We’re officially one full day into deliberations for Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard, and so far — the jury has already asked for clarification on one issue … and it has to do with Amber.
The jury came back wanting some guidance on how to handle Johnny’s defamation claims. You’ll recall he’s suing over three statements in particular that were featured in AH’s op-ed — and the jurors wanna know whether they’re supposed to look at the headline in isolation, or as part of the entire op-ed.
The headline they’re referring to is the one that appeared in the digital version of the 2018 WaPo piece … “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.”
The jury’s query to the court — “Does question number three — “The statement is false” — pertain to the headline … or does it pertain to the content of the statement and everything written in the op-ed?”
The answer from Judge Penney Azcarate was to look at the headline in isolation as its own statement and to decide if it, by itself, is defamatory, without considering the full context of the op-ed. Now that they got their answer, the jury continues to deliberate … so far, they’re about 10 hours deep, total.
FWIW, the other two allegedly defamatory statements have to do with Amber calling herself a “public figure representing domestic abuse” and saying she had the “rare vantage point of seeing, in real time, how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”
It’s interesting the jury came back with this … it seems to harken back to something Amber’s attorney, Ben Rottenborn, argued in closing — namely, even if the jury doesn’t buy all of Amber’s claims … her statements in the op-ed are still technically true on their face. He says she did, in fact, speak up and she did, in fact, become a public figure representing DV.
Rottenborn also invoked the First Amendment in his closing argument — saying Amber had every right to speak on her own personal experience.
Oh, and while JD and AH weren’t in court today — their attorneys certainly were. Handling business for their clients, obviously. Even in deliberations, they’re as busy as ever.
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