Johnny Depp, Amber Heard lawyers meet in court ahead of final verdict

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard lawyers meet in court ahead of final verdict

  • Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s lawyers face each other in court again.
  • You have one last chance to reach an agreement before the judge finalizes the jury’s verdict.
  • A lawyer for Depp previously suggested a settlement could be on the table after Heard’s lawyer said she could not pay the $8 million owed.

On Friday, the lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard will once again face off in a court session to decide whether the two actors will prolong their legal battle or settle it once and for all.

On June 1, a jury returned a verdict finding that they defamed each other. It skewed heavily in Depp’s favor. Of his three claims against Heard, the jury said he proved all of them and deserved $15 million in damages (a number the judge reduced for legal reasons). Of Heard’s three lawsuits against Depp, the jury gave her only one win, saying she should receive $2 million in damages.

But Judge Penney Azcarate, who oversaw the trial, did not record the jury’s verdict on the record.

Instead, she said she will do it on Friday June 24 – unless the two parties agree on a settlement.

Benjamin Chew, an attorney representing Depp, suggested a settlement could be on the table. In an interview with Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos, Chew said Depp could agree to a settlement waiving damages if Heard agrees not to appeal the case.

“We obviously cannot disclose attorney-client communications, but as Mr. Depp testified and as we both made clear in our respective financial statements, Mr. Depp was never about money,” Chew said. “This was about restoring his reputation and he did that.”

Elaine Bredehoft, an attorney representing Heard, told NBC’s Today that Heard couldn’t afford the $8 million she owed Depp and that she plans to appeal the case. In a separate interview with the Today show, Heard said she stands by her testimony in the defamation suit.

A comparison could also take another form. The parties may agree to remove some of the defamation claims from the judgment, reduce or eliminate the damages owed, or streamline the payment process by having Heard pay Depp $8.35 million instead of making her pay the $10.35 million, which she owes to Depp and for Depp to pay Heard $2 million in a separate transaction.

Representatives for both Depp and Heard declined to comment on the settlement negotiations.

Depp sued Heard in March 2019, alleging that she defamed him by publishing a Washington Post op-ed describing herself as a victim of domestic violence. Heard filed a countersuit, alleging that Depp abused her before and during their marriage, which ended in 2016, and defamed him through testimony from his attorney, in which he called her claims a “hoax.” Both celebrities testified in their six-week trial at the Fairfax County, Virginia courthouse.

At Friday’s 11 a.m. hearing, Azcarate may also accept oral arguments from either side about the jury’s verdict. Depp and Heard are not required to be in the courtroom in person during the hearing, Azcarate’s clerk Samy Abdallah told Insider.

If the two don’t reach an agreement and Azcarate accepts the jury’s verdict, the case will go before the Virginia Circuit Court of Appeals after 21 days, Abdallah told Insider. At this point, the parties have 30 days to lodge a complaint.

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