George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley said Wednesday that despite a verdict that clearly favored actor Johnny Depp, actress Amber Heard was not the only “loser” to emerge from their six-week defamation trial.
Turley, who served as an expert witness during former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, argued that in light of the jury’s verdict, the American Civil Liberties Union took a hit as well.
The jury declared Heard guilty of clearly and intentionally defaming Depp when she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post claiming that she was a victim of domestic violence — and Turley argued that because the ACLU was party to the op-ed, the organization also shared in some of the judgment.
“Depp walks away with a far greater victory in the rejection of Heard’s allegations. Another loser in this case is the ACLU, which helped write the defamatory column. This will magnify criticism of the role of the ACLU,” he explained.
“Depp was only found guilty for the statement of his agent. The jury also rejected any punitive award for that agent. With the reduction, Depp can walk with $10,3000,000,” Turley continued, noting that the court could still consider a reduction of the amount awarded by the jury.
“Even if Heard’s award stands, that still means that Heard is hit with an $8,300,000. Even though the punitive award was statutorily reduced, it showed that the jury not only disbelieved Heard but sought to impose added penalties in light of her conduct,” he added.
Turley went on to note that punitive damages were usually based on whether a jury saw credibility or culpability in the person on the stand, adding, “Here the jury clearly saw little credibility in Heard and an abundance of culpability.”
He concluded by saying that punitive damages were actually a lot less common than most people believed, and were only awarded in “around one percent of cases.”
This is an excerpt from The Daily Wire.
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