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Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard: when is the verdict of the trial?

The case between the former Hollywood couple will soon be judged upon, one in which Depp is suing Heard for accusations of domestic abuse.

Update:
US actor Johnny Depp waves as he departs at the end of the day of a defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 5, 2022. - Actor Johnny Depp is suing ex-wife Amber Heard for libel after she wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post in 2018 referring to herself as a public figure representing domestic abuse. (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO / POOL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JIM LO SCALZO / POOL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
JIM LO SCALZO / POOLGetty

Hollywood actors and former husband and wife Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have been embroiled in an ugly lawsuit for several weeks, but we are edging ever closer to its conclusion. Having started on 12 April, the trial has been put on hold by the judge but is soon to resume.

Why are Depp and Heard in court?

The star best known as the protagonist in the Pirates of the Caribbean films is suing Heard, 36, for $50 million, saying she defamed him when she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse. Heard has counter-sued for $100 million, arguing Depp smeared her by calling her a liar.

The case hinges on a December 2018 opinion piece Heard authored in the Washington Post. The article never mentioned Depp by name, but his lawyer told jurors it was clear Heard was referencing him. The couple’s divorce was finalized in 2017 after less than two years of marriage.

Depp, once among Hollywood’s biggest stars, said Heard’s allegations cost him “everything.” A new “Pirates” movie was put on hold, and Depp was replaced in the “Fantastic Beasts” film franchise, a “Harry Potter” spinoff.

Heard’s attorneys have argued that she told the truth and that her opinion was protected free speech under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. A state court judge in Virginia’s Fairfax County, outside the nation’s capital, is overseeing the trial,

As a precursor to this, less than two years ago, Depp lost a libel case against the Sun, a British tabloid that labeled him a “wife beater.” A London High Court judge ruled he had repeatedly assaulted Heard. Depp’s lawyers have said they filed the U.S. case in Fairfax County because the Washington Post is printed there, although it is worth noting that the newspaper is not a defendant.

When will the verdict be announced?

The trial, which is before a jury, was supposed to take up five weeks and, given the start date of early April, this should have seen a verdict confirmed around Thursday 12 May.

However, since Judge Penney S Azcarate had already scheduled an engagement from 9-12 May, the new end date is expected to be Thursday 19 May, after a pause of one week. Of course, how long it takes the jury to come to a final decision is uncertain, but when they do we will learn the fate of the actors, specifically whether or not Heard defamed Depp in the Post’s article. If so, damages will almost certainly be awarded.

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