Johnny Depp's attorneys speak about defamation trial for the first time: 'This was never about money'
On Wednesday morning, Johnny Depp's lawyers Ben Chew and Camille Vasquez spoke out for the first time since a verdict was decided in the actor's highly publicized defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard.
The two attorneys appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the results of the verdict, which they insisted was not about a financial win.
"As Mr. Depp testified and as we both made clear in our respective closings, this was never about money for Mr. Depp," Chew told host George Stephanopoulos. "This is about restoring his reputation, and he's done that."
They also held firm in their belief that social media did not play a part in swaying the jury towards a verdict in Depp's favor, despite the fact that jurors were not isolated and could see opinions and memes playing out online.
"I think the key to victory was focusing on the facts and the evidence and Johnny's opportunity to speak the truth for the first time," Vasquez said of the win, which Stephanopoulos pointed out was thought to be an "uphill battle."
"My view is that social media played no role whatsoever," added Chew. "This was a decision made by the jury on the evidence presented by both sides, and as Camille said, it was overwhelmingly in Mr. Depp's favor."
In a separate interview with Today's Savannah Guthrie, Chew and Vasquez doubled down on those claims, speaking to the integrity of the jurors. "I don't think there's any reason to believe the jurors violated their oath," said Chew.
Vasquez conceded that social media discussion of the case was "everywhere," but added that the jurors "were admonished every single night" and "had a tremendous amount of respect for the court and the process and they were doing the best they could."
Chew went on to call allegations that Depp and his PR team orchestrated an online social media campaign against Heard "utterly baseless," with Vasquez calling them "categorically false."
Depp sued Heard for defamation following a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she chronicled her experience as a survivor of domestic abuse, though she never mentioned Depp by name. On June 1, the jury ruled in favor of Depp, awarding him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages to Virginia's statutory cap of $350,000.
The jury also ruled partly in Heard's favor, awarding her $2 million in compensatory damages and no punitive damages. Heard and her team have since spoken out about the disappointment of the verdict and how it represents a setback for the #MeToo movement. She plans to appeal the verdict.
"I think our response to that is we encourage any victim to come forward. Domestic violence doesn't have a gender," Vasquez said on GMA. "We believe that the verdict speaks for itself, the facts are what they were, the jury made a unanimous decision based on those facts."
"This was about Mr. Depp's reputation. That's what it was about for him," said Chew.