Heard ‘demonized’ in Depp trial: lawyer
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Heard ‘demonized’ in Depp trial: lawyer

Amber Heard was “demonized” by ex-husband Johnny Depp’s legal team and criticized social media during a sensational defamation lawsuit that ended with a jury ordering her to pay Depp $15 million ($A21 million), Heard’s lawyer says.

Elaine Bredehoft, one of Heard’s lead attorneys, says she believes the jury was swayed by a barrage of social media posts condemning her and supporting her ex-husband Depp. Heard plans to appeal.

Heard 'demonized' in Depp trial: lawyer

“These people gave her death threats. They threatened to put her baby in the microwave. This is the kind of social media she got,” Bredehoft told CBS TV on Thursday.

“It was as if a Roman Colosseum is the best way to describe the atmosphere here.”

Bredehoft also said any evidence allowed in a similar defamation lawsuit that Depp lost in the UK was suppressed in his Virginia lawsuit. The British judge ruled that Depp attacked Heard dozens of times.

“We were not allowed to tell the jury this,” Bredehoft told NBC’s Today about the trial of the former Hollywood couple. “So what did Depp’s team learn from this? Demonize Amber. And suppress the evidence.”

Wednesday’s verdict in Fairfax County Circuit Court found that Depp had been defamed by 2018 op-ed written by Heard, in which she said she was a victim of abuse.

The jury awarded him $10 million in damages and $5 million in punitive damages, but the judge reduced the punitive price to $350,000 under a state limit.

Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez said on Wednesday the verdict affirmed: “that the allegations against Johnny Depp are defamatory and unsupported by any evidence”.

When asked on Today whether Heard could afford the $10.35 million, Bredehoft replied, “absolutely not”.

The jury also awarded Heard $2 million in her counter-charge, concluding that she was defamed by a lawyer for Depp, who accused her of creating deception around the abuse allegations.

The trial captivated TV viewers, including passionate social media followers who dissected the actors’ mannerisms, their clothing choices, and their use of alcohol and drugs.

While the case was ostensibly about libel, most of the testimony has centered on whether Heard had been physically and sexually abused, as she claimed. Depp denied hitting Heard and that she was the abuser.

Both performers come forward with unclear prospects. Depp, 58, was a bankable star until recent years, with credits for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. However, he lost that role and was replaced in the Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts.

Heard’s career, 36, was more modest, and her only two upcoming roles are in a small film and the sequel to Aquaman.