19 votes

Johnny Depp wins libel lawsuit against Amber Heard, but both sides guilty of defamation, jury finds

44 comments

  1. [29]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    I watched a good portion of the trial over the last 5-6 weeks, and the entirety of the last week live on LegalBytes, and I have to say that this outcome is actually a bit unexpected. IMO, Amber...

    I watched a good portion of the trial over the last 5-6 weeks, and the entirety of the last week live on LegalBytes, and I have to say that this outcome is actually a bit unexpected. IMO, Amber Heard clearly lied about the physical and sexual abuse, perjured herself on the stand in not only this trial but the UK one as well, and even got caught blatantly fabricating evidence. So I don't quite understand how the jury can find them both guilty of defamation, since the claims are essentially mutually exclusive. Either Depp was abusive so Heard's OP-ed was true (which based on all the evidence and testimony, I don't believe, and obviously neither did the jury), or Heard's claims of abuse at the hands of Depp were a hoax, in which case Waldman's statements were true and thus weren't defamatory.

    But ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, IANAL so I will have to watch some verdict breakdowns from the various Lawtubers to try to understand this. Regardless, IMO this is still a huge win for Depp, and will hopefully help him finally get out from under these horrible, false accusations.


    Edit: I just watched the full reading of the verdicts. Heard was found guilty on all counts of defamation since all the statements made by her about Depp in the Op-ed were false (i.e. Depp didn't abuse Heard). However, Depp was still found guilty on the second count of defamation for Waldman saying it was a "hoax" when Heard and her friends allegedly called 911 a second time, after the first police visit didn't find any evidence of property damage or domestic abuse. And in retrospect, that actually makes sense as still being defamatory, since there was no evidence of a second 911 call, and supposedly the only reason another officer showed up later was due to an administrative error.

    So the two defamation cases were not actually mutually exclusive, since the specific details mentioned in the second Waldman statement were also untrue.

    8 votes
    1. [28]
      cloud_loud
      Link Parent
      I'm not gonna get into the whole case thing. But I've also been watching LegalBytes, I've actually been watching her throughout the whole trial. This has led me to other "Lawtubers" as they call...

      I'm not gonna get into the whole case thing. But I've also been watching LegalBytes, I've actually been watching her throughout the whole trial. This has led me to other "Lawtubers" as they call themselves. And the fascinating thing is that they're mostly all conservative. I'm hard pressed to find a liberal among them. I think the closest are probably Alyta herself and Hoeg, but they strike me as closer to the center than actual liberals. For a second there I thought Emily D. Baker was a liberal but then I found out she ran for office as a Republican relatively recently. I've been meaning to talk about it on here, but I didn't think anyone would even know what I'm talking about.

      3 votes
      1. [7]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        Huh, completely off topic, but what kind of channels comprise "lawtubers"? The only law related channel I've watched is LegalEagle, who as far as I can tell is fairly on the left of the US...

        This has led me to other "Lawtubers" as they call themselves. And the fascinating thing is that they're mostly all conservative.

        Huh, completely off topic, but what kind of channels comprise "lawtubers"? The only law related channel I've watched is LegalEagle, who as far as I can tell is fairly on the left of the US political spectrum.

        5 votes
        1. [5]
          lou
          Link Parent
          I'll very much wait for LegalEagle to make a video on the verdict before I have an opinion. I believe he'll be very surprised. Every other video I saw about it felt like "gotcha lawyerism"...

          I'll very much wait for LegalEagle to make a video on the verdict before I have an opinion. I believe he'll be very surprised. Every other video I saw about it felt like "gotcha lawyerism" regardless of the political inclination of the YouTuber. I also recommend the podcast Opening Arguments which will probably cover it as well.

          5 votes
          1. psi
            Link Parent
            Seconding Opening Arguments! It's probably my most consistently listened to podcast (even if Andrew is a bit too optimistic at times). In case you missed it, they did cover this trial in epsiode...

            Seconding Opening Arguments! It's probably my most consistently listened to podcast (even if Andrew is a bit too optimistic at times).

            In case you missed it, they did cover this trial in epsiode 596. I'm guessing they'll probably off an update next week, too.

            2 votes
          2. [3]
            mtset
            Link Parent
            That video is now out: https://youtu.be/HMeaBvJI5_w cc @stu2b50

            That video is now out: https://youtu.be/HMeaBvJI5_w

            cc @stu2b50

            2 votes
            1. lou
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              The verdict appears fair to me. I wouldn't go so far to say that I'm super relieved to see a rich white man become a little bit richer, but it does seem fair to say that untruthful statements...

              The verdict appears fair to me.

              I wouldn't go so far to say that I'm super relieved to see a rich white man become a little bit richer, but it does seem fair to say that untruthful statements where made that hurt his image and career, which can be stressful to anyone.

              It is important to understand the devastating effect false accusations can have, but it is also regrettable that miss Heard's falsehoods triggered a wave of misogyny and disbelief that might taint many legitimate claims, made by other women, in the eyes of the public.

              My other observation is not just about the verdict but the trial as a whole: I don't think trials should be recorded or televised.

              What is supposed to be a pursuit of the truth can easily become a popularity contest, and it can affect the emotional state of all those involved, with direct impact on how they conduct themselves in court, how the jury deliberates, and, therefore, on the verdict itself.

              2 votes
            2. stu2b50
              Link Parent
              As is probably wise, LegalEagle does not do much opining on the matter of the case, and more on the legal mechanics, so in terms of looking for resolution you can at most get the vague sense that...

              As is probably wise, LegalEagle does not do much opining on the matter of the case, and more on the legal mechanics, so in terms of looking for resolution you can at most get the vague sense that he does not disagree with the jury's outcome.

              I think the main thing I did not know was how hard it would be for Heard to appeal. Apparently you need to post as bond the full amount of the damages, so Heard would need to get $8m in cash before being able to appeal. Given that that is by most counts greater than her net worth, there'd probably have to be loans somewhere, which then brings up all kinds of problems, like whether the interest is worth it in her own personal calculation of whether or not she can win, or from the bank as to whether it's safe or not to loan her millions of dollars to appeal a case.

              So it seems very possible there actually won't be any appeal from the Heard side.

              2 votes
        2. cloud_loud
          Link Parent
          The way I understand it, from how I’ve heard others talk about LegalEagle, he kind of operates outside of that loose community. I guess a comparison would be how Sam Seder operates outside of...

          The way I understand it, from how I’ve heard others talk about LegalEagle, he kind of operates outside of that loose community. I guess a comparison would be how Sam Seder operates outside of Breadtube.

          If you go on LegalBytes she has a panel of lawyers that she invites, all of them with their own channels and you can get a sense of what the community looks like. The biggest fish in the pond seem to be Rekeita and Emily D. Baker. It’s a lot of livestreams, and looong livestreams like 10 hours plus. Which I don’t think LegalEagle does.

          2 votes
      2. [19]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Yeah a lot of them are pretty hard right, 1A/2A absolutist, anti-"woke", anti-"cancel culture", etc. Rekieta Law and his crew especially so (just see their coverage of the Rittenhouse trial). And...

        Yeah a lot of them are pretty hard right, 1A/2A absolutist, anti-"woke", anti-"cancel culture", etc. Rekieta Law and his crew especially so (just see their coverage of the Rittenhouse trial). And even Runkle of the Bailey (Canadian Lawtuber) is an openly pro-gun Libertarian, which is exceedingly rare up here. LegalBytes/Alyta's crew are definitely way more Liberal though, which is why I mostly watch them instead.

        3 votes
        1. [6]
          cloud_loud
          Link Parent
          There was another guy that LegalBytes had who said he believed Amber Heard going into the trial. Which strikes me as a liberal thing to say. Hoeg has been one of the more reasonable voices as...

          There was another guy that LegalBytes had who said he believed Amber Heard going into the trial. Which strikes me as a liberal thing to say. Hoeg has been one of the more reasonable voices as well, where he was more open and was trying to believe Heard (as opposed to most lawtubers reactions) but just couldn't bring himself to do it.

          It was an interesting month and a half listening to all of them. But I've since deleted my YouTube history to reset it (I was also getting a lot of Depp fan videos).

          2 votes
          1. [5]
            cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Oof. Yeah, I intentionally watched it all in incognito/private browsing mode so I wouldn't get flooded with any other Depp v Heard bullshit during or after this trial. I will likely stay...

            But I've since deleted my YouTube history to reset it (I was also getting a lot of Depp fan videos).

            Oof. Yeah, I intentionally watched it all in incognito/private browsing mode so I wouldn't get flooded with any other Depp v Heard bullshit during or after this trial. I will likely stay subscribed to LegalBytes and a few of the other Lawtubers who impressed me (e.g. Hoeg, Uncivil Law, Black Belt Barrister, etc) throughout the trial though, but I have absolutely no interest in seeing other Youtuber's hot takes or reaction videos about this trial.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              stu2b50
              Link Parent
              I believe you can just delete the video from your view history and it will no longer be factored into your suggestions.

              I believe you can just delete the video from your view history and it will no longer be factored into your suggestions.

              3 votes
              1. cfabbro
                Link Parent
                Yep, you can. I have had to do that whenever I forget to watch something in private browsing that I don't want in my history.

                Yep, you can. I have had to do that whenever I forget to watch something in private browsing that I don't want in my history.

                2 votes
            2. [2]
              balooga
              Link Parent
              FreeTube is a third-party YouTube client that's pretty great for this sort of thing.

              FreeTube is a third-party YouTube client that's pretty great for this sort of thing.

              1 vote
              1. cfabbro
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                I appreciate the intent behind FreeTube, but IMO it's far easier to just right click to open particular videos, that I don't want tainting my history, in a private window. And TBH I actually don't...

                I appreciate the intent behind FreeTube, but IMO it's far easier to just right click to open particular videos, that I don't want tainting my history, in a private window. And TBH I actually don't want all my viewing history private since it helps with YouTube's recommendations, most of which I enjoy. I also often go back through my viewing history to find videos I have previously watched as well, and I don't want that stored locally since it would risk me losing it.

                3 votes
        2. [12]
          EscReality
          Link Parent
          None of these are hard right ideals, there are plenty of left leaning liberals that share all of these views.

          1A/2A absolutist, anti-"woke", anti-"cancel culture"

          None of these are hard right ideals, there are plenty of left leaning liberals that share all of these views.

          1 vote
          1. [11]
            vord
            Link Parent
            Anti-woke is probably the most hard-right of them. I mostly see anti-woke used as a dogwhistle to find other rightwingers. The other items have reasonable, if disagreeable, stances both for and...

            Anti-woke is probably the most hard-right of them. I mostly see anti-woke used as a dogwhistle to find other rightwingers.

            The other items have reasonable, if disagreeable, stances both for and against when framed against self-determination and societal harm. A minefield of political philosophy if you will.

            12 votes
            1. [10]
              EscReality
              Link Parent
              The "woke" movement is something that is disliked by a lot of people, political affiliation has nothing to do with it. Same goes for all the other things you mentioned. Its really interesting that...

              The "woke" movement is something that is disliked by a lot of people, political affiliation has nothing to do with it.

              Same goes for all the other things you mentioned.

              Its really interesting that you think any of those are solely right leaning, they are pretty universally held ideas that people on both sides of the political spectrum have.

              1 vote
              1. [9]
                mtset
                Link Parent
                Can you describe what you, in particular, mean by "the 'woke' movement"? It is a term used by many people to mean many different things.

                Can you describe what you, in particular, mean by "the 'woke' movement"? It is a term used by many people to mean many different things.

                10 votes
                1. [6]
                  vord
                  Link Parent
                  I was just about to reply in that vein. My best stab at defining Woke is as being aware of, and taking a stance against, social (but especially racial) inequality. I'd be hard pressed to find...

                  I was just about to reply in that vein.

                  My best stab at defining Woke is as being aware of, and taking a stance against, social (but especially racial) inequality. I'd be hard pressed to find someone woke who disagrees.

                  Being anti-woke, using this common definition, is most definitely a hard right wing stance. Even if it is one held by self-described moderates and centerists.

                  The most anti-woke people I know are white people who get uncomfortable when being reminded how much of their lives is predicated on policies that are systematically oppressive to minorities.

                  5 votes
                  1. [5]
                    cloud_loud
                    Link Parent
                    I think you might be overthinking it. Being “woke” is more or less synonymous with political correctness. What you describe is closer to what it’s original intent was, I think originally it meant...

                    I think you might be overthinking it. Being “woke” is more or less synonymous with political correctness. What you describe is closer to what it’s original intent was, I think originally it meant being aware of police brutality against minorities. When someone is “anti-woke” it usually just means “anti-PC.”

                    Which makes sense as to why this user would say that liberals could also be “anti-woke” as I can show you a variety of liberals/leftists that describe themselves that way when they’re just anti-PC.

                    2 votes
                    1. [2]
                      inwardpath
                      Link Parent
                      FWIW, most people I see railing against "political correctness" are hard-right individuals that use it as an excuse to be an asshole. Not saying "anti-PC" lefties don't exist, but I never...

                      FWIW, most people I see railing against "political correctness" are hard-right individuals that use it as an excuse to be an asshole. Not saying "anti-PC" lefties don't exist, but I never encounter them... practically ever. I doubt someone on the left vs. right even define "political correctness" the same way as each other. Which is part of the problem of this whole discussion. No one can agree on definitions, therefore we're all just pissing in the wind

                      9 votes
                      1. vord
                        Link Parent
                        FWIW, I am a bit of an anti-PC (read language police) lefty, but also recognize that talking about it mostly just draws the support of right and the ire of people whom are otherwise quite nice....

                        FWIW, I am a bit of an anti-PC (read language police) lefty, but also recognize that talking about it mostly just draws the support of right and the ire of people whom are otherwise quite nice.

                        The only times I really see woke used anymore in any real sense is people who watch Fox News being scared of "CRT being taught to kids" and then parroting about how wokeness is bad.

                        4 votes
                    2. [2]
                      mtset
                      Link Parent
                      So what we've learned from this conversation is that different people mean different things when they use the word "woke". Let's try to be more specific in the future.

                      So what we've learned from this conversation is that different people mean different things when they use the word "woke". Let's try to be more specific in the future.

                      3 votes
                      1. Akir
                        Link Parent
                        I'd prefer to avoid using the word "woke" in any serious context, to be honest. I've literally never heard of anyone self-applying this label unironically. And like @inwardpath mentioned, because...

                        I'd prefer to avoid using the word "woke" in any serious context, to be honest. I've literally never heard of anyone self-applying this label unironically. And like @inwardpath mentioned, because it's so ill defined it's basically just a means of pissing off a lot of people for no reason.

                        4 votes
                2. [2]
                  nukeman
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  I tend to think of “wokeness” (and the woke movement) as being a specific, American-derived strand of broader social justice movements.

                  I tend to think of “wokeness” (and the woke movement) as being a specific, American-derived strand of broader social justice movements.

                  1 vote
                  1. NaraVara
                    Link Parent
                    I like the Chinese term, Baizuo, (basically "White Leftist") for when discussing the tendency of Americans to generalize political and cultural dynamics that are particular to here as if they're...

                    I tend to think of “wokeness” (and the woke movement) as being a specific, American-derived strand of broader social justice movements.

                    I like the Chinese term, Baizuo, (basically "White Leftist") for when discussing the tendency of Americans to generalize political and cultural dynamics that are particular to here as if they're human universals. (e.g. Americans trying to tell British people that police forces were originally slave patrols).

                    But, in general, I dislike this sort of cultural scorekeeping where every argument is just evaluated on the basis of which "side" you're on or what "agenda" you serve. It's essentialist, for one, and it makes it basically impossible to reach mutual understanding on anything.

                    4 votes
      3. EscReality
        Link Parent
        She is very liberal. Emily's coverage was what I watched through out the entire trial (I love her sas) and she often champions liberal ideals.

        Emily D. Baker

        She is very liberal.

        Emily's coverage was what I watched through out the entire trial (I love her sas) and she often champions liberal ideals.

        2 votes
  2. [11]
    JXM
    Link
    Okay, so I will preface this comment by saying that I have actively not followed this whole saga. But it seems to me like a marital spat that spilled out into our court systems because both sides...

    Okay, so I will preface this comment by saying that I have actively not followed this whole saga.

    But it seems to me like a marital spat that spilled out into our court systems because both sides have a grudge and, more importantly, money to spend on a trial like this.

    All I can say is that it seems like an incredible waste of the judicial system's resources to deal with a trial like this civilly. If there was abuse, it should be dealt with criminally.

    I could be wrong. Like I said, I'm only going on what is in this article, so I could be missing something.

    4 votes
    1. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      If Heard was telling the truth about the physical and sexual abuse, I agree that ideally it should have been handled criminally. However if she has been lying about all the abuse in order to...

      If Heard was telling the truth about the physical and sexual abuse, I agree that ideally it should have been handled criminally. However if she has been lying about all the abuse in order to defame Depp (which she was just found guilty of), how exactly could that be handled criminally?

      11 votes
    2. [8]
      stu2b50
      Link Parent
      I'm not sure I really understand this take. So the situation is that Heard accuses Depp of domestic violence in columns to the Washington Post. Is here where it should be dealt with criminally?...

      All I can say is that it seems like an incredible waste of the judicial system's resources to deal with a trial like this civilly. If there was abuse, it should be dealt with criminally.

      I'm not sure I really understand this take. So the situation is that Heard accuses Depp of domestic violence in columns to the Washington Post.

      Is here where it should be dealt with criminally? Evidently, Heard would be unlikely to cooperate with a prosecution of Depp for that crime given that she could not prove that there was domestic violence to the preponderance of evidence, let alone beyond reasonable doubt, indicating that such evidence does not exist, nor does the act itself. I mean it seems a bit vacuous to suggest that, with hindsight, that Heard should have defamed Depp by writing the article.

      After that, Depp sues Heard for defamation for those articles, and Heard counter-sues for libel due to statements from Depp's lawyers. Defamation is clearly a civil matter, and it's not like you can "clear" yourself from criminal charges that were not laid upon you, so I'm not sure there's much that can be redirected to the criminal court.


      For that matter, the public costs for a civil court are magnitudes less than a criminal case, so I'm not sure that makes sense either. A criminal case involves the salary of public prosecutors, the police that are needed to collect evidence, whole bunch of paperwork by clerks from the government, and possibly a public defender (although probably not given the two parties here).

      On the other hand, in a civil case it's just going to be expensive lawyers spending hours and hours making depositions, collecting evidence, building the case, filing documents, all on the payroll of the Depp and Heard. A minority of the case will be actually in trial, where I suppose the time and salary of the judge, bailiffs, and the space are being used up. But 99% of the costs will be funded by Depp and Heard, and it will be the time of private lawyers.

      5 votes
      1. [7]
        psi
        Link Parent
        I don't necessarily agree with /u/JXM that this trial was a waste of judicial resources; however, I will point out that you can't only measure the cost in dollars – you also need to measure the...

        I don't necessarily agree with /u/JXM that this trial was a waste of judicial resources; however, I will point out that you can't only measure the cost in dollars – you also need to measure the cost in time. Judges were already overworked pre-pandemic, and Covid-19 has only exacerbated this reality, with cases that once took months to get to trial now taking a year or more. This particular trial was something like a month long – that's a month that could've been used trying a different case.

        2 votes
        1. [6]
          streblo
          Link Parent
          But that's kind a moot point unless you think swaths of cases should be actively turned away. Nurses and doctors are also overworked, should we take issue with their particular patients showing up...

          This particular trial was something like a month long – that's a month that could've been used trying a different case.

          But that's kind a moot point unless you think swaths of cases should be actively turned away. Nurses and doctors are also overworked, should we take issue with their particular patients showing up at the ER as well instead of the broader issue of public funding and staffing?

          6 votes
          1. [5]
            psi
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            If patients were showing up to the ER for frivolous reasons (e.g., a paper cut), we absolutely should take issue with that. Again, I don't mean to suggest that this particular suit is comparable,...

            should we take issue with their particular patients showing up at the ER as well[?]

            If patients were showing up to the ER for frivolous reasons (e.g., a paper cut), we absolutely should take issue with that. Again, I don't mean to suggest that this particular suit is comparable, just that not all suits are created equal. Moreover, this isn't merely an academic question – a recent Supreme Court decision allows plaintiffs to sue exclusively for nominal damages as small as $1. [1]

            instead of the broader issue of public funding and staffing?

            I absolutely agree that we should significantly expand the judiciary. But even if we were to double or triple the size, there would still be a backlog of cases.

            Edit: I don't want to suggest that I'm playing devil's advocate for the hell of it. I'm honestly undecided whether this was a waste of judicial resources or not. On the one hand, there's a straightforward argument for why it's not – namely the ~$10 million award to Depp. That's not nothing.

            On the other hand, my general impression is similar to /u/JXM's. I don't believe Depp. But I also don't believe Heard either. I think they were in a toxic relationship that drove them to do terrible things to each other. Obviously one person is likely more at fault (who and to what extend, I don't know), but overall this feels like a toxic relationship spilling out into the court room. And in that sense, this does feel like a waste of time because a suit won't resolve the fundamental issues with their relationship. Rather, they both just need to move on.


            1. "Supreme Court Backs Georgia College Student’s Free Speech Suit." The New York Times.
            2 votes
            1. [4]
              stu2b50
              Link Parent
              I guess I'm just confused as to why that's what's supposedly being resolved. They already divorced, this isn't marriage counseling. The situation was that Heard wrote articles which absolutely had...

              And in that sense, this does feel like a waste of time because a suit won't resolve the fundamental issues with their relationship. Rather, they both just need to move on.

              I guess I'm just confused as to why that's what's supposedly being resolved. They already divorced, this isn't marriage counseling.

              The situation was that Heard wrote articles which absolutely had a material impact on Depp's life and career - it can be directly linked to his removal from two movies.

              So if what Heard alleged was not true, then Depp should not simply "move on" with his destroyed career and image. That seems kind of ridiculous. Now, that does not scope creep out to abusive behavior in general, but specifically the allegations in the op-eds.

              On the other hand, if Heard was correct, then, well, it was true, and that's that.

              The defamation is the fundamental question of the case. To prove and disprove defamation, their relationship was deeply investigated, but only for the purpose of answering the fundamental question. It's not like the case was about mediating their relationship. It was about whether or not Heard lied in an article with malicious intent to damage Depp.

              In that respect, if you take the court's decision as what really happened (which, to be fair, isn't necessarily the case; you only need the preponderance of evidence in a civil case), then what was resolved is that Depp is awarded some amount of the money he had lost as a result of that reputational damage, and "cleared" his name (more as a side-effect, civil suits aren't for clearing anything).

              The issue of their relationship was solved by the two of them divorcing and never seeing each other again by choice.

              7 votes
              1. [3]
                psi
                Link Parent
                You're right to call out that particular part of my post -- clearly it doesn't apply if Heard defamed Depp. But I don't think this is as straightforward as you're making it out to be, either. In...

                And in that sense, this does feel like a waste of time because a suit won't resolve the fundamental issues with their relationship. Rather, they both just need to move on.

                I guess I'm just confused as to why that's what's supposedly being resolved. They already divorced, this isn't marriage counseling.

                You're right to call out that particular part of my post -- clearly it doesn't apply if Heard defamed Depp. But I don't think this is as straightforward as you're making it out to be, either. In my view, there are a couple options:

                1. Heard defamed Depp (or vice versa), in which case the suit was meritorious for all the reasons you listed (or for similar reasons).

                2. Depp strategically sued Heard (or vice versa) in order to clear his (her) name, despite his (her) guilt, in which case the lawsuit was an abuse of the judicial process. If this is the case, you can't sever their relationship from the suit/countersuit -- the entire point would be redeeming oneself by hurting the other person.

                In that respect, if you take the court's decision as what really happened

                Well, that's the rub, isn't it -- which court should we believe? In the US, Depp did not abuse Heard, but in the UK he did. We have two incompatible, judicially-decided versions of the truth.

                then what was resolved is that Depp is awarded some amount of the money he had lost as a result of that reputational damage, and "cleared" his name

                Yes, this is my point -- did Depp sue for the money, or did he sue to clear his name (in the court of public opinion)? Clearly Depp won in the court of public opinion, which would've been true regardless of the legal outcome. If Depp sued because Heard defamed him, then his lawsuit was just; but if he did it only to clear his name despite Heard speaking truthfully, then this lawsuit was absolutely an extension of their toxic relationship.

                1. [2]
                  stu2b50
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  I mean that's not really how it works. In the US, it was determined there was sufficient evidence to prove that Heard did knowingly lie with malicious intent to damage Depp's image. In the UK, it...

                  Well, that's the rub, isn't it -- which court should we believe? In the US, Depp did not abuse Heard, but in the UK he did. We have two incompatible, judicially-decided versions of the truth.

                  I mean that's not really how it works. In the US, it was determined there was sufficient evidence to prove that Heard did knowingly lie with malicious intent to damage Depp's image. In the UK, it was determined that there was not enough evidence to prove that Heard knowingly lied.

                  While the former implies that the evidence indicated that Depp did not abuse Heard, at least in the specific manor in the op-ed, the later does not imply that Depp did abuse Heard.

                  Clearly Depp won in the court of public opinion, which would've been true regardless of the legal outcome. If Depp sued because Heard defamed him, then his lawsuit was just; but if he did it only to clear his name despite Heard speaking truthfully, then this lawsuit was absolutely an extension of their toxic relationship.

                  Sure, and that seems like something to be determined in court. So, thus indicating it is worthy of being tried, since the conclusion is by no means obvious, and it is not obviously frivolous from the get-go. There are mechanisms, especially given the court that this was tried in, by which Heard could extract her own punitive and restorative measures if the case was such that Depp's suit had no merit (and she did indeed counter-sue in this case).


                  So in terms of the fundamental questions of this discussion, this is what I think

                  1. Was this trial worthy of going to court?

                  Yes. The conclusion is not obvious, it is not obviously frivolous nor a SLAPP suit from both the outset and in hindsight.

                  It is a serious matter, where the allegations from Heard has demonstrably cost Depp millions in pay from the productions from which he was fired from as a result of those allegations. It is not as if Depp sued Heard for being mean.

                  1. Did it resolve anything?

                  Yes. Depp has non-trivial monetary damages awarded to him and despite being a civil case, the result will likely allow him to resume his career.

                  1. Was it a waste of time?

                  No, non-trivial damages were awarded at the end of it.

                  5 votes
                  1. psi
                    Link Parent
                    I don't disagree with the rest of your post, and I think it's reasonably clear, so forgive me if I don't respond to it. That said... This part isn't correct -- in the UK, the burden of proof is on...

                    I don't disagree with the rest of your post, and I think it's reasonably clear, so forgive me if I don't respond to it. That said...

                    I mean that's not really how it works. In the US, it was determined there was sufficient evidence to prove that Heard did knowingly lie with malicious intent to damage Depp's image. In the UK, it was determined that there was not enough evidence to prove that Heard knowingly lied.

                    This part isn't correct -- in the UK, the burden of proof is on the defendant, and there is no need to prove malicious intent (i.e., that Heard knowingly lied). In contrast, in the US the burden of proof is on the plaintiff and they must also prove malicious intent. In fact, the UK is well known for having strong libel laws (this is where the term libel tourism comes from).

                    Therefore it should have hypothetically been much easier for Depp to win his case in the UK, yet he did not.

    3. [2]
      Comment removed by site admin
      Link Parent
      1. JXM
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        That's not what my comment said at all. I said that I haven't been following it and that I had read the article linked above. My comment was based on what is contained in the article, since I have...

        "I know nothing about the facts of the case or what has been going but I am going to have a hard opinion on it anyway".

        That's not what my comment said at all. I said that I haven't been following it and that I had read the article linked above. My comment was based on what is contained in the article, since I have not been following the trial.

        Should we not comment unless we are an expert on a subject?

        And my opinion was anything but "hard". I'm open to having my mind changed if I learn something new (I think that's pretty clear from my comment - I literally said I could be wrong).

        As for what I said, I'm not sure what doesn't make sense. One of Heard's main allegations was that Depp was physically abusive to her. I think that if there was a criminal act (i.e., abuse), then it should have been dealt with in a criminal court. I realize that women face extremely high barriers for these types of trials and it isn't always an option though.

        Edit: To clarify, I didn't follow the trial because I don't think following the day to day of any trial is a good idea. It's much easier to get lost in the "who won today" mentality of Court TV era ratings chasing.

        6 votes
  3. [4]
    psi
    Link
    "Why Johnny Depp lost his libel case in the U.K. but won in the U.S." The Washington Post. People following this case are likely aware that there was a similar-ish UK suit in which Depp sued the...

    People following this case are likely aware that there was a similar-ish UK suit in which Depp sued the Sun for accusing him of being a wife-beater. Depp lost that case.

    What's surprising is that defamation cases brought by public figures are generally much easier to win in the UK. In the UK, you only need to prove the accusation is false; in the US, you need to prove the accusation is false and made with "actual malice", i.e. knowingly false. That is, in the US you need to prove that the accuser isn't merely mistaken but actually lying – a much harder claim to evaluate, since you now need to understand the defendant's state of mind.

    This article argues that the opposite outcomes stemmed from the different arbiters: in the US, a jury decided the trial; in the UK, a judge.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      It should be noted that WaPo reps (along with ACLU reps) contributed to the defamatory Op-ed at issue in this US case, and WaPo then published it. And so IMO this latest "Why Depp lost in UK"...

      It should be noted that WaPo reps (along with ACLU reps) contributed to the defamatory Op-ed at issue in this US case, and WaPo then published it. And so IMO this latest "Why Depp lost in UK" article by them (and several others they have published about both cases) should be taken with a massive grain of salt, since they have a pretty clear conflict of interest. And also IMO, the "experts" quoted in that article have greatly oversimplified the UK case, and so WaPo are once again spreading questionable information about this issue, potentially in an attempt to undermine this US verdict in order to cover their own asses.

      If you want a much more thorough breakdown of the UK trial, from someone who recently reviewed it and its several hundred page verdict, and actually knows WTF he is talking about when it comes to UK law and court procedures (being a Barrister in England/Wales), I suggest watching BlackBeltBarrister's discussion of the UK case on LegalBytes' channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUjJqNcV7wE#t=5m28s


      TL;DW (it is a very long video, and they get sidetracked often, so I don't blame anyone for not watching it all)
      IANAL, so I could be misinterpreting some things from the video, but AFAIK - In the UK case, The Sun tabloid et al. were the defendants, NOT Amber Heard, so the scope of the trial was much more restricted, and so was the evidence and testimony allowed to be presented. In the UK, the court was also much more hesitant to compel testimony and evidence, given the limited scope of the trial. So many of the people who testified, both witnesses and experts, in the US were not allowed to testify in the UK, and much of the evidence presented in the US was not presented in the UK. And ultimately The Sun only needed to prove they didn't knowingly publish a falsity, or rather, Depp had to try to prove that they did. Whether Heard actually told the truth was only a tertiary issue, and the judge even fully admitted in his verdict that he simply took her at her word, and also chose not to view her guilty plea to making false statements to authorities in Australia as relevant enough to affect her credibility. Whereas whether Heard has been telling the truth was at the heart of the US case.

      So these are two very different cases, especially since Heard counter-sued in the US which broadened the case significantly, and that allowed a much more thorough examination and rebuttal of her claims, and the evidence.

      cc: @stu2b50 and @HotPants since you're both speaking about the UK case too, but are also potentially a bit confused about the differences between the two.

      11 votes
      1. HotPants
        Link Parent
        Interesting. Thanks for posting that. I didn't realize the UK case was Depp vs Sun. That changes things. While I am largely ignorant of the details, I was interested in the BBC's take on it, they...

        Interesting.

        Thanks for posting that. I didn't realize the UK case was Depp vs Sun. That changes things.

        While I am largely ignorant of the details, I was interested in the BBC's take on it, they are a fairly respectable news organization & presumably have lawyers who specialize in UK libel law.

        2 votes
    2. HotPants
      Link Parent
      What is surprising (if you already knew that the US provides greater protections against defamation - because of 1st amendment yo) is that Depp lost in the UK then won in the US. The lawyers had...

      What is surprising (if you already knew that the US provides greater protections against defamation - because of 1st amendment yo) is that Depp lost in the UK then won in the US.

      The lawyers had an easier time convincing the jury in America that Heard was malicious and lied, and had a harder time convincing a UK judge that Heard simply lied.

      https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-61673676

      In both the UK and the US trial, Mr Depp's lawyers argued that Ms Heard was lying - to make their case, they attacked her character and claimed that she was in fact the abusive partner.

      This is a common defence tactic in sexual assault and domestic violence trials called "deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender" or "Darvo", said Mr Stephens.

      The strategy turns the tables on the alleged victim, shifting the conversation away from "did the accused commit abuse" to "is the alleged victim believable".

      "They deny that they did anything, they deny they're the real perpetrator, and they attack the credibility of the individual calling out the abuse, and then reverse the rolls of the victim and the offender," Mr Stephens said.

      In the UK trial, Mr Stephens said the judge recognised that strategy, and dismissed a lot of the evidence that did not directly address whether Mr Depp committed assault or not.

      There is an interesting book on how to lie with statistics, that shows people are really bad at figuring out which is more likely

      a. Amber Heard lied about Depp hitting her
      b. Amber Heard has a pattern of malicious behavior, including false accusations of assault of previous partners, and continued pattern of lying about Depp, and this continued with her falsely accusing Depp of hitting her.

      A is more likely than B, but B just sounds so much more likely, especially if you throw a lot of evidence into the mix that is completely unrelated to a.

      2 votes