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This Is Why Johnny Depp Won His Defamation Case In The US But Lost In The UK

This Is Why Johnny Depp Won His Defamation Case In The US But Lost In The UK

Johnny Depp was able to win his defamation case against Amber Heard in the US, but he was not as successful in the UK back in 2020.

Johnny Depp was able to successfully sue his ex-wife Amber Heard for defamation in the US. A verdict was reached that saw Heard guilty on all counts of defamation related to her 2018 Washington Post op-ed titled “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.” 

Heard now has to pay Depp more than $8 million in damages.

Flashback to 2020, however, Depp was not very successful in proving defamation in the UK against The Sun newspaper which called him a 'wife beater'

Why did Johnny Depp win in the US but lose in the UK?

Johnny Depp

George Freeman, executive director of the Media Law Resource Center responded to the question above, and the answer is simple. He said:

"It was up to the jury."

The main difference between the two cases was that Depp's team had to convince a jury in the US while they had to convince a judge in the UK.

Mark Stephens, an international media lawyer, had said that Depp's legal team used a strategy that could sway a jury but "almost never works with a judge."

The strategy is called DARVO, an acronym for deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender. In this strategy, they painted Depp as the victim and Heard as the abuser.

"We find that DARVO works very well with juries but almost never works with judges, who are trained to look at evidence," Stephens said.

"That didn’t impact the outcome because essentially what you have got is a jury believing evidence that a British judge did not accept, so that’s where the difference lies here. Unusually, not in the different legal frameworks."

Lee Berlik, a Virginia-based attorney who specializes in defamation law and business litigation, said: "If Depp had filed that same case here in the US, he would have the burden of persuading the jury that the accusation was false."

"It is remarkable that a judge in the UK found that the Sun had proven 12 separate acts of ‘wife beating’ by Depp, but in Virginia, a jury essentially found zero acts of domestic abuse and that Ms. Heard’s claims to the contrary were basically a 'hoax'."

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