The lawyers of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard face each other again in court.
They have one last chance to settle before the judge finalizes the jury’s verdict.
A lawyer for Depp previously hinted that a deal could be on the table after Heard’s lawyer said he couldn’t pay the $8 million owed.
On Friday, lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard will face off again in a court meeting that will determine whether the two actors will prolong their legal battle or settle it once and for all.
On June 1, a jury returned a trial verdict that they defamed each other. It was heavily skewed in favor of Depp. Of his three claims against Heard, the jury said he proved all of them and deserved $15 million in damages (a figure the judge reduced for legal reasons). Of Heard’s three claims against Depp, juries gave her only one victory, saying he should receive $2 million in damages.
But Judge Penney Azcarate, the judge who oversaw the trial, did not enter the jury’s verdict on the record.
Instead, he said he will do so on Friday, June 24, unless the two sides reach an agreement.
Benjamin Chew, a lawyer representing Depp, suggested a deal could be on the table. In an interview with “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos, Chew said Depp could accept a settlement in which he would forgo money damages in exchange for Heard agreeing not to appeal the case.
“Obviously we cannot disclose any attorney-client communication, but as Mr. Depp testified and as we both made clear in our respective closings, it was never about money for Mr. Depp,” Chew said. “It was about restoring his reputation, and he has done it.”
Elaine Bredehoft, an attorney representing Heard, told NBC’s “Today” show that Heard couldn’t pay the $8 million she owed Depp and that she planned to appeal the case. In a separate interview with the “Today” show, Heard said that she stands by her testimony in the libel trial.
An agreement could take another form. The parties may agree to drop some of the libel claims from the verdict, reduce or eliminate damages owed, or expedite the payment process by having Heard pay Depp $8.35 million, instead of her paying the $10.35 million. he owes Depp, and for Depp to pay $2 million to Heard in a separate transaction.
Representatives for both Depp and Heard declined to comment on the deal negotiations.
Depp sued Heard in March 2019, claiming that she defamed him by publishing an op-ed in the Washington Post describing herself as a victim of domestic violence. Heard has filed a countersuit, alleging Depp abused her before and during her marriage, which ended in 2016, and defamed him through statements by her attorney calling her claims “hoax.” Both celebrities testified at their six-week trial in the Fairfax County, Virginia, courthouse.
At Friday’s 11 am hearing, Azcarate can also accept oral arguments from each side on the jury’s verdict. Depp and Heard are not required to be in the courtroom in person during the hearing, Samy Abdallah, Azcarate’s secretary, told Insider.
If the two do not agree to a settlement and Azcarate enters the jury’s verdict, then the case will go to the Virginia Court of Appeals after 21 days, Abdallah told Insider. At that time, the parties have 30 days to file a notice of appeal.
Read the original article on Insider