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“A ruling against Amber here sends a message that no matter what you do, as an abuse victim, you always have to do more,” Mr. Rottenborn said. “No matter what you document, you always have to document more. No matter who you tell, you always have to tell more people. ”

The publication that is at the heart of Mr. Depp’s complaint is Ms. Heard’s op-ed, which was spearheaded and prepared by the American Civil Liberties Union. Ms. Heard did not name Mr. Depp in the article, but he has argued that it clearly alluded to their relationship, damaged his reputation and “devastated” his acting career.

The jury is also charged with determining whether Mr. Depp defamed Ms. Heard in 2020 when a lawyer representing him made statements seeking to discredit her abuse accusations, including one that accused Ms. Heard and her friends of setting Mr. Depp up when one of them called the police to the couple’s home. (Before the call, Ms. Heard testified, Mr. Depp had thrown a phone at her at close range, hitting her in the face, which Mr. Depp denies.)

Ms. Heard’s lawsuit asserted that Mr. Depp, through those statements, “launched a nationwide campaign” to discredit her. Mr. Depp testified that he had not seen the statements at issue until the lawsuit was filed.

In a previous trial in London, a judge found that Mr. Depp had assaulted Ms. Heard repeatedly throughout their relationship. The 2020 trial in Britain revolved around a lawsuit Mr. Depp filed against News Group Newspapers, the publishers of The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper, and Dan Wootton, that newspaper’s executive editor, over a 2018 headline that called Mr. Depp and “wife beater.”

The jury verdict in this case must be unanimous, but the panel does not have to find the evidence convincing “beyond a reasonable doubt,” as in a criminal case. Each party has the burden of proving by the greater weight of the evidence that they had been defamed, and that there was clear and convincing evidence that the other side had acted with actual malice while defaming them.


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