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What happens if Johnny Depp loses the trial against Amber Heard?

The high-profile trial ended on Friday and jurors are now given time to deliberate. Depp could face a counter suit if the jury dismisses his lawsuit.

Will Depp lose?
Drew AngererGetty

The jurors in the civil case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are currently on a three-day recess for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but are expected to resume their deliberations on Tuesday.

The trial has gripped public attention and could prove a significant precedent for domestic abuse victims. It could be a few more days until the jury return a final verdict, but what could it mean for Depp if his defamation lawsuit is rejected?

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Depp will not receive the lucrative pay-out

In suing Heard, Depp is demanding a payment of $50 million for loss of earnings, due to an article his ex-wife authored in The Washington Post in 2018. She described herself as a “public figure representing domestic abuse” and Depp’s legal team claim that the actor has lost a significant amount of income due to the insinuation that he was the abuser.

If the jury dismisses his civil claim then he will not receive the lucrative payday and Heard will not be ordered to pay his, presumably fairly costly, legal fees.

It is also possible that the jury could find that Depp is entitled to some money for loss of income, but that the figure of $50 million is excessive. In this instance, he could be awarded a smaller sum.

More legal wrangling could be on the way after a Depp defeat

Even if he loses in the civil court case in Fairfax, Virginia, Depp could still choose to lodge an appeal against the decision. However it is difficult to see how this could be effective unless any significant new evidence or testimony emerges post-trial.

More likely is that Heard will sue Depp for taking the matter for court. In fact Heard has already lodged a $100 million counter suit against her ex-husband alleging that he defamed her in the course of his suit. Depp’s legal team described the claims as “fake” and a “sexual violence hoax”.

As is the case with Depp’s lawsuit, the jury in that counter-claim could also decide that the figure of $100 million is not justified and award Heard a smaller, or even larger, amount of compensation.