Amber Heard’s lawyer said the jury didn’t believe the “Aquaman” actress because she had been “demonized” and Johnny Depp’s legal team was able to suppress an “enormous amount of evidence,” according to a recent interview.
Savannah Guthrie on TODAY asked whether the verdict awarding Depp $10.35 million in his bombshell defamation case meant the jury “didn’t believe a single word” Heard said.
“That’s because she was demonized here,” Bredehoft told Guthrie the morning after Heard’s devastating loss in Fairfax County Circuit Court, capping off a grueling seven-week trial.
“A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed. It caused the jury to be confused,” the lawyer said.
After about 12 hours of deliberations, the jury found that Heard had defamed Depp in all his claims and awarded him $15 million, which was reduced by the judge to $10.35 million in accordance with Virginia law. The panel found for Heard on a single claim, awarding her $2 million.
In response to Guthrie asking whether Heard could pay the substantial figure, Bredehoft said “Oh, no, absolutely not.”
Amber Heard leaves Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse June 1, 2022, flanked by her sister, Whitney Henriquez Heard, after ex-husband Johnny Depp won his defamation case against her.
Bredehoft said that Depp’s team was also able to suppress key evidence, including Heard’s medical records, which showed she had reported the alleged abuse to her therapist as early as 2012.
A text message from Depp’s assistant corroborating the alleged abuse and the verdict in the U.K. trial also did not come in.
After Depp sued The Sun newspaper in England for branding him a wife-beater, a judge ruled against him in 2020, finding that the actor had abused Heard in 12 of 14 alleged incidents.
In response to a question about whether jurors were aware of the “lopsided and vitriolic” social media frenzy against Heard, Bredehoft said it was impossible to escape.
A photo combination of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in court May 23, 2022.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber, Pool)
“They went home every night,” she said of the seven jurors who decided the case. “They have families, the families are on social media.”
The live-streamed trial was everywhere and the decision to allow cameras in the courtroom “made it a zoo,” said Bredehoft.
Hearing the verdict was not easy for Heard, who was present in court while Depp had jetted off to England to tour with guitarist Jeff Beck, according to Bredehoft.
“One of the first things she said is ‘I am so sorry to all those women out there,’ Bredehoft told TODAY. “This is a setback for all women in and outside the courtroom, and she feels the burden of this.”
The decision, she added, sends a “horrible message” to survivors of abuse, who will not be believed unless they record their spouse, in the moment, beating them.
The jury found that Heard had defamed Depp in a 2018 op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post, identifying herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. The piece did not refer to Depp by name.
Heard plans to appeal.
Rebecca Rosenberg is a veteran journalist and book author with a focus on crime and criminal justice. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and @ReRosenberg.