Experts say that the trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard could bring a big verdict to the winner

Legal experts have weighed in on the explosive court battle between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard and are predicting a very unexpected outcome.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation jurors could return with a large monetary verdict in favor of the winning side – even if the celebrities don’t turn out to be sympathizers, legal experts have told The Post.

The seven jurors had heard about the feuding Hollywood couple’s troubles for five weeks and were told about their big movie money and jet lifestyle, including Depp’s private island in the Bahamas.

“Usually people look at these two and think there are more likeable characters to worry about than Johnny Depp’s ex-wife,” said Virginia defamation attorney Jeremy Denton.

Still, that may not stop jurors from awarding large damages, Denton and other experts say.

Depp sued Heard for $50 million (AU$67 million) for implying he was abusive towards her in 2018. Washington Post ed. Although she did not name him, he claims that her claims are false and have cost him lucrative film roles.

Heard countersued, seeking US$100 million (AU$134 million) and alleging that she had been subjected to “unrestrained physical abuse and abuse” at his hands.

“They can be very unsympathetic, but they can come back and say it’s mathematically probable that I’ve lost at least (US) $25 million in future income,” Denton said. “Well, then it’s kind of hard to turn your back on it.

Depp, 58, forced forensic accountant Michael Spindler to testify in a Fairfax, Virginia trial that he lost $40 million in income after Hurd’s murder. Washington Post a piece.

His talent manager Jack Whigham also spoke out, stating that Hurd’s essay led to a $22.5 million deal with Disney for Depp to continue as Captain Jack Sparrow in the film. Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Heard has yet to call a witness to discuss her alleged financial loss due to her allegations that Depp and his lawyer slandered her when they denied her allegations of abuse. However, on Thursday, Heard’s talent agent Jessica Kovacevich said that Heard’s career prospects had taken a turn for the worse after allegations that she was lying.

Even if Depp or Heard prove they were slandered, they must also prove that the slanderous statements resulted in financial losses of $50m (AU$67m) and $100m (AU$134m) respectively.

Texas civil litigation attorney Katherine Lizardo agreed that rumors about celebrity lives could make jurors less sympathetic, but noted that jurors may be interested in the larger issues raised in the case, including perjury, defamation and domestic violence.

“Ordinary people in general may be less sympathetic when the parties are rich or have more money than they are,” Lizardo said. Mail. “But I think there’s a chance in this situation that the jury might consider awarding damages to whoever wins the defamation suit because of the big issues here.”

The lawyer said the jury might want to send a “message” to whoever loses the case.

“The jury can say that one of them committed real malice … that they will say: “You seriously damaged the reputation of the other, and now you made us sit here and listen to all this for the last six weeks,” and they can get upset in this way, Lizardo said.

“I think the jury is very interested in this,” she added. “If they’re going to get upset, I think it’s not about the money right now, it’s about the principle for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.”

Denton, a Virginia lawyer, noted that, on the other hand, juries may be reluctant to award large sums to apparently wealthy actors.

“Because they’re privileged actors whose lives don’t know what financial need is, the jury can say, ‘What the hell are they wasting their time here?’ and award one of them a dollar,” Denton said, noting that he is aware of at least one case in Virginia where a jury awarded a meager amount for sending a message.

On Thursday, in the fifth week of the trial, jurors heard testimony from Depp’s former business partner Joel Mandel about how the actor was spending $10,000 (AU$14,000) a day on a security guard and hiring doctors and nurses to help him stay sober. – in the amount of 100,000 US dollars (142,000 Australian dollars) per month.

During Mandel’s testimony, Ian Runkle, an unrelated Canadian lawyer who oversees the trial while he is in Virginia on a job, said he saw “some of [the jurors] writing and some expressions regarding the big dollars of a mega-celebrity’s life.”

Runkle said the jurors were “very unperturbed” but noted that they seemed to be “leaning towards [Depp’s] direction.” And he said they seemed “tested” by the end of Heard’s live broadcast.

Denton explained that the side that loses is likely to appeal. But even if the award is very high compared to previous jury awards for defamation in Virginia, the court could still uphold that figure due to their large incomes.

“Because these people were generating such high returns, it’s possible that a very high bounty of tens of millions of dollars could be upheld,” Denton said. Mail.

He also explained that the case cannot be accurately compared to previous defamation cases and jury verdicts in Virginia.

“The court actually made it pretty clear that you can’t compare one defamation verdict to another because the moving parts are so different, the factors are so different,” Denton said. “We probably don’t have another defamation case in our books — at least in Virginia — involving a well-known movie star who makes many millions a year. It makes a huge difference.”

Representatives for Depp and Heard declined to comment.

This article originally appeared in New York Post and has been reproduced with permission.

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