‘Graphic’ docuseries about Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial set for release

A two-part documentary about Johnny Depp’s $50m (£43.2m) trial against ex-wife Amber Heard is set to be released later this month.

The docuseries is a follow-up to Discovery+’s Johnny vs Amber, which chronicled Depp’s 2020 libel lawsuit against British newspaper The Sun for calling him a “wife beater”.

Johnny vs Amber: The US trial will reportedly present a “forensic account of the key evidence and turning points of the case from both sides”, and reveal “in graphic detail the struggles inside the dysfunctional and turbulent A-list marriage”, according to a press release from Discovery+.

It is scheduled for release on Monday (19 September), NME reported earlier this week.

As per news reports, the two-episode series includes interviews with Depp’s lawyers, legal experts, and reporters. It also features behind-the-scenes footage of the trial that captured America’s unwavering interest, and spawned a parallel social media trial that was found heavily in Depp’s favour.

Episode one, according to NME’s report, will cover Depp’s perspective, including his “abusive childhood and drug dependencies”, to present an “alternative version of events that show Johnny to be a victim of domestic abuse himself”.

In episode two, the focus will be on Heard’s side of the story, including “her detailed description of alleged sexual assault told on camera for the first time” and how “advocates of Depp mercilessly attacked her via social media”.

Depp, 59, sued Heard for $50m for implying he abused her in a 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post, titled, “I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.

Heard, 36, pursued a $100m counterclaim against Depp for allegedly orchestrating a “smear campaign” against her.

On 1 June 2022, after three days of deliberations, the jury shared their verdict, finding that Heard had defamed Depp on all three counts. She was asked to award him $10m (£8m) in compensatory damages and $5m (£4m) in punitive damages. However,Fairfax County Circuit Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the latter to the state’s legal limit of $350,000.

Heard was found to have a partial win in her case and was awarded $2m (£1.6m) in compensatory damages, but no punitive damages.

In July, the Aquaman actor filed an appeal against the $10.35m award with her attorneys arguing that they believe “the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment”.

The following day, Depp filed a notice to appeal the $2m defamation award the jury ordered him to pay his ex-wife.