Jury wraps up day’s deliberations, Depp doesn’t verdict, hears defamation case

May 31 (Reuters) – A jury considered an objection lawsuit filed by actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, after hours of deliberation on Tuesday, but failed on value The ruling comes amid a multimillion-dollar defamation fight that has aired disturbing details about their troubled marriage.

The seven-member jury is expected to continue discussions Wednesday morning in Fairfax County, Virginia, circuit court.

“Pirates of the Caribbean” star Depp, 58, is suing Hurd for $50 million, arguing that she defamed Hurd when she called herself a “public figure representing domestic abuse” in a newspaper opinion piece.

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Hurd, 36, countersued for $100 million, alleging Depp defamed her when his lawyer called her allegations a “hoax.”

Depp has denied hitting Heard or any woman, and said she was the one who became violent in their relationship.

Depp and Heard met while filming The Rum Diary in 2011 and married in February 2015. Their divorce was finalized about two years later.

At the heart of the legal case is a December 2018 Washington Post opinion piece by Hurd in which she made a statement about domestic abuse. The article did not name Depp, but his attorney told jurors it was clear Hurd was referring to him.read more

During Tuesday’s deliberations, a seven-person jury asked Judge Penney Azcarate whether he should consider the entire article or just the title. The headline said Hurd was “against sexual violence — and confronted the anger of our culture.”

Azkarat said she would tell the jury that the headline was a statement they should consider making a verdict.

During six weeks of testimony, Hurd’s attorneys argued that she was telling the truth and that her speech was considered free speech under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Throughout the case, jurors listened to tapes of the couple’s fight and saw pictures of Depp’s bloody fingers. He said the top of his finger was severed when Hurd threw a vodka bottle at him in 2015.

Heard denies hurting Depp’s fingers and says Depp sexually assaulted her with a wine bottle that night. She said she hit him only to protect herself or her sister.

The testimony was widely live-streamed on social media, drawing a large audience for details of the couple’s volatile relationship.

Depp, who was once among the Hollywood superstars, said Heard’s allegations cost him “everything”. A new “Pirates” movie has been shelved and Depp is replaced in the “Fantastic Beasts” film series, a spinoff of “Harry Potter.”

Less than two years ago, Depp lost a defamation case against The Sun, with a British tabloid calling him a “wife beater”. A judge in the High Court in London ruled that he had repeatedly attacked Hurd.

Depp’s attorneys filed the U.S. lawsuit in Fairfax County, Virginia, where the Washington Post was printed. The newspaper is not a defendant.

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Reporting by Lisa Richwin; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Mark Porter and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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