Depp-Heard Jury Could Come Back With One of Several Determinations

The world is on edge as the Depp-Heard trial is anticipated to end in the near future. Depp, Heard, and their legal teams gave their closing remarks last week. The jury, comprised of five men and two women, were given their instructions over the long holiday weekend. They reconvened on Tuesday. While many onlookers have hoped to see an immediate conclusion, no verdict has been reached. Here is what the experts say could happen.

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According to attorney Emily D. Baker, prior L.A. District Attorney and current legal commentator, there are four possible determinations:

  1. The jury finds one, two, all three, or none of Johnny Depp’s claims of defamation to be true.
  2. The jury finds one, some, all, or none of Amber Heard’s claims of defamation to be true.
  3. The jury finds neither party responsible for defamation.
  4. The jury hangs, meaning that they might not be able to come to any conclusion at all.

The biggest movement forward with the Depp-Heard trial, witnessed on Tuesday, was a question of clarity posed by the jury. In determining whether or not one of Depp’s defamation claims against Heard is valid or not, the jury asked Honorable Judge Penney Azcarate about sexual violence.

Specifically, one of Depp’s three claims of defamation by Heard is that the title of her 2018 Washington Post op-ed was defamatory. The infamous article was titled “Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” The jury requested clarification regarding whether they were supposed to look at the title as a standalone statement of in the context of the entire article.

Heard claims that she did not pen the title of the Washington Post op-ed and therefore is not liable for defamation on that point. However, Depp’s team counters that Heard shared the op-ed via social media without asking for its title to be changed. They claim that this makes her liable for defamation.

What This Means for Depp

Yahoo Entertainment reports that attorney Rachel Fiset conjectures that the jury’s question about sexual violence could be a good sign for Depp:

“This signals that the jury is likely deliberating whether she was a victim of ‘sexual violence’ not just domestic abuse. ‘Sexual violence’ may be viewed by the jury as something separate and apart than other abuse and they may be digging into the specificity of that allegation — and whether it is true.”

“Juries Are Unpredictable”

Conversely, Yahoo Entertainment quotes attorney Chris Melcher as warning against coming to premature conclusions.

“Juries are unpredictable,” he says. “Trying to decipher who they might be leaning toward by their questions, or facial expressions during trial, is like reading tea leaves.”

It may be a while more until the jury reaches a verdict on the Depp-Heard trial, if at all. For Heard, her team needs to prove that Depp and his attorney’s allegedly defamatory claims were made with actual malice, i.e., with the knowledge that their claims were false. This may be an uphill battle for her and her legal team. Further, one of her attorneys, Elaine Bredehoft, was seen leaving the courtroom in tears this past Friday.

Johnny Depp’s legal team may have an equally tough hurdle at this point. However, Depp is acting unphased and was recently seen playing with Jeff Beck at a rock concert over the weekend.

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