The court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has come to an end, one of the biggest celebrity stories of recent years due to the notoriety of both parties involved. Amber Heard was found liable and ordered to pay a total of $15 million for defaming Johnny Depp as the author of an op-ed in The Washington Post. Heard was awarded $2 million for a counterclaim his attorneys filed in the lawsuit.
Depp originally sued Heard for defamation over the Washington Post op-ed in 2018. Depp’s legal team was seeking $50 million in compensation for damage caused by the item.
The jury found that Heard defamed Depp but she was ordered to pay far less than the full $50 million.
What would have happened if Amber Heard had won the lawsuit?
Had Heard been found by the jury to not have defamed Depp, she would have avoided paying damages.
However, there was also the possibility that Heard could have received an eye-watering sum in a subsequent court case involving both ex-spouses.
Although the current case was originally brought by Depp, legal team representing Heard counter-sued for $100 million. They claimed Dep defamed the actress when her own legal team described Heard’s account of events as “false” and a “sexual violence hoax”.
Previously, Depp’s lawyers tried to have the counterclaim dismissed by the courts, but Judge Penney Azcarate denied the claim. On the counterclaim, Heard was awarded $2 million.
No possibility that Depp or Heard received a prison sentence
Regardless of the outcome, there was no chance that Johnny Depp or Amber Heard would receive a prison sentence, or even a criminal charge, following the court’s decision. This is because the current case is a civil trial, not a criminal one, and neither party is on trial for criminal charges.
In a civil case, one entity (the plaintiff) accuses another (the defendant) of wrongdoing or wrongdoing, without bringing criminal charges against them. When a person is prosecuted for their actions, a civil action is brought.
Basically, the burden of proof is significantly different for a civil case. Rather than having to prove wrongdoing beyond a reasonable doubt, the plaintiff simply has to show that the balance of probabilities in the case is in their favour.
A successful plaintiff will usually receive some form of compensation from the defendant.