Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard will meet in court on Friday for a possible settlement if the actors decide not to drag their legal battle further.
On 1 June, a Virginia jury ruled Ms Heard defamed former husband Mr Depp in a widely watched six-week trial. It also ruled in favour of Ms Heard in some aspects of her countersuit against Mr Depp.
The jury awarded Mr Depp $15m in damages after finding that he proved all three claims against Ms Heard. The amount was reduced to $10m because of limits set by state law.
The panel also awarded Ms Heard $2m in damages.
However, judge Penney Azcarate, who was overseeing the trial, didn’t enter the verdict into the docket – that records the current status and summary of a case – and is expected to do it on Friday unless both parties agree to a settlement.
The judge might accept oral arguments from each side over the jury verdict and if they don’t agree to a settlement, judge Azcarate will enter the verdict, Insider reported.
After 21 days, the case will then move to the Court of Appeals of Virginia and both parties will have 30 days to file a notice of appeal.
The actors aren’t required to be present in the courtroom for Friday’s hearing.
The 58-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star had sued Ms Heard for $50m, arguing she had defamed him in a Washington Post op-ed titled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.
While Mr Depp wasn’t named in the piece, his legal team argued it contained a “clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they said was “categorically and demonstrably false”.
Ms Heard, 36, countersued for $100m, saying her ex-husband smeared her when his lawyer called her accusations a “hoax”.
Benjamin Chew, an attorney for Mr Depp, had earlier floated a deal with Ms Heard which could spare her from paying millions. Mr Chew told Good Morning America that his client might agree to a settlement in return for Ms Heard agreeing not to appeal the case.
“We obviously can’t disclose any attorney-client communications, but as Mr Depp testified, and as we both made clear in our respective closings, this was never about money for Mr Depp. This was about restoring his reputation, and he’s done that,” Mr Chew said.
His remarks came after an Ms Heard’s attorney said the actor couldn’t afford the $8m she owed Mr Depp and will likely appeal the case.
Recently, Ms Heard told NBC she fears her ex-husband could sue her for defamation again. “I’m scared that no matter what I do, no matter what I say or how I say it, every step I take will present another opportunity for this sort of silencing,” she said.
“Which is what I guess a defamation lawsuit is meant to do, it’s meant to take your voice.”
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