructions

Jurors have been provided with 38 pages’ worth of instructions to follow during their deliberations.

They include explanations on how they are expected to rule on the case “fairly and impartially” and that they may judge the credibility of various witnesses.

The instructions, which can be viewed online here, also include a breakdown on the factual issues of the case, which highlight to the jury the issues they must decide on.

An excerpt can be viewed below:

 (Fairfax County Court)
(Fairfax County Court)

Tuesday 31 May 2022 15:40 , Clemence Michallon

What’s at stake in jury deliberations

The seven-person jury currently deliberating in Fairfax, Virginia, must decide whether Johnny Depp’s team showed that Amber Heard defamed him in her 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post.

This is a civil case, so the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff, ie Mr Depp. His team must meet a standard known as “a preponderance of evidence”, which is lower than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal cases.

The jury had two hours to deliberate on Friday following closing arguments. There were no deliberations on Monday, which was Memorial Day in the US.

Mr Depp has sued Ms Heard for $50m, and she has counter-sued him for $100m. In addition to ruling on Mr Depp’s claim, the jury is also tasked with making a determination in Ms Heard’s counter-suit.

A trial by TikTok and the death knell for MeToo. Who won Depp v Heard?

Tuesday 31 May 2022 15:00 , Rachel Sharp

With both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard resting their cases in the multi-million-dollar defamation trial, it now comes down to the jury to decide the verdict. But with Johnny Depp already winning the social media war, does it really matter?

Rachel Sharp reports:

A trial by TikTok and the death knell for MeToo. Who won Depp v Heard?

How Depp and Heard each made their case for being a victim, not a perpetrator, of abuse

Tuesday 31 May 2022 14:40 , Megan Sheets

After six weeks of testimony, the jury in the high-profile defamation trial finally began deliberating on Friday afternoon. Rachel Sharp reports from Fairfax, Virginia, on what you need to know about the case.

Johnny Depp v Amber Heard: What to know about the case

When will there be a verdict?

Tuesday 31 May 2022 14:20 , Megan Sheets

As the jury enters its first full day of deliberation on Tuesday, it’s impossible to say definitively how long it will take to reach a verdict.

Here’s what we know:

When will there be a verdict in Johnny Depp’s trial against Amber Heard?

Jury resumes deliberation

Tuesday 31 May 2022 14:00 , Megan Sheets

Jurors should just now be sitting down to resume deliberations at 9am EST.

They have thus far spent just over two hours in the deliberation room after being sent out following closing arguments on Friday afternoon.

Upon passing the case over, Judge Penney Azcarate cautioned jurors against jumping to quick conclusions and instructed them to carefully review all relevant evidence before reaching a verdict.

Heard lawyer says she should win case even if she cut Depp’s finger off with an axe

Tuesday 31 May 2022 13:40 , Oliver O'Connell

Amber Heard’s lawyer raised eyebrows in his closing argument as he sought to downplay the importance of a fight in which Johnny Depp’s finger was severed.

Hours of testimony in the defamation trial opposing the Hollywood stars centred around a violent incident in Australia in 2015, during which the tip of Mr Depp’s finger was cut off.

Amber Heard lawyer says she should win even if she cut Johnny Depp’s finger with axe