What saw Johnny Depp win his defamation lawsuit in a US Court, but lose in the UK? Was it lawyers alone that made the difference? Did he have a Saul Goldsmith moment when something happened that made the difference?
The US has a stronger legal system when it comes to free speech and it would appear that his chances of winning Stateside would have been considerably less than what he had against Amber Heard in the UK, where he lost.
One of the key differences though is that the UK defamation case with Johnny Depp was held before a Judge alone, not a jury as in the US defamation trial.
The Heard Lies
One of the major issues, according to commentators, was that Amber Heard lost the public ‘vote’ and certainly the jury’s in America. The Depp lawyers like Camille Vasquez, hammered home that the was lying and attacking her character and claims that Depp abused her, and not vice versa.
The defense strategy turned the tables upon Heard by focusing upon whether she was a credible, believable witness.
The UK trial judge dismissed much of the evidence that did not focus directly upon Depp’s alleged assault, in recognition of what the defense were seeking to achieve.
However when these arguments are raised with a jury they can have a resounding effect
Hadley Freeman, a Guardian journalist who covered both cases, said that the televising of the case had also turned it into a major event, akin to a sports game. The resulting attention from social media and sites like video platform TikTok, which saw the hashtag #justiceforjohnnydepp receive around 19 billion views, had swayed public opinion although the jury were told not to tune in to such channels.
They were not sequestered, however, and had their phones.
Further, Freeman and others believe there has been something of a #Metoo backlash that has hurt the Heard case.
Whatever the reason, the result is one that has some scratching their heads and others, like Amber Heard, now scratching their bank accounts.
Both parties have also become somewhat ‘damaged goods’ in their chosen profession given the strong division between the Depp and Heard camps.