- Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are facing off in court again.
- They have one last chance to reach a settlement before the judge finalizes their jury verdict.
- A lawyer for Depp previously hinted a settlement may be on the table after Heard’s lawyer said she couldn’t pay the $8 million owed.
On Friday, lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are set to square off again in a court meeting that will determine whether the two actors will drag out their legal battle or settle it once and for all.
On June 1, a jury delivered a trial verdict that found they defamed each other. It skewed heavily in Depp’s favor. 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 statutory reasons). Of Heard’s three claims against Depp, jurors gave her just one win and said she should get $2 million in damages.
But Judge Penney Azcarate, the judge overseeing the trial, didn’t enter the jury verdict into the docket.
Instead, she said she’ll do it on Friday, June 24 — unless the two parties agreed to a settlement.
Benjamin Chew, an attorney representing Depp, suggested a settlement may be on the table. In an interview with “Good Morning America” host George Stephanopoulos, Chew said Depp might agree to a settlement where he waived monetary damages in return for Heard agreeing not to appeal the case.
“We obviously can’t disclose any attorney-client communications, but as Mr. Depp tested and as we both made clear in our respective closings, this was never about money for Mr. Depp,” Chew said. “This was about restoring his reputation, and he’s done that.”
Elaine Bredehoft, an attorney representing Heard, told NBC’s the “Today” show that Heard couldn’t afford the $8 million she would owe Depp and that she planned to appeal the case. In a separate interview with the “Today” show, Heard said she stands by her testimony in the defamation trial.
A settlement could take another form. The parties may agree to drop some of the defamation claims from the verdict, reduce or eliminate the damages owed, or streamline the payment process by having Heard pay Depp $8.35 million, rather than have her pay the $10.35 million she 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 settlement negotiations.
Depp sued Heard in March 2019, alleging she defamed him by publishing a Washington Post op-ed describing herself as a victim of domestic violence. Heard filed a countersuit, alleging Depp abused her before and during their marriage, which ended in 2016, and that he defamed him through statements from his lawyer calling her claims a “hoax.” Both celebrities tested in their six-week trial at the Fairfax County, Virginia courthouse.
At the 11 am Friday hearing, Azcarate may also accept oral arguments from each side over the jury verdict. Depp and Heard aren’t personally required to be in the courtroom during the hearing, Samy Abdallah, Azcarate’s clerk, told Insider.
If the two don’t agree to a settlement, and Azcarate enters the jury verdict, then the case will move to the Virginia Court of Appeals after 21 days, Abdallah told Insider. At that point, the parties have 30 days to file a notice of appeal.