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Amber Heard breaks silence on 'unfair' $8million Johnny Depp verdict

By Vincent Ashitey
Amber Heard
Amber Heard
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Amber Heard has broken her silence on her defamation trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp for the first time since a jury ruled against her - claiming that the 'unfair' verdict was the result of biased 'social media representation' and accusing the actor of trying to sway the jury by putting 'paid employees and randos' on the stand.

The 36-year-old spoke out about the damning verdict against her in a three-part interview with the Today show, which was pre-recorded on Thursday and began airing on Monday morning.

During the sit-down with Savannah Guthrie - who last week interviewed Depp's legal team on the show and whose husband actually consulted for them during the trial - Heard hit out at the 'hate and vitriol' that she has faced throughout the trial and in the wake of the jury's verdict, while blasting the 'unfair' decision made against her.

READ ALSO: Depp-Heard trial: Jury sides mostly with Depp in defamation case

Heard, who flew to New York City on a private jet on Friday to conduct the interview, doubled down on accusations made by her lawyer last week that the jury was swayed by social media, while also suggesting that they were won over by Depp's 'excellent acting' on the stand.

'Even somebody who is sure I'm deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I'm lying, you still couldn't look me in the eye that you think on social media there's been a fair representation,' she said. 'You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair.'

Earlier this month, a jury ruled that Heard defamed her ex-husband by publishing a piece about being a sexual assault survivor in the Washington Post. She was ordered to pay Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, although the second payment was reduced to $350,000 per Virginia law by the judge. She was awarded a relatively paltry $2 million in compensatory damages, meaning that Depp, 59, walked away from the case with Heard owing him $8.35 million.

Heard - whose legal team has said that she plans to appeal the verdict - also accused the jury of being won over by her ex-husband's 'excellent acting' and 'beloved' public reputation, while suggesting that Depp swayed jurors by putting 'paid employees and randos' on the stand to testify on his behalf during the six-week trial.

'I'll put it this way, how could they make a judgment, how could they not come to that conclusion [that I couldn't be believed]?' she said. 'They had said in those seats and heard over three weeks of nonstop, relentless testimony from paid employees and towards the end of the trial, randos, as I say.

'I don't blame them, I don't blame them, I actually understand, he's a beloved character and people feel that they know him. He's a fantastic actor.

'Again, how could they after listening to three and a half weeks of testimony about how I was an uncredible person and not to believe a word that came out of my mouth.'

During the marathon six-week trial in Fairfax, Virginia, which started on April 11 and concluded on June 1, Depp called 38 witnesses while Heard's team called 24.

Both Depp and Heard gave evidence for four days each, including a forensic cross examination from the opposition lawyers – then both returned to the witness stand to testify a second time.

The jury saw dozens of texts, photos, videos, medical records and even pages from the former couple's 'Love Journal' they hand wrote to each other.

The libel case was so complicated that the verdict sheet had 42 questions the jury had to answer before delivering the verdict: 24 questions for Depp's claims and 18 for Heard's counterclaim.

The court heard clips of recordings that Depp and Heard made during their arguments, some of their most intimate moments that were played back for the world years later in the most public setting imaginable.

Throughout the trial, social media was flooded with posts about the legal proceedings - with the majority being shared in support of Depp under the hashtag #JusticeForJohnnyDepp. As of June 13, the hashtag had more than 20.6 billion views on TikTok, while the #JusticeForAmberHeard tag had a relatively low 92.4 million views.

But despite insisting that social media played a key role in the outcome of the trial, Heard, whose interview will air in full on NBC's Dateline this Friday at 8pm after being teased out on the Today show on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, claimed that she isn't taking any negative public opinions about her 'personally', insisting that she 'doesn't care what anyone thinks about her'.

'I don't care what anyone thinks about me or what judgments you want to make about what happened in the privacy of my own home in my marriage behind closed doors,' she told Guthrie. 'I don't presume the average person should know those things so I don't take it personally.'

The interview marks the first time that Heard has publicly addressed the verdict - which she previously blasted as a 'setback for other women' in a statement published minutes after the ruling was read out in court.

'The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband,' Heard said in a statement shared just minutes after the verdict was read out in court, where she was present for the judgement, while Depp was said

'I'm even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.'

The day after the ruling was handed down, Heard's lawyer Elaine Charlson Bredhoft revealed that her client was planning to appeal the verdict, insisting that she had 'excellent grounds' to do so, while claiming that the actress is unable to pay the $8.35 million in damages that she owes Depp.

During an appearance on the Today show, Bredhoft was asked if the Aquaman actress would be able to pay the damages she owes Depp after a jury vindicated his claims that she lied by accusing him of abuse during their marriage, to which she replied: 'No, absolutely not.'

The lawyer also echoed her client's thoughts on the verdict, blasting it as a 'significant setback' for women.

'It's a horrible message. It's a setback, a significant setback because that's exactly what it means,' Bredhoft said of the verdict.

'Unless you pull out your phone and you video your spouse or your significant other beating you, effectively, you won't be believed.'

She also suggested that the jury in the case had been swayed by public opinion - including social media posts that were shared in support of Depp - a claim that his legal team has since slammed as 'utterly false'.

To be granted an appeal, Heard would likely need to demonstrate that there were errors in the trial, or in the presiding judge's reading of the law.

She would also need to post bond of the full $10,350,000, plus interest charges over the course of an appeal trial.

Depp originally sued Heard for $50million claiming that she defamed him with an op-ed piece published by the Washington Post in 2018 in which she claimed to be a survivor of domestic abuse.

Heard then countersued for $100million claiming that Depp's lawyer Adam Waldman made defamatory statements by calling her claims a 'hoax.'

The actress's appearance on the Today show comes less than a week after Guthrie, 50, sat down with Depp's lawyers Benjamin Chew and Camille Vasquez, who slammed any suggestion that social media played a role in the jury's decision-making as 'utterly false'.

'My view is that social media played no role whatsoever this was a decision made by the jury on the evidence. It was overwhelmingly in Depp's favor,' said Chew.