Johnny Depp trial juror says revelation Amber Heard didn’t donate $7m divorce settlement was a ‘fiasco’
An anonymous Johnny Depp trial juror has said that the revelation that Amber Heard didn’t donate her $7m divorce settlement was “a fiasco for her”.
Depp lawyer Camille Vasquez told Ms Heard during the trial, “you still haven’t donated the $7m divorce settlement to charity”.
“Incorrect,” Ms Heard responded. “I pledged the entirety … I use pledge and donation synonymous with one another”.
“She goes on a talk show in the UK,” the anonymous male juror noted, according to ABC News. “The video shows her sitting there telling the host she gave all that money away.”
“And the terms she used in that video clip were ‘I gave it away’, ‘I donated it’, ‘it’s gone’,” he added. “But the fact is, she didn’t give much of it away at all.”
The male juror told ABC’s Good Morning America in an interview broadcast on Thursday that Ms Heard’s “crying, the facial expressions that she had, the staring at the jury” made “all of us were very uncomfortable … she would answer one question and she would be crying and two seconds later she would turn ice cold … some of us used the expression ‘crocodile tears’”.
“A lot of Amber’s story didn’t add up,” he added. “The majority of the jury felt she was more the aggressor.”
The juror, who was one of five men on the jury of seven that sided with Mr Depp, said that he was “more believable” and “real” when he took the stand.
“A lot of the jury felt what he was saying, at the end of the day, was more believable … he just seemed a little more real in terms of how he was responding to questions,” he said. “His emotional state was very stable throughout.”
Ms Heard was grilled by NBC’s Savannah Guthrie about being “caught in a lie” over her pledge to donate her $7m divorce settlement to charity, in the actor’s first sitdown interview following her defamation trial against her ex-husband.
Ms Guthrie put Ms Heard on the spot over the discrepancies between her pledge and the actual payments made, questioning whether this raised doubts about her “credibility” among the jury.
“Do you think to the jurors sitting there that was you getting caught in a lie?” probed Ms Guthrie, whose husband works for Mr Depp’s legal team.
Ms Heard said the trial was used to try to paint her as “a liar” and argued that she shouldn’t have had to pledge her entire settlement in the first place for people to believe her accusations of abuse against Mr Depp.
When the couple’s $7m divorce settlement was reached back in August 2016, Ms Heard had said she would split the entire payout equally between the ACLU and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
During the six-week trial, the Aquaman actress came under intense scrutiny over the pledge after it emerged that the ACLU had so far received less than half of the $3.5m payment it was promised.
“You had promised to donate $7m of your divorce settlement to charity,” said Ms Guthrie. “It was revealed at trial that you haven’t done so yet however they played a tape where you state on air that you have donated it.”
“Do you think that raised questions as to your credibility with the jury?” Ms Guthrie asked.
During the trial, jurors were shown a clip from Ms Heard’s appearance on the Dutch TV show RTL Late Night in October 2018, where she said that “$7m was donated in total”.
Amber Heard fears continued silencing after Johnny Depp trial
“I split the amount between the ACLU and CHLA. ACLU is a prominent non-profit organisation in the US and they work on the behalf of marginalised communities on the ground, and in legislative reform,” she said on the show. “I wanted nothing.”
During the interview with NBC, Ms Heard doubled down on her trial defence that the plan had always been for the donations to be paid out over time.
“I made a pledge and that pledge is made over time by its nature,” she said.
At this point, Ms Guthrie interjected that to use the term “donated” people expect the money to have been paid out.
“You say donated you know that everybody thinks you’d donated – not that you’ve pledged it,” Ms Guthrie said, questioning whether she feels she “got caught in a lie”.
Ms Heard pushed back that “so much of the trial” was used to try to “cast aspersions” on her credibility.
“I don’t know because so much, I feel like so much of the trial was meant to cast aspersions on who I am as a person, on my credibility, to call me a liar in every way you can,” she said.
“That was the trial, it was a credibility contest – that was it,” Ms Guthrie said.
Amber Heard makes Edward Scissorhands dig in post-trial interview
“This is another one of those examples if you pull back and you think about it I shouldn’t have had to have donated it in an attempt to be believed,” Ms Heard replied. “I shouldn’t have had to earmark the entirety of it in order to –”
The NBC host interrupted her comments once again, telling her “you shouldn’t have but once you said you did”.
“Right and that was where it was intended to go,” Ms Heard said.
At the defamation trial, jurors heard testimony from ACLU Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel Terence Dougherty that the charity had so far received less than half of the $3.5m promised.
Mr Dougherty said that $350,000 had been paid directly by Ms Heard, $100,000 paid through Mr Depp, $500,000 paid by Elon Musk through a donor-advised fund, and that $350,000 was also paid via a donor-advised fund (which is also believed to be from Mr Musk) – for a total donation of $1.3m.
The court was shown a 2016 email which detailed a 10-year plan for Ms Heard to make the donation.
The ACLU executive testified that the charity had not received any money from Ms Heard since 2019 because the actor “was having financial difficulties”.
Ms Heard was accused of “lying” about the donations under an intense cross-examination from Mr Depp’s legal team.
At one point, she told the court that she had been unable to complete the payments because of legal costs arising from her ex-husband’s lawsuit.
She also claimed that she uses the terms “pledged” and “donated” interchangeably.
Amber Heard comments on Johnny Depp’s threat of ‘total global humiliation’
A jury handed down the verdict on 1 June in the defamation trial between the former married couple, awarding Mr Depp $8.35m after they determined Ms Heard defamed him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed, in which she claimed to be a domestic abuse survivor.
In the piece entitled “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”, Ms Heard wrote that “like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet — I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim”.
“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she added.
While Mr Depp wasn’t named in the piece, his legal team argued that it contained a “clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they said was “categorically and demonstrably false”.
Mr Depp was awarded $10.35m in damages in total because Virginia state law caps punitive damages at $350,000. Ms Heard was awarded $2m in compensatory damages because of comments made by Mr Depp’s previous lawyer.
Ms Heard’s lawyer has previously said she plans to appeal the verdict.
The interview with Ms Heard will be broadcast on Dateline NBC at 8pm ET on Friday and the programme is available on Peacock.
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