Johnny Depp verdict: Legal experts believe Washington Post could be held liable too, but case would be tricky


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Actor Johnny Depp received his defamation circumstance in opposition to ex-spouse Amber Heard and lawful industry experts consider the Washington Article could be liable for publishing the op-ed at the heart of the bombshell demo, but that scenario may perhaps be difficult to make.

The jury discovered that Listened to was liable for defamatory comments she built versus Depp in the 2018 op-ed revealed in the Washington Write-up, wherever she implicitly accused him of domestic abuse. The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages Choose Penney Azcarate diminished Depp’s punitive damages award from $5 million to $350,000, the utmost underneath Virginia law, bringing the total sum to just over $10 million.

“I absolutely consider that the Washington Post ought to be held accountable as well in this case. A jury just resolved that all three of the statements in that Washington Submit op-ed were being deemed defamatory,” felony protection lawyer Brian Claypool informed Fox News Digital. 

“On best of that, they also considered that Amber Listened to acted in a punitive way with falsifying these tales. So it really is the duty of a newspaper and other media outlets to vet or filter info prior to they publish it to the world and likely damage the name of any individual irreparably,” Claypool included. “The Washington Put up is not off the hook.” 

Amber Heard wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post that a jury found to contain defamatory comments against her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.

Amber Listened to wrote an op-ed for the Washington Article that a jury discovered to consist of defamatory responses towards her ex-partner, Johnny Depp.
(Kevin Lamarque/Pool by using Reuters)


Claypool felt Depp’s workforce really should deliver lawful motion against the newspaper owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos to set a precedent for very similar conditions going forward. 

“You have acquired to do your owing diligence ahead of posting that report. You are not able to basically have anyone wander into your place of work and say, ‘Hey, you know, I am accusing Johnny Depp of all these negative issues,’ right before likely out and undertaking because of diligence,” Claypool mentioned. “I think it’s incumbent upon Johnny Depp’s crew to provide a authorized action in opposition to The Washington Submit, to set a precedent in the long term that all media shops need to be more careful before they publish to the environment allegations of domestic violence.” 

Claypool believes the jury ruling in favor of Depp would make a circumstance towards the Publish much easier due to the fact the difficulties have previously been litigated. 

“To me, the serious offender in this Depp compared to Heard situation is The Washington Write-up,” Claypool stated. “Without having the Washington Write-up op-ed currently being posted, then there would have hardly ever been a defamation circumstance.” 

Legal Insurrection founder William A. Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Regulation University, is not as confident that the Article could be held liable, but he doesn’t entirely rule it out. 

 “So the dilemma is whether or not the Washington Article need to be held liable for a defamatory op-ed written by an person who is not used by The Washington Post,” Jacobson informed Fox News Electronic. 

“Could they possibly be liable? Of course, they could perhaps be liable, but it would legally impose one more stage on the plaintiff, which is to display that the editors, and the Washington Publish itself, experienced some kind of imputed understanding or imputed rationale to assume that her firsthand accusations ended up untruthful,” Jacobson ongoing. 


The Washington Post issued a lengthy editor’s note the 2018 Amber Heard op-ed at the center of Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife.

The Washington Submit issued a lengthy editor’s notice the 2018 Amber Heard op-ed at the middle of Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit versus his ex-wife.
(ERIC BARADAT/AFP by means of Getty Photographs)

Jacobson discussed that Depp’s legal group would have a drastically a lot more hard time proving the Write-up was liable for defamatory feedback than it did when a jury ruled in his favor versus Heard. 

“The typical regular that you would have to clearly show for a general public determine like Johnny Depp would be recognised to her, but would the falsity or the reckless disregard for the truth of the matter be imputed to the publisher? And that would be a factual issue,” Jacobson said. “So it is potentially one thing that the Washington Article would be on the hook for, but it would be a significantly far more challenging situation to make.” 

Jacobson said that op-eds on their own are not exempt from probable defamation lawsuits, but there is a “better hurdle” to earn these a scenario. 

“Persons have a constitutional right to specific their opinions, whether or not it bleeds over to a false assertion of specifics that negatively impugn somebody’s standing and is defamatory is a factual dilemma,” Jacobson reported, noting that facts of the op-ed could come to be an concern if Heard’s team appeals the verdict.  

“This was a publication of an op-ed which did not point out his title, did not actually condition a lot of information,” he explained. “I would not be amazed if this is an challenge on enchantment.”  

The New York Times described on Thursday that Read plans to attractiveness the determination. 

ELON MUSK WEIGHS IN ON DEPP-Listened to Demo: ‘I HOPE THEY Both of those Go ON’

Legal experts think the Washington Post could be liable for publishing the op-ed that a jury found made defamatory comments against actor Johnny Depp. 

Lawful experts feel the Washington Put up could be liable for publishing the op-ed that a jury located designed defamatory opinions from actor Johnny Depp. 
(AP Photograph/Craig Hudson)

Even though Claypool feels Depp really should go after a scenario towards the Publish, Jacobson isn’t so positive. 

“No matter if Johnny Depp goes following The Washington Article, I consider is a strategic issue. He has already received, he has currently been awarded the damages that he would be entitled to, so I can not see how he would get extra damages, since the jury has previously reported, ‘Here is how you have been weakened and below are your compensatory damages,’” Jacobson reported. “So I can’t see how he would get much more damages when a jury’s by now awarded him the injury he suffered.”

Jacobson also feels it was “pretty strategic” that Depp did not name the Put up in the first match. 

“They would have experienced defenses that Amber Listened to did not have,” he explained. “Furthermore, it could possibly have distracted the jury’s attention from what Johnny Depp evidently needed, which is to put her on demo, not to put an editor of the Washington Article on demo, but to place her on demo and I imagine that they made that strategic final decision. I would be shocked if they moved further than that at this level.” 

US actor Johnny Depp testifies during his defamation trial in the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on April 19, 2022. 

US actor Johnny Depp testifies through his defamation trial in the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, on April 19, 2022. 

On Thursday the Washington Post added a lengthy editor’s take note to the original tale. 

Editor’s observe, June 2, 2022: In 2019, Johnny Depp sued Amber Read for defamation arising out of this 2018 op-ed. On June 1, 2022, pursuing a trial in Fairfax County, Va. Circuit Court, a jury identified Heard liable on three counts for the adhering to statements, which Depp claimed had been wrong and defamatory: (1) ‘I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.’ (2) ‘Then two yrs ago, I became a public determine representing domestic abuse, and I felt the total pressure of our culture’s wrath for ladies who communicate out.’ (3) ‘I had the exceptional vantage place of observing, in actual time, how establishments safeguard gentlemen accused of abuse. The jury independently located that Depp, as a result of his attorney Adam Waldman, defamed Read in a person of three counts in her countersuit,” the Washington Write-up wrote. 


Jacobson feels the editor’s notice was proper, though he’s not certain it will insulate them from potential liability.  

“It was the appropriate issue to do wherever you had an op-ed published by anyone and that op-ed printed in your newspaper was, in fact, the topic of a damaging jury verdict. I imagine it was appropriate for them to increase that observe to it, so that any one in the long term going forward looking at it would know what at the very least a jury has held about that,” Jacobson explained. 

The Washington Article declined even further remark and pointed Fox Information Digital to the editor’s notice when questioned about the situation. 

The users of the jury also awarded Heard $2 million in compensatory damages above a defamatory assertion Depp created via his legal professional. 

Amber Heard testified on May 5, 2022, during Johnny Depp's defamation trial against her.

Amber Read testified on May well 5, 2022, all through Johnny Depp’s defamation demo towards her.
(Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool Picture through AP)

The trial that designed a media frenzy does not surface to be leaving the cultural zeitgeist anytime quickly. Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy took to Twitter immediately following the verdict and suggested the Put up shouldn’t be permit off the hook for its function in the saga. 

“She posted this detail in essence indicating that Johnny Depp strike her, abused her, did all these awful issues, domestic violence, sexual deviancy, all this things up in the Washington Article. And what is the Washington Write-up? They keep no duty in this?” Portnoy questioned in a movie message. 

OutKick founder Clay Travis, who is also a law firm, feels the Washington Post printed “phony information” by managing Heard’s op-ed. 

“There likely is a declare against the Washington Submit,” Travis said Wednesday night on “Hannity.”

“This was an op-ed piece, suitable? So she’s claiming to notify the truth, to what extent was there an investigation done? Try to remember they unquestionably wrote the headline, which was a main consequential part of this circumstance,” Travis claimed. 

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Fox Information contributor Joe Concha, who was on the panel with Travis and Sean Hannity, reminded viewers that former Covington Catholic High Faculty university student Nick Sandmann has settled multimillion-dollar defamation lawsuits towards information businesses, such as the Washington Put up, more than botched coverage that portrayed him as the aggressor in a viral 2019 confrontation with a Indigenous American man. 

“I consider Sandmann listed here in all probability is the most relevant human being to think about if Johnny Depp’s following shift in court docket is to go after the Washington Article, since you try to remember, the Article alongside with CNN, they had been sued for defamation by a higher faculty student to the tune of $275 million each and both equally of individuals publications have been pressured to settle,” Concha reported. “So, will the Put up be going through a comparable go well with listed here from Johnny Depp? I necessarily mean, continue to be tuned.” 

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Janelle Ash and Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report. 

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