Jury sides with Johnny Depp, but he & Amber Heard both found liable for defamation

‘It’s not OK on both sides,’ says advocate, survivor of domestic abuse

A jury on Wednesday sided with Johnny Depp in his libel lawsuit against Amber Heard, his ex-wife. The verdict awarded the actor more than $10 million and vindicated his allegations that Heard lied about Depp abusing her before and during their brief marriage. But in a split decision, the jury also found that Heard was defamed by one Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included roughing up their apartment to look worse for police.

FAIRFAX, Va. – A jury on Wednesday sided with Johnny Depp in his libel lawsuit against Amber Heard, his ex-wife.

The verdict awarded the actor more than $10 million and vindicated his allegations that Heard lied about Depp abusing her before and during their brief marriage. But in a split decision, the jury also found that Heard was defamed by one Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included roughing up their apartment to look worse for police.

The jury awarded her $2 million in damages.

News4JAX on Wednesday spoke with an advocate and survivor of domestic violence, who lives in the Jacksonville area. Christina Meredith, also an author, uses her experience to help others.

“Me growing up, being abused so horrendously by my biological mother, and how she tore my family apart saying that my biological dad beat her — and he didn’t, and she went to jail for it,” Meredith explained.

The libel case stemmed from a 2018 op-ed Heard wrote for the Washington Post, in which she described herself as a “public victim representing domestic abuse.” Depp wasn’t specifically identified, but the article pointed to him.

Meredith has been following the proceedings closely.

“It’s not OK on both sides, and I agree that it was very clear that there was disfunction on both sides, abuse on both sides,” Meredith said.

She added, “There’s a jury that read all of the evidence and saw all the evidence and made a decision and I support that decision.”

Heard responded on social media, saying that she was disappointed by the verdict, adding, “It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”

Depp also issued his own statement, saying that from the beginning, his goal with the case was revealing the truth, adding, “I finally feel at peace knowing I have accomplished that.”


About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.