Johnny Depp’s lawyers Camille Vasquez and Benjamin Chew shut down assumptions that online support for their client swayed the jury’s ruling in his defamation lawsuit.
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“Social media played no role whatsoever. This was a decision made by the jury on the evidence presented by both sides, and as Camille said [earlier in the interview], it was overwhelmingly in Mr. Depp’s favor,” Chew said during a joint interview on Good Morning America, which aired on Wednesday, June 8, noting that the court battle was “never about money.”
The attorney had a similar response during an appearance on Today, adding, “No, I don’t think there’s any reason to believe that the jurors violated their oath. And again, that suggestion was disappointing to hear [from Amber Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft].”
Vasquez, for her part, praised the jury members for their dedication to the trial. “It is everywhere, but at the same time, they were admonished every single night,” she added. “They had a tremendous amount of respect for the court and the process, and they were doing the best that they could.”
Heard’s lawyer recently called out the role that social media seemingly played in the high-profile lawsuit. “How can you not [see it]? [The jury] went home every night. They have families. The families are on social media,” Bredehoft said on the Today show on Thursday, June 2. “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. And it was horrible. It really, really was lopsided. It’s like the Roman Colosseum.”
The commentary on the trial comes after a judge announced earlier this month that Depp, 58, would be awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Heard, 36, for her part, was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages and no punitive damages for her counterclaim.
The Texas native will only have to pay $10.35 million after the amount was reduced due to a Virginia law capping punitive damages. Following the verdict, a source revealed to Us Weekly that the Drive Angry actress intended to appeal the decision.
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“She is 100 percent appealing on freedom of speech and is telling friends she is determined to take it all the way to the Supreme Court if she has to,” the insider said. “She is not able to comprehend that she lost.”
The actress also addressed her concerns about how the verdict would impact other cases. “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” she wrote via Instagram. “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.”
On Wednesday, Depp’s lawyers denied that the actor’s defamation trial would affect the rate of domestic violence victims coming forward. “I mean, frankly, we don’t worry,” Vasquez said on the Today show. “We encourage all victims to come forward and have their day in court, which is exactly what happened in this case.”
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For Vasquez, the case started a conversation about domestic violence not having a gender. “We believe that the verdict speaks for itself, the facts are what they were, the jury made a unanimous decision based on those facts,” she added on GMA.
Amid the widespread reaction, the Pirates of the Caribbean star showed support for his fans by joining TikTok. “To all of my most treasured, loyal and unwavering supporters. We’ve been everywhere together, we have seen everything together. We have walked the same road together. We did the right thing together, all because you cared. And now, we will all move forward together,” the Kentucky native captioned his first post on Tuesday, June 7.
He concluded: “You are, as always, my employers and once again I am whittled down to no way to say thank you, other than just by saying thank you. So, thank you. My love & respect, JD.”
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