Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard will meet in court on Friday for a possible settlement if the actors decide not to drag out their legal battle any further.
On June 1, a Virginia jury ruled that Ms Heard defamed former husband Mr Depp in a widely watched six-week trial. He also ruled in favor of Ms. Heard in some aspects of her countersuit against Mr. Depp.
The jury awarded Mr Depp $15million in damages after finding he had proven all three allegations against Ms Heard. The amount was reduced to $10 million due to state law limits.
The panel also awarded Ms Heard $2 million in damages.
However, Judge Penney Azcarate, who was overseeing the trial, did not enter the verdict into the docket – which records the current status and summary of a case – and is expected to do so on Friday unless both sides agree of a settlement.
The judge could accept oral arguments from either side on the jury’s 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 be transferred to the Virginia Court of Appeals and both parties will have 30 days to file a notice of appeal.
The actors are not required to be present in the courtroom for Friday’s hearing.
The 58-year-old Pirates of the Caribbean star sued Ms Heard for $50million, arguing she defamed him in a Washington Post editorial titled “I spoke out against sexual violence – and faced the wrath of our culture. This needs to change”.
Although Mr. Depp was not named in the article, his legal team argued that it contained a “clear implication that Mr. Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they said was “categorically and manifestly false”.
Ms Heard, 36, has sued for $100million, claiming her ex-husband smeared him when his lawyer called his accusations a ‘hoax’.
Benjamin Chew, a lawyer for Mr Depp, had previously struck a deal with Ms Heard that could save him from paying millions. Mr. Chew said hello america that her client could agree to a settlement in exchange for Ms. Heard agreeing not to appeal the case.
“We obviously cannot disclose any attorney-client communication, but as Mr. Depp testified, and as we both made clear in our respective closings, it was never about the money for Mr. Depp. It was about restoring his reputation, and he did that,” Mr. Chew said.
His remarks came after Ms Heard’s lawyer said the actor could not afford the $8million she owed Mr Depp and would likely appeal the case.
Recently, Ms Heard told NBC that she fears her ex-husband will sue her again for defamation. “I’m afraid 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 that kind of silence,” she said.
“That’s what I guess a libel suit is supposed to do, it’s supposed to take your vote.”