Johnny Depp’s star lawyer, Camille Vasquez, celebrates the victory in a case that has catapulted her to fame.
Vasquez, who quickly became a source of internet fascination at trial, embraced his colleagues after winning his client’s defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard.
Leaving the Virginia courthouse, Vásquez underlined the affection he feels for his client, a movie star, which was so palpable throughout the case that it even sparked rumors of romance, albeit unfounded.
“Today’s verdict confirms what we have said from the beginning: that the claims against Johnny Depp are libelous and not supported by any evidence,” he said.
“We are grateful, very grateful to the jury for their careful deliberation.”
Depp won his case against Heard after a six-week televised trial. He was not present at the verdict.
Heard was ordered to pay the actor $15 million in damages, but the jury also awarded him $2 million for part of his own counterclaim.
The jury found that she had been defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers, who accused her of creating a detailed hoax that included vandalizing her apartment to make it look worse to the police. The jury awarded him $2 million in damages.
In total, Heard will have to pay her ex-husband $8.35 million.
The jury, made up of five men and two women, returned its verdict on Wednesday after nearly 13 hours of deliberation spread over three days in the district court of Fairfax, Virginia.
Depp did not attend the verdict. He is working in the UK and was seen in a Newcastle pub. Heard was present at the reading of the verdict.
Depp fans cheered outside the courtroom as the jury returned its verdict.
Vasquez has become one of the best-known figures among supporters of the case.
After her questioning of Heard, a meme depicted the lawyer as Thor, the god of thunder played by Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel movies.
Google Trends, a tool made available by Google to measure the popularity of various search terms over time, shows that search interest for the words “Camille Vásquez” increased from May 16 to 18.
On May 18, a photographer from TMZ asked Vasquez about online rumors that she and Depp might be dating. Vasquez laughed and refused to answer further. Already before, TMZ had reported that the rumors were false and that the two are “definitely not dating,” citing “sources related to Camille Vasquez.”
Following the verdict, Heard released a statement saying she was “heartbroken.”
“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I am heartbroken that the mountain of evidence was still not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and dominance of my ex-husband,” she stated.
“I am even more disappointed in what this verdict means for other women. It’s a throwback. It turns back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke out and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It pushes back the idea that violence against women should be taken seriously.”
And he added that the result was an attack on freedom of expression.
“I am sad that we lost this case. But it saddens me even more that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American: the right to speak freely and openly.”