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‘A setback for women’ – Amber Heard and Johnny Depp respond after jury awards him $15m and her $2m after mammoth defamation case

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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s sensational court showdown has come to a close, with a jury ruling in favour of the Pirates of the Caribbean star.

Heard was ordered to pay Depp $US10 million ($A14 million) in defamation compensatory damages and $US5 million ($A7m) in punitive damages after the jury decided she “acted with actual malice.”

However, Fairfax County Circuit Court Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages the jury awarded Depp to $US350,000 ($A487,000), the state’s statutory cap, making his total damages $US10.4m ($A14.49m).

The jury did agree with one aspect of Heard’s claim — that she was defamed by Depp’s lawyer — and awarded her $US2m ($A2.78m) in compensation and $0 in punitive fees.

A seven-person panel in Fairfax, Virginia, reached the decision Wednesday, local time after deliberations began on Friday.

It took them about 13 hours to reach a verdict.

He had a previously scheduled work commitment in the UK, according to sources.

The verdict was expected to be read at 3pm DC time which was 3am in Perth and 5am in the eastern states.

But as soon as the jurors returned, Judge Penny Azcarte sent them away again as they had failed to fill out the compensatory damages part of the form that was supposed to be filled in.

Depp and Heard react

Shortly after the verdict was announced, Heard released a statement, claiming she was “heartbroken”.

“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband,” she said.

“I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated.

“It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously. I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK. I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American — to speak freely and openly.”

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fatima ali, Journalist better known as fatima ali, is an Iraqi novelist and economic writer, in iraqi Governorate, and living in baghdad
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