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Verdict Reached in Amber Heard, Johnny Depp Libel Trial

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp
Amber Heard (L) and Johnny Depp

The trial has gone on for six weeks. 

A jury has reached a verdict in the libel case between two prominent actors that has drawn the nation's attention for weeks now.

The jury, after 13 hours of deliberation, found Wednesday that bisexual actor Amber Heard committed libel against ex-husband actor Johnny Depp, while also finding that Depp's lawyer did defame Heard in one instance.

"Do you find that Mr. Depp has proven by clear and convincing evidence that Ms. Heard acted with actual malice? Answer: Yes," the jury read out in court.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million after she published an op-ed in 2018 in The Washington Post where she said she was "a public figure representing domestic abuse," without naming Depp.

Heard claimed Depp physically and sexually abused her. She filed a counterclaim against Depp for $100 million after his lawyer said her allegations against him were fake, notes the Associated Press.

The jury awarded Depp $15 million. Heard was awarded $2 million.

Over the past six weeks, the jury has heard details about the couple's marriage and has heard more than 100 hours of testimony.

Heard testified that Depp had assaulted her over 10 times. Depp disputed this, telling the jury he never attacked her. He also alleged that she had physically assaulted him.

In response to Wednesday's verdict, Heard released a statement, NBC News reports, saying:

The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband. 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. I believe Johnny's attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK. I'm sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American -- to speak freely and openly.

Depp also released a statement. He said:

Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye. False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career. And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.

The jurors were responsible for deciding if the claims were made with "actual malice," according to the AP. That means the claims were false and they knew it, or they were ignoring the truth.

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