Actor Hard said he was “out of the word” disappointed by a US jury ruling in a defamation suit filed against him by his ex-husband and actor Johnny Depp.
The jury on Wednesday found both Depp and Hard guilty of defamation – but strongly defended the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star after a fierce trial over allegations of bitter rivalry over domestic violence.
“The frustration I feel today is beyond words,” Hard said in a statement. “I am sorry that the mountain of evidence was not yet enough to stand up to my ex-husband’s disproportionate power, influence and dominance.
“I’m even more disappointed with what this ruling means for other women,” she said. “It’s a push. It reverts to the idea that violence against women should be taken seriously.”
A five-man, two-woman jury, after three days of deliberations, defamed Depp in an op-ed section and awarded him $ 10 million in damages and $ 5 million in punitive damages.
At the same time, the jury found that 58-year-old Depp had made defamatory claims against 36-year-old Hard and also paid him damages – but a much lower amount of $ 2 million.
I heard him roll his eyes, listening intently as the verdict was read out in Fairfax County Circuit Court near the U.S. capital – later declaring himself “heartbroken” by the results.
Depp, who has been in England for the past few days, was not in court for the verdict in a high-profile trial that relied on allegations of domestic violence and counter-claims among Hollywood celebrities.
However, in a statement, he welcomed the verdict.
“The jury gave me back my life,” he said. “From the beginning, the purpose of this lawsuit was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome.
“The best has not yet arrived and a new chapter has finally begun.”
Depp sued Hard for an op-ed for the Washington Post in December 2018, in which he described himself as a “public figure representing domestic violence.”
Hard, a Texas-born actor who starred in “Aquaman,” did not name Depp in the segment, but sued him for being a domestic abuser and seeking $ 50 million in damages.
Hard has countered for 100 million, saying he was defamed by a statement from Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman, who told the Daily Mail that his abuse claims were a “fraud.”
Statements were needed both to prove defamatory, and in order to win compensatory or punitive damages, the jury must find out whether they were fabricated with real malice – whether they were false or “reckless negligence” whether they were false or not.