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09th Jun 2022

Johnny Depp’s legal team secretly played monopoly during Amber Heard trial – and they still won

Tobi Akingbade

Johnny Depp’s legal team took a relaxed approach to waiting for the verdict in the Depp vs Heard trial.

One of Johnny Depp’s lawyers said on Wednesday that members of the actor’s legal team played the popular board game Monopoly to ease stress as they waited for a verdict in the trial between Depp and his ex-wife, Amber Heard.

During an interview with Law & Crime Network, one of Depp’s lawyers, Benjamin Chew of the Brown Rudnick law firm, was asked about his experience as the legal team waiting for a jury to reach a decision.

“We were so tense that one of my colleagues bought a Monopoly game, so we played Monopoly in our little breakout room and I saw a side of some of my young colleagues that I’ve never seen before,” Chew said during the interview. “But the second we heard that the jury was coming in, of course we folded up the game and then it was just our hearts were in our mouths.”

This comes after Depp’s lawyers have suggested the actor could decide to let Heard off from having to pay him more than $8m in damages following his defamation trial victory last week.

Depp was awarded $15m in compensatory and punitive damages by a jury who ruled that Amber Heard defamed him with a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she wrote about her experience of domestic abuse.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star sued his ex-wife for $50m, but Heard countersued for $100m, accusing Depp of orchestrating a smear campaign against her and seeking immunity from the claim.

In the end, the jury ruled in Depp’s favour and decided to award the actor $10m (£7m) in compensatory damages and a further $5m (£3.9m) in punitive damages.

However, the punitive damages had to be capped at $350,000 due to Virginia state law, and Heard one of her three claims of her countersuit, with the jury ruling that Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman defamed her.

She was awarded $2m in compensatory damages, bringing the total she owes Depp to $8.35m.

Amber Heard appears to get upset as explicit Johnny Depp text read to court

In the following days, Heard’s lawyer has already said her client is not able to pay Depp the full amount in damages, and that she plans on appealing.

On Wednesday morning, Vasquez and Chew appeared on American TV to discuss the trial and its aftermath.

During the interview with Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos, they were asked whether it was possible Depp could waive the damages required from Heard.

Chew replied: “We can’t disclose 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.”

CULVER CITY, CA - JANUARY 09: Actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard attend The Art of Elysium 2016 HEAVEN Gala presented by Vivienne Westwood & Andreas Kronthaler at 3LABS on January 9, 2016 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Art of Elysium)

When he was pressed on the matter, he said: “We have to be careful what we say but this was about Mr Depp’s reputation, that’s what this was about for him.”

Also in the interview, Vasquez praised Depp for taking “owning his issues” and being open throughout the trial about his struggles with drink and drugs.

She said: “He was candid about some unfortunate texts that he wrote, and I think it was a sharp contrast to Ms Heard, who didn’t seem… or at least the jury may have perceived that she didn’t take accountability for anything.”

She added: “The key to victory was focusing on the facts and the evidence and Johnny’s opportunity to speak the truth for the first time. He was able to connect with the jury and the general public and tell what really happened.”

Discussing a statement from Heard released on Wednesday in which the actress said “women’s rights are moving backwards,” Vasquez said this was “disappointing.”

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