The jury in Johnny Depp’s trial against Amber Heard split on Tuesday without reaching a unanimous decision on whether the actor was defamed by his estranged wife, who allegedly suffered domestic abuse during their marriage.
The seven jurors – five men and two women – began deliberating on Friday, at the conclusion of six weeks of proceedings in court in Fairfax, a small town in Virginia near Washington. But more than 9 hours of discussion have so far resulted in no decision and they will resume their deliberations on Wednesday morning.
Johnny Depp flew to the United Kingdom after the end of the debates on Friday to participate, Sunday and Monday, in two concerts by Briton Jeff Beck in Sheffield and London. Contacted by AFP, a spokesperson for Amber Heard did not want to confirm “at this stage” if the actress would be present for the statement of the verdict. The hundreds of fans, mostly Johnny Depp, who gathered outside the court had also disappeared on Tuesday. Filmed live on television, the debates cast a harsh light on the common life of the two actors.
The star of the saga Pirates of the Caribbean is suing his ex-wife for defamation, who wrote in a column published by the washington post in 2018 be “a public figure representing domestic violence”, without naming Johnny Depp. He is seeking $50 million in damages, saying the platform destroyed his career and reputation.
Amber Heard, who appeared in particular in Justice League and Aquaman, counter-attacked and asks for the double. The 36-year-old actress claims to have exercised her right to freedom of expression by writing this column. According to her, Johnny Depp’s complaint is “futile” and prolongs “abuse and harassment” that he put her through. She accuses a former lawyer for the actor of having defamed her by claiming in the press that her allegations of domestic violence were “false”.
The jury must answer several questions and rule unanimously on the two complaints before determining the amount of any damages. Since April 11, the jury has heard dozens of hours of testimonies and audio or video recordings that have revealed the shocking details of their life together, far from the glamor of Hollywood, between 2011 and 2016.
The actress told that Johnny Depp was becoming a “freak” under the influence of an explosive cocktail of drugs and alcohol and was not undergoing rehab. He would have raped her with a bottle of alcohol in March 2015, a month after their marriage, in Australia where the actor was filming episode 5 of Pirates.
That day, Johnny Depp had the end of a finger severed and was hospitalized. He claims it’s because of the glare from a bottle thrown by Amber Heard. She says he hurt himself. After a final argument, during which Johnny Depp allegedly threw a phone in her face in May 2016, she had filed for divorce for domestic violence, after a little over a year of marriage.
Since then, she says she became the target of a social media smear campaign that wiped out her career. But the 58-year-old actor has come forward with accusations “mind-boggling” and assured that it was on the contrary his wife who was violent. “No human being is perfect, certainly not, none of us, but never in my life have I committed sexual violence or physical violence”he said at the bar.
The comedian has already lost a first defamation lawsuit in London in 2020, against the tabloid The Sun who called him “violent husband”. The two actors each claim to have lost between 40 and 50 million dollars in fees since the publication of the tribune.