Mr. Depp’s argument was that the case had nothing to do with the broad protections of speech in the First Amendment. Instead, he insisted, it was about the prosecution’s credibility. “The First Amendment does not protect lies that hurt and defame people,” Mr. Depp’s attorney told the jury as the trial drew to a close.
Several lawyers said they were surprised by the outcome, especially as Mr Depp lost a similar case in Britain, which has much lower legal standards for public figures prosecuting for defamation. One key difference, said George Freeman, executive director of the Media Law Resource Center and former attorney for DailyExpertNews, was that a judge decided the case in Britain, while a jury in the United States sided with Mr. Depp. chose.
“A jury decides what a jury decides, and there is often no further explanation,” said Mr. Freeman.
The outcome was all the more curious, Mr. Freeman added, because the jury also sided with Ms. Heard on one point where she alleged that Mr. Depp’s lawyer had defamed her by blaming her for damaging her property. the couple’s penthouse.
“If one side is false, the other is true,” Freeman said. “It seems rather inconsistent to give to both awards.”
Johnny Depp’s Libel Case Against Amber Heard
In the courtroom. A libel lawsuit involving formerly married actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has just closed in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court. Here’s what you need to know about the case:
One implication of the split jury decision is that, because of its complexity, the law may not do what people expect it to do: to arbitrate the kinds of disputes he/she said that stem from charges such as sexual assault.
In other similar defamation cases, the publisher has also been involved in the lawsuit. First Amendment pundits concerned about the use of libel suits in an increasingly polarized climate — especially against news organizations — said the fact that The Post was not named as a party in Mr Depp’s case likely made his win easier. .
Had The Post been charged, the lawsuit would likely have focused more on the ways defamation laws can be abused, said RonNell Andersen Jones, a law professor at the University of Utah.