Jurors for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Blockbuster defamation trial Legal experts told The Washington Post that even if the celebrity doesn’t show sympathy, it could result in a huge cash sentence for the winning party.
For five weeks, seven jurors have been hearing Hollywood’s right questions and being told about their blockbuster payday and jet-setting lifestyle, including Depp’s private island in the Bahamas.
“Usually people look at these two and think there are more sympathetic figures to worry about than Johnny Depp’s ex-wife,” said Virginia-based libel attorney Jeremy Denton.
Still, Denton and other experts say that probably won’t stop a jury from awarding huge damages.
“They might be really apathetic, but they might come back and say, mathematically, I’ve probably lost at least $25 million in future earnings,” Denton said. “Then it’s hard for you to refuse it.”
Depp, 58 Forensic accountant Michael Spindler testified At the Fairfax, Va., trial, Hurd lost $40 million in lost earnings after he called himself a “public figure representing domestic abuse” in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed.
His talent manager, Jack Whigham, also stepped up Article that says Hurd seals $22.5 million deal Continuing his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series with Disney.
Hurd has yet to call witnesses to discuss her alleged $100 million financial damage, as she claims Depp and his lawyers defamed her when they denied her allegations of abuse. Although on Thursday, Hurd’s agent, Jessica Kovacevic, testified that Hurd’s career prospects took a nosedive after claiming she lied.
Even if Depp or Hurd prove they were defamed, they would have to prove that the defamation caused financial damages totaling $50 million and $100 million, respectively.
Katherine Lizardo, a Texas civil attorney, agrees that hearing about celebrities’ lives may make jurors less sympathetic, but points out that jurors may focus on larger issues involved in the case, including perjury, defamation and family Violence.
“The average person may not be as sympathetic when the parties are rich or have more money than they do,” Lizardo told the Post. “But I think in this case the jury might consider awarding damages to the person who wins the defamation suit because there are significant issues here.”
Lawyers say the jury may want to send a “message” to those who lose the case.
“The jury might say that one of them committed real malice…they’re going to say you’ve seriously damaged the reputation of the other person, and now you’ve made us sit here and listen to all of this for the past six weeks, they It might be uncomfortable to say that,” Lizardo said.
“I think the jury is very engaged in this,” she added. “If they’re going to get mad, I think it’s not about money anymore, it’s about Johnny Depp and Amber Heard of principle.”
On the other hand, jurors may not want to award a large prize to an actor who is apparently already wealthy, Virginia attorney Denton noted.
“Because they’re privileged actors who live their lives they don’t know what the financial needs are, a jury can say ‘what are they doing here with wasting time?’ and reward one of them with a dollar,” Denton said, noting that he Knowing of at least one Virginia case, a jury awarded a paltry dollar to send a message.
On Thursday, in the fifth week of the trial, jurors heard Depp’s former business partner Joel Mandel testify about how the actor spent $10,000 a day on a security guard and hired doctors and nurses to help him stay awake — Up to $100,000 per month.
In Mandel’s testimony, Ian Runkle, a Canadian attorney unrelated to the case who was sitting in on the trial while working in Virginia, said he saw “some [the jurors] Writing and some expressions about the lives of huge celebrities. “
Runkel said jurors were “very deadpan,” but noted they seemed “inclined to” [Depp’s] direction. By the end of Heard’s direct show, they appeared to have “checked out”, he said.
Denton explained that no matter which side loses, there may be an appeal. But even if the verdict is very high compared to previous defamation jury verdicts in Virginia, the court is likely to uphold that number because of their high income.
“Because these people are earning so much, there’s a good chance that the tens of millions of dollars in bonuses will be maintained,” Denton told The Washington Post.
He also explained that the case cannot be accurately compared to previous defamation cases and jury verdicts in Virginia.
“The court has actually made it very clear that you can’t compare one defamation judgment to another because the moving parts are so different, the factors are so different,” Denton said. “There may not be another defamation case in our book — at least in Virginia — involving a famous movie star who makes millions a year. It makes a big difference.”
Representatives for Depp and Heard declined to comment.