How much money does Amber Heard have to pay Johnny Depp for losing the trial?
The court case between the two actors has concluded, with Heard being found to have defamed Depp and ordered to pay $15 million in total.
The court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has reached the end, one of the biggest celebrity stories in recent years due to the high profile of both parties involved. Amber Heard has been found liable and ordered to pay a total $15 million for having defamed Johnny Depp in in the authorship of an op-ed in The Washington Post. Heard was awarded $2 million for a counterclaim her lawyers filed in the suit.
Depp initially sued Heard for defamation regardingt the op-ed published in the Washington Post in 2018. Depp’s legal team were claiming $50 million in compensation for the damages caused by the article.
The jury found that Heard did defame Depp but she was ordered to pay far less than the full $50 million.
What would have happened if Amber Heard had won the court case?
If Heard had been found by the jury not to have defamed Depp then she would have avoided paying any damages.
There was, however, also the possibility that Heard could have been awarded an eye-watering sum in a subsequent court case involving the two former spouses.
Although the current case was initially brought by Depp, the legal team representing Heard counter-sued for $100 million. They claimed that Dep defamed the actress when his own legal team described Heard’s account of events as “fake” and a “sexual violence hoax.”
Earlier Depp’s lawyers had attempted to get the courts to dismiss the counter-claim, but Judge Penney Azcarate rejected the claim. On the counterclaim Heard was awarded $2 million.
No possibility Depp or Heard could have received a prison sentence
Regardless of the outcome, there was no chance that either Johnny Depp or Amber Heard could receive a prison sentence, or even get a criminal charge, as a result of the court’s decision. That is because the ongoing case is a civil trial, not a criminal case, and neither party is being tried on any criminal charges.
A civil court case sees one entity (the plaintiff) accuse another (the defendant) of some wrongdoing or harmful act, without bringing a criminal charge against them. When someone is sued for their actions, a civil case is brought.
Crucially, the burden of proof is significantly different for a civil case. Rather than having to prove wrongdoing beyond any reasonable doubt, the plaintiff simply has to show that the balance of probability in the case sides with them.
A successful plaintiff will typically receive some form of compensation from the defendant.