- A jury largely sided with Johnny Depp in his defamation trial with Amber Heard on Wednesday.
- Experts told Insider that Heard lost because she wasn’t believable on the stand, and isn’t as big a star.
- “The jurars loved him, the public loved him, everyone on social media loved him.”
Amber Heard lost her defamation case with Johnny Depp because she didn’t come off as credible, and lacks her ex-husband’s star power, experts told Insider hours after the verdict was announced on Wednesday.
Depp took Heard to trial, claiming she ruined his reputation by insinuating in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed that she had been the victim of domestic violence. Heard countersued, and spent several days on the stand describing multiple incidents where she said Depp and sexually assaulted her during their relationship.
On Wednesday, the jury in the case largely sided with Depp, finding that Heard defamed Depp on all three statements that she was sued over, and awarded Depp a total of $15 million in damages. The jury also found Depp defamed Heard, but only on one of the three statements that she sued him over, and awarded Heard just $2 million in damages.
Following the verdict, Insider spoke to two legal experts who broke down where they thought Heard’s case went wrong.
Neama Rahmani, President of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told Insider that he felt Heard had a credibility problem.
“She lost because she lied and she exaggerated in a case that was all about likability and credibility,” Rahmani said. “Depp was the much more likable and credible witness. The jurors loved him, the public loved him, everyone on social media loved him. And now Amber Heard is one of the most despised women in America. Instead of being the face of the # MeToo movement, she’s the face of a false accusation.”
Rahmani said Heard appeared to lie about “things she didn’t need to lie about,” and that cost her credibility in the end. He specifically referenced how Heard maintained that she never leaked video of one of her arguments with Depp to TMZ, or tipped off the paparazzi that she would be appearing in court with a bruised face to take out a restraining order against Depp. Rahmani said it was also hard to believe Heard’s side of the story on why she never fulfilled her pledge to donate her divorce settlement from Depp to charity.
The pictures of Heard’s injuries also didn’t line up with her graphic descriptions of Depp’s alleged beatings, Rahmani said.
“She told jurors that she thought Depp was going to kill her. Heard told the jurors that Depp kicked her so many times she lost count. She’s talking about an attempted murder or felony assault and the pictures, at best, support misdemeanor battery,” Rahmani said.
“When someone is lying and exaggerating, jurors can disregard their testimony entirely and they did and they punished her,” Rahmani added.
David Ring, a partner at the Los Angeles-based law firm Taylor & Ring, agreed that Heard “lost credibility” during the trial.
“Some of the testimony just wasn’t credible, it seemed over-exaggerated and overdone,” he said.
But Ring also said that the case may have come down to who had the bigger star power, and it was clear Depp won in that department.
“I think Johnny Depp is obviously the bigger star and I don’t say that facetiously. I think star power in a courtroom is incredibly important,” Ring said. “I think stars like that win the vast majority of the time, and obviously, Johnny Depp is a charismatic guy. The jury overlooked all his flaws, the really horrible behavior. They set all that aside and said she defamed him and awarded him a lot of money.”
“I just don’t think she was as likable as Johnny Depp,” Ring added. “I’m not going out on a limb saying that either. The jury had to pick one or the other and they went for Johnny Depp. Johnny Depp won in the court of public opinion, he won in the courtroom, and he’s going to win going forward with this.”