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Johnny Depp and Amber Heard in Fairfax County Court in Virginia during the final week of their libel trial.Steve Helber/Pool via REUTERS; Steve Helber/Pool via REUTERS

  • Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard clash again in court.

  • They have one last chance to reach a settlement before the judge finalizes the jury’s verdict.

  • A lawyer for Depp previously hinted a settlement could be on the table after Heard’s attorney said she couldn’t pay the $8 million owed.

On Friday, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s lawyers are due to face off again in a court meeting that will determine whether the two actors will drag out their legal battle or settle it once and for all.

On June 1, a jury returned a trial verdict finding that they had defamed themselves. This heavily skewed in favor of Depp. Of his three claims against Heard, the jury said he had proven them all and deserved $15 million in damages (a figure the judge reduced for legal reasons). Of Heard’s three claims against Depp, jurors only awarded her one victory and said she should get $2 million in damages.

But Judge Penney Azcarate, the judge overseeing the trial, did not enter the jury’s verdict into the docket.

Instead, she said she would do so on Friday, June 24 – unless the two sides agree to a settlement.

Benjamin Chew, an attorney representing Depp, suggested a settlement could be on the table. In an interview with “Good Morning America” ​​host George Stephanopoulos, Chew said Depp could agree to a settlement where he waives damages in exchange for Heard agreeing not to appeal the lawsuit. affair.

“We obviously cannot disclose any attorney-client communication, but as Mr. Depp testified and as we both made clear in our respective submissions, there was never any question of money for Mr. Depp. “, Chew said. “It was about restoring his reputation, and he did.”

Elaine Bredehoft, an attorney representing Heard, told NBC’s “Today” show that Heard could not afford the $8 million she owed Depp and that she planned to appeal the case. In a separate interview with the “Today” show, Heard said she stood by her testimony in the libel suit.

A settlement could take another form. The parties may agree to drop some of the verdict’s libel claims, reduce or eliminate damages owed, or streamline the payment process by asking Heard to pay Depp $8.35 million, instead. than to make her pay the $10.35 million she owes Depp, and for Depp to pay Heard $2 million in a separate transaction.

Representatives for Depp and Heard declined to comment on the settlement negotiations.

Depp sued Heard in March 2019, alleging she defamed him by publishing a Washington Post op-ed portraying herself as a victim of domestic violence. Heard filed a countersuit, alleging Depp assaulted her before and during their marriage, which ended in 2016, and defamed him with statements from his attorney calling it a “hoax.” Both celebrities testified during their six-week trial at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia.

At Friday’s hearing at 11 a.m., Azcarate could also accept oral arguments from each side regarding the jury’s verdict. Depp and Heard are not personally required to be in the courtroom during the hearing, Samy Abdallah, Azcarate’s court clerk, told Insider.

If the two do not agree on a settlement and Azcarate enters the jury’s verdict, the case will be sent to the Virginia Court of Appeals after 21 days, Abdallah told Insider. At this point, the parties have 30 days to file a notice of appeal.

Read the original Insider article

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