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tv   CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell  CNN  June 1, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT

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something, right, which is actually false. you have knowledge of its falsity or you publish it with respect to reckless disregard as to its truth. the jury has to make that assessment as to the claims they're addressing from johnny depp to amber heard and may have to pivot, victor, and determine whether or not amber heard in terms of her saying your lawyer said me being a domestic survivor was a hoax, was that in effect defamatory too. there's a lot for them to have gone through, and there's a number of things to evaluate with respect to reaching this unanimous seven-person verdict. >> we see the judge coming out here now. let's see. >> yes, your honor. >> let's listen in for a second. >> everybody in the gallery, this is a court of law, and regardless of verdict, i will not tolerate any outbursts
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whatsoever. okay. thank you. it sound like they're bringing in the jury right now. the jury is coming in and getting situated and then we are waiting. joey, are we going to hear guilty or not guilty? are we going to hear that? >> this is a civil trial. it's assessed in terms of liability or not liable. liable or not liable. if you're liable you get to the issue of damages which are monetary. if not liable, there's nothing further to discuss. >> whether amber heard is liable or not liable. >> first johnny, are you defaming johnny depp and is johnny depp liable to amber heard. the standard of proof is not reasonable doubt. it's a preponderance of the evidence meaning is more likely or not. >> let's go back into the
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courtroom. >> can i have the attorneys roach for a moment. >> they're discussing something, and we done know what it is, and that's why they do it at side bar. i just want to mention there are seven members on this jury. it's not like a criminal trial. we know that there are five men and two women which is interesting, but the jury does have to be unanimous, which is unlike other states. in a civil trial they do not have to be unanimous, here they do. >> let's bring in lonnie now. is the jury's decision on liability and damages is that final word? >> well, they can always appeal, right. like johnny depp is appealing his case in the uk against the son. he hasn't won any of those appeals, and we need to remember if damages are awarded, there's
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compensatory damages and punitive. there's a cap at $350,000, if they award more than that, the judge will lower to 350,000. >> for defamatory statement, one or more, you need to fill out the compensatory damages. it has to be at least a dollar for compensatory damages and whatever you feel the damages would be. and punitive damages, you can p, if i can have you retire back to the room and do that. >> it appears here that the form was improperly completed. maybe if there is some finding of damages here that they just didn't write it into the space. >> exactly. joey and i looked at each other because we don't know what the judge is saying, but she didn't say if you find damages. she put it as an affirmative
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statement. damages have to be filled in. >> yeah, that's what i heard, and just to make the distinction as lonnie brilliantly explained, there's a couple of portions of damages, compensatory and punitive. compens compensatory damages are designed to make you whole, damages lost that are attributable to defamation. someone does something to you, you can pinpoint the specific amount. that's designed to compensate you. punitive damages are designed to punish you, to say what you did is wrong, and i'm going to show how wrong it is by putting as many zeros as i can. before we go on or get too excited about that, if she says hey, you have it fill in the number amount, she being the judge, there was an assessment as to liability, we've seen cases where you can be liable and the amount can be a dollar. >> and in fact, the judge just said that. >> lonnie, does this mean that we think that amber is going to be liable for damages or johnny depp or both? >> well, i don't know which side, but it's very clear to me
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that they did find liability somewhere, and the arguments made by johnny depp's attorneys in the closing arguments, they said, look, all he really cares about is the liability. he wants to be able to tell his truth. he doesn't care about the money. you can come back with zero if you want. so maybe they decided, oh, we just have the find the liability and we're not going to worry about the damages. neither side really argued strenuously about the damages. i can see why the jury might have thought that's not the important part. we find the liability, and the way the forms are filled out, that's at the very bottom of the form, the damages part. they went through and found the liability, they may have thought, okay, that's the important part, we're not going to worry about the damages. >> it's interesting to see how long they will be in the room if they've settled on a number, and just forgot to write it in, or in this moment, they're going to decide what that number is. we're going back to see exactly what the judge said. there was a bit of a technical
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glitch that clipped the beginning of the sentence. we can get that back to find out exactly what was said. let's bring in chloe milas now. there has been a fascination with the depp heard trial. more than a hundred hours of testimony. tell us what you're seeing. >> there are a lot of factors at play, and i have talked to jean and joey who are great legal experts about this and a lot of it has to do social media, tiktok and viral moments, a lot of the moments about domestic abuse, these are very serious allegations, and claims being made on both sides here, and some of that has gotten lost in the court of public opinion. that really has heavily been tipped in johnny depp's favor. that's a question i have been answering even to my own family members who are peppering me with questions for the past several weeks, and it's really because johnny depp has been such a celebrity in films and franchises for decades, and amber heard as a newcomer
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comparatively. she's in "aukqua man", and it's interesting to have watched johnny depp's pr strategy, i did a whole piece this weekend for where i interviewed casting directors, agents, publicists at the top of the hollywood saying really his team did such a good job when it comes to getting the message out there. what was johnny depp saying. remember, amber heard switched, this is not a slight against her. it's just a point. she switched pr teams in the middle of the trial. she was unhappy with the way that she was being portrayed in court, and she also got up there on the stand and said, i have been, and warner brothers hasn't commented on this, my role in aqua man has been reduced because of the amount of attention that this trial has gotten. this has not been fun for me. you know, so i think, though, that it's really interesting. you see all of those people who
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are outside of the courthouse right now, every single morning they're there. they're screaming awful things at amber heard. >> it's awful. >> they're in favor of johnny depp, and it's really unfortunate to see that because the center of this case, i feel like is being lost talking about the jelly beans that johnny depp is eating in the courtroom. >> right. and i do want to talk more about that. it has gotten so ugly, you're right. we did go back and replay what the judge said, so let's listen to it one more time. >> i need to give the forms back to you. when you find for defamatory statement, one or more, you need to fill out the competnsatory damages. it has to be at least a dollar for compensatory damages, and whatever you feel the damages should be, the punitive damages, you can put a zero there or fill out that as well, but i need those lines filled out. so if i can have you retire back to the deliberation room and do that, okay.
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>> that was it. >> when he said when you find for the defamatory statement or statements, and she made it plural, you have to find compensatory damages, she gave a road map, a dollar, you can give if you want, so that speaks volumes. it looks like the attorneys may know what the verdict is because they wanted that side bar. we know that side bar is most likely because of that issue right there. you know, i want to talk also about what chloe is saying, i think it's so important. i think another thing that made people turn their attention to this trial, johnny depp testified early in the trial. they was a very early witness for his side, and he testified that he was a victim of physical abuse. he testified that he was hit, and for a man to come out saying i am a man and i am a victim of domestic abuse, he said that she would start hitting him and he would run to the bathroom, he would run to bedrooms, he would lock himself in. she'd be pounding on the door because he wanted it to end. the jury then heard an audio
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tape where amber heard is saying, yeah, i slapped you, okay, i didn't hit you, i slapped you. come on, johnny, don't be such a baby. it was admitted into evidence that there was that. now, there was much against johnny depp, but i think when you hear a man saying i was a victim, i think that demands attention, and i think it did get attention. >> it's certainly something we do not hear often. >> correct. >> and i want to ask about the influence of the testimony about abuse because obviously the testimony from amber heard about johnny depp's abuse plays specifically to the question of defamation. his testimony about her abuse and the recording of her admitting a slap, what role, joey, i'll bring this to you does that play on the suit and counter suit. >> it plays a significant role. right, so backing up for what we're waiting for, which is the actual verdict, we don't know just to be clear whether the jury in making an assessment. clearly they found something
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defamatory, which side that's on. right? we done know whether they're saying that amber heard defamed johnny depp or vice versa because remember, amber heard has noted that through representations that her claim of domestic abuse is a hoax that that's defamatory. just in having this discussion, i don't want a presumption to be made we'll know any minute as to whether the jury has concluded that amber heard is somehow liable or responsible. we'll learn that momentarily or whether the jury has concluded t johnny depp is liable or responsible. talking about domestic abuse, it's important. it's important because it goes to the core of the issue of defamation. what is defamation, as we discussed. it's a falsity. it's a representation that you know to be false. you make it anyway, and it injures your reputation. people build a long time, and take a long time to build repu reputation and when someone with knowledge of falsity or reckless
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disregard as to its truth makes a statement, it's impactful. bringing this full circle, it's not only important about a discussion about what happened in the courtroom, it's important to go back to jean and chloe's point, public opinion. in large measure, that's what johnny depp said, he wants his life back, et cetera, and he wants to be known as a southern gentlemen who would not hit anyone ever. wouldn't do anything to her or anyone else, so clearly the court of public opinion has favored him, and interestingly n enough, and chloe you mentioned family members and mine have asked me about this. so many people want to talk about "the pirates of the caribbean" and everything else, what's an issue is whether the jury can separate the celebrity and analyze the case on the issues at hand before them irrespective of the social media really machine that's been out there for johnny depp. >> we're about to find out. hold that thought because we're going to take a very quick break
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while we wait for the jury to fix that paperwork. and then we will be right back with the amber heard johnny depp verdict. no, he's seizing the moment with merrill. moving his money into his investmentnt account in real time and that's... how you collect cocoins. your money never stops working fofor you with merrill, a bank of america company.
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the jury has not returned. i want to continue our conversation with jean casarez, lonnie coombs and joey jackson. the judge said when you find for a defamatory statement, you have to determine what the damages are, even if it's as little as a dollar: the judge is back. she's likely going to call the jury back in. let's listen in. >> we're ready for the jury. >> they're waiting still for the jury to come in. that shouldn't take very long. hopefully they have the paperwork filled out properly this time. >> lonnie, how fertile is this period for an appeal, 15 minutes to figure out what the number is? >> well, look, jury instructions are very difficult to follow and verdict forms or finding instruction forms can be very difficult to fill out.
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and so i don't think this is going to be necessarily an issue on appeal. they just needed to be clarified that you actually have to fill out a number, and if they come back with $1, that will be fine. that's what they intended all along. one side or the other, the attorneys may say, look, we want to talk to the jury about what really happened and find out if there is an issue for appeal, but not necessarily it is going to be an appealable issue. >> we're moments away from hearing the jury, and i'll interrupt you, joey, if they start talking. isn't it possible they're both guilty? isn't it possible they both were abusive? isn't it possible they both said defamatory things? >> that's an option. it's not guilt, it's liable. >> hold on, the jury is talking. >> thank you, sir. >> in civil case number cl 20192911, mr. depp's claim
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against ms. heard. 1, as to the statement appearing in the online op-ed entitled amber heard, i spoke up against sexual violence and faced our culture's wrath, that has to change. in the "washington post" online edition, quote, i spoke up against sexual violence and faced our culture's wrath, that has to change, end quote. do you find that mr. depp has proven all the elements of defamation? answer, yes. has mr. depp proven by a greater weight of the evidence that question the statement was made or published by ms. heard, answer yes. the question, the statement was about mr. depp, answer, yes. question, the statement was false. answer, yes. question, the statement has a defamatory implication about mr.
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depp, answer, yes. question, the defamatory implication was designed and intended by ms. heard? answer, yes. question, due to circumstances surrounding the publication of the statement it conveyed a defamatory implication to someone who saw it other than mr. depp, answer, yes. do you find that mr. depp has proven by clear and convincing evidence that ms. heard acted with actual malice, answer, yes. 2, as to the statement appearing in the op-ed entitled, a transformative moment for women in the "washington post" print edition and the online op-ed amber heard, i spoke up against sexual violence and faced our culture's wrath, that has to change. in the "washington post" online
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edition, quote, 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, end quote. do you find that mr. depp has proven all the elements of defamation. answer, yes. has mr. depp proven by a greater weight of the evidence that question the statement was made or published by ms. heard. answer, yes. question, the statement was about mr. depp, answer, yes. question, the statement was false? answer, yes. question, the statement has a defamatory implication about mr. depp. answer, yes. question, the defamatory implication was designed and intended by ms. heard. answer, yes. question, due to circumstances surrounding the publication of
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the statement, it conveyed a defamatory implication to someone who saw it other than mr. depp, answer, yes. do you find that mr. depp has proven by clear and convincing evidence that ms. heard acted without actual malice? answer, yes. 3, as to the statement appearing in the op-ed entitled "a transformative moment for women" in the "washington post" print edition and the online op-ed "amber heard i spoke up against sexual violence and faced our culture's wrath. that is to change" in the "washington post" online edition, quote, i had the rare vantage point of seeing in realtime how institutions protect men accused of abuse end quote. do you find that mr. depp has proven all the elements of
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defamation? answer, yes. has mr. depp proven by a greater weight of the evidence that question, the statement was made or published by ms. heard? answer, yes. question, the statement was about mr. depp? answer, yes. question, the statement was false? answer, yes. question, the statement has a defamatory implication about mr. depp? answer, yes. question, the defamatory implication was designed and intended by ms. heard? answer, yes. question, due to circumstances surrounding the publication of this statement, it conveyed a defamatorydepp? answer, yes. do you find that mr. depp has proven by clear and convincing evidence that ms. heard acted with actual malice?
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answer, yes. as against amber heard, we the jury award compensatory damages in the amount of $10 million. as against amber heard, we the jury award punitive damages in the amount of $5 million. in civil case number cl 20192911, ms. heard's claim against mr. depp, 1, as to this statement, appearing in the april 8th, 2020, online edition of the daily mail quote amber heard and her friends in the media used fake sexual violence allegations as both a sword and shield depending on their needs. they have selected some of her sexual violence hoax facts as the sword inflicting them on the public and mr. depp.
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do you find that ms. heard has proven all the elements of defamation? answer, no. 2, as to this statement, appearing in the april 27th, 2020, online edition of "the daily mail" quote, quite simply this was an ambush, a hoax, they set mr. depp up by calling the cops, but the first attempt did not do the trick. the officers came to the penthouses, thoroughly searched and interviewed, and left after seeing no damage to face or property. so amber and her friends spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911, end quote. do you find that ms. heard has proven all the elements of defamation? answer, yes. has ms. heard proven by a
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greater weight of the evidence that question mr. waldman while acting as an agent for mr. depp made or published this statement? answer, yes. question, the statement was about ms. heard? answer, yes. question, the statement was seen by someone other than ms. heard? answer, yes. question, the statement was false? answer, yes. do you find that ms. heard has proven by clear and convincing evidence that the statement by mr. waldman was made with actual malice? answer, yes. 3, as to this statement appearing in the april 27th, 2020, online edition of "the daily mail" quote, we've reached the beginning of the end of ms. heard's abuse hoax against johnny depp end quote. do you find that ms. heard has proven all the elements of defamation?
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answer, no. as against john c. depp ii, we the jury award compensatory damages in the amount of $2 million. as against john c. depp ii we the jury award punitive damages in the amount of $0. >> does either side wish to have the jury polled? >> yes, your honor. >> jamie. >> members of the jury, if this is your verdict, please answer yes. if this is not your verdict, please answer no. juror number 6. >> yes. >> jury number 10. >> yes. >> jury number 15. >> yes. >> juror number 16. >> yes. >> juror number 22? >> yes. >> juror number 27? >> yes. >> juror number 29? >> yes. >> do you find that the jury's verdict is unanimous. ladies and gentlemen, this concludes your service in this case. i want to thank you again for
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your dedication and your hard work during this trial. i know i speak for everybody here when i appreciate -- tell you we appreciate your sacrifices and your time and your public service in this matter. okay. so i'm going to have you go back to the jury deliberation room for one more time, and then we'll release you from there. okay. all right. than k you. okay. in accordance with law, i will amend the punitive damages award to the statutory cap of $350,000 on mr. depp's award. okay. i will set this down for entry of an order, and can we do it on june 24th at 10:00 a.m., if that's available.
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if you could prepare that order and then circulate it, and we can have all of the objections noted on it. >> we'll do that, your honor, thank you very much! and if i get it before that date, i'll take it off the docket. again, thank you to all the attorneys for your professionalism and you're welcome to come to my courtroom anytime. well, give me a few weeks, then you can come anytime. >> thank you, your honor. >> court is adjourned. >> thank you, your honor. >> all rise. >> okay. we've been listening there to the verdict in the defamation case against amber heard by johnny depp, and the counter suit against johnny depp by amber heard. and i would say that there were some stunning findings. so joining us back with us now are cnn's jean casarez, and chloe milas, and cnn legal analyst, joey jackson and lonnie combs. your thoughts. >> a major victory for johnny depp to be clear. apparently the jury really absorbed, digested the
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statements and gave the indication that they rejected amber heard, i mean, completely, just about. we'll get to they are case momentarily, but this is a major victory for him. i can say that i am very shocked and surprised by the nature of this, by the fact that the jury concluded after hearing this that she would be liable for defamatory statements for all three, reminding, $10 million is the compensatory. a brief technical point. punitive damages, which are designed to punish, remember the distinction. compensatory damages are designed to make you whole, money you lost as a result of the defamatory statement. compensatory 10 million, there's a cap in virginia for 350,000. >> this is the johnny depp legal team. he's not in the courtroom, as jean has told us, he's in europe. that's his legal team. they look like they're doing quite a sort of victory moment here. they're hugging et cetera. >> jean, your first thoughts.
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>> this was a long trial, and if you listened to all of the evidence, as i said, that's what i do. there were so many witnesses, and the credibility of amber heard was on trial every single day because she was the one that was alleging that she was a victim and she doesn't like that word, but a victim of sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, and there were so many witnesses that depp's team put on to counter act her, to find her testimony inconsistent. and i could give you examples all day of that. and remember, the witness sits very close to the jury in this courtroom, and they saw her demeanor, she was very emotional. she cried and cried. the question was was that emotion authentic, was it real. the jury could see it better than anyone, and obviously with this verdict, three statements of defamation by amber heard
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against johnny depp. it is significant. i also want to mention, to have a defamation case against a public figure, you don't have verdicts like this because you have to show actual malice as joey defined. it's a higher standard. it's something that is very rare. >> chloe you're getting in a new statement. >> i have a statement from amber heard's team that just came in a moment ago. i'll read you a part of it. it says the disappointment i feel today is beyond words, i'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence and sway of my ex-husband. she goes on to say i'm more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. it's a setback, it sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. it sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously, and goes on to say that i believe johnny's attorney agreed to ignore
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evidence that was exclusive, and sad that she lost this case. >> so let's go over the numbers again. remember that johnny depp sued his ex-wife for $50 million. the jury awarded him $10 million in compensatory damages. the award was 5 million for punitive damages. however, that's capped at 350,000 in the state of virginia. the counter suit, $100 million. amber heard sued her ex-husband for 100 million, was awarded 2 million in compensatory damages. $0 in punitive damages, as we're taking this round of first reactions, a live look outside the courthouse, crowds who, again, as i said have been fascinated with this trial. lonnie, your first thoughts on what we saw in the courtroom. >> once again, some surprise. some shock because legally these are very difficult cases to win.
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because they found all three of the statements that johnny depp was alleging as defamatory to be true, to be -- that they were defamatory, essentially i think is really a finding on the credibility of amber heard, how they felt she came across on the stand. because it's essentially that they rejected what she said to be as true. remember, two of these statements are very vague. they just allege domestic abuse, which could be financial or mental or verbal, and it seemed like there was a lot of evidence even outside of amber heard's testimony that supported that there was some type of abuse, verbal or mental going on, even whether we get to the physical or the sexual or not. so it seems like they sort of rejected amber heard out of hand. however, when you get to the fact that they also found one of the defamatory statements alleged by amber heard in her counter statement, her counter suit to be true as defamatory, then it almost seems like it's
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contradictory because that statement said that johnny depp's attorney was alleging that this was all a hoax, that what she did when that one night when the police were called, the police came, they didn't see any incident. they didn't see any damage, then when the second police came in between, that amber and her friends threw some things around to make it look like there was damage, and they found -- they said that was a hoax that she set this all up, and they did find on that defamatory statement. it seems like there's some contra contradiction there. it's a head scratcher how the jury got to this. the compensate toir damages seem to be fairly in line in terms of what both sides said they lost in terms of wages and jobs they were expecting. those seemed to be in line with what they were expecting. johnny depp to win all three of those statements seems to be somewhat of a referendum on how they felt about amber heard's statement and testimony. >> that's what i'm wondering.
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did amber heard have credibility issues? >> yes. you know, especially in the court of public opinion, you know, which is what i have been monitoring so closely. i think what the jury is probably seeing is just so -- such differing stories of two people in a toxic, abusive relationship, roight? but it was a defamation suit. when you look at amber heard in the courtroom, they're showing photos of, you know, the alleged abuse that she suffered at the hands of johnny depp. johnny saying i've never touched a woman, never laid a hand on a woman. >> didn't his ex-girlfriend, whose name escaped me, what did she testify to? >> there were two well known individuals that went and took the stand, and they said that he -- well, kate moss said that he was not abusive and didn't throw her down the stairs. another actress said that while they were dating, that he was violent, and he was jealous but that he threw a bottle but didn't physically touch me but threw a bottle across the room.
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what i want to point out, to the abuse claims amber was making, she had photos. this is what a lot of people are asking me about, she had photos about redness and, she talked about having her nose broken and appeared on a late night television show, her make up artist saying we covered it with make up. how do you cover a broken nose that you had just 12 hours before. she talked about having clumps of hair pulled out of her head, bloodied and beaten, being physically assaulted by a broken glass bottle. certain photos but not photos of the really bad stuff, right, and i think what you saw in the court of public opinion is you have these receipts for some of the abuse but where is the stuff that you're really accusing him of and they felt like what she was saying really didn't back that up. >> i don't know amber heard's financial situation but an 8 figure award for johnny depp, the likelihood that's going to be paid? >> even before we get to that issue, really, victor, you get
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to the issue of appeal because you can throw out a number of figures as this jury did, but that will go through a whole bunch of machinations of appeals and even during the appeals, settlements, right, and when you look at that, the figure, right, it's a high figure, $10 million, it goes to whether or not she'll have the ability to pay. in the event she doesn't, there's all kinds of attachments and things you could ultimately do. one other issue, quickly, i want to go back to lonnie's point with respect to the inconsistency of the verdict, on the one hand, the second statement which the jury apparently credited, right, as it relates to amber heard saying johnny depp defamed me, said that this was a hoax. so how do you on the one hand as a jury credit a statement saying that, you know, they lied, that as johnny depp and his team when they called this a hoax, but on the other hand, you credit the fact that he defamed her, meaning amber heard defamed johnny depp, it seems so inconsistent. i raise that because that will go for sure on the issue of appeal. >> i can differentiate it.
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the second statement, which they found that amber heard was defamed by what was put in the daily mail, it's very specific. it is talking about make 21st, 2016, johnny depp went over to her house. there was an argument. he leaves. the police come. and there was testimony by every police officer, they didn't see bruising on amber heard at all, but the statement goes on to say that it's an abuse and hoax, but goes on to say that amber heard and her best friend trashed up the whole apartment, spilled some wine, did all this, called the police back. there was no testimony that they trashed that apartment at all. zero in the trial. so that is false. and i think the jury may have found that to be a defamatory statement because there's no basis in fact. >> that's really interesting. and lonnie, also, there were movie producers who testified that they weren't going to rehire johnny depp anyway despite all of this because of his substance abuse issues and
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behavioral issues and being late et cetera, et cetera, and so -- and yet the jury decided that he deserved $10 million for, i guess, lost wages or something? >> yeah, the defamations issue was really interesting because on the one hand, like you said, they had amber heard's team put up all of this information that, look, he had problems with his reputation in hollywood before the op-ed, that he was late, that people knew about his drug and alcohol problems. his own agent of 30 years said, look, i was already having a difficult time getting him jobs because of these issues. i kept telling him, your star is going down. this is not working. you need to change your behavior. however, johnny depp's team put his current agent who said, look, everybody knew that's what you get with johnny depp. it didn't matter. he was still a huge star. we were still in talks for pirates 6. in fact, we had this gentleman's handshake that he was going to have the movie, pirates 6, so he
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lost that because of the op-ed. once again, these two very differing sets of evidence talking about the same issue and they found in favor of johnny depp's witnesses, found them to be more credible. >> all right. jean casarez, chloe milas, joey jackson, lonnie coombs, thank you very much for helping us understand. this was a complicated case, a complicated verdict. thank you all for all the insights and for covering it so well. the uvalde school police chief who led the response to the shooting and has stayed out of the public eye speaks exclusively with cnn. up next, what he's saying about claims that he is not cooperating with investigators. get decision tech from fidelelity. [ cellphone vibrates ] you'll get proactive alerts for mamarket events before they happen... and insights on every buy and sell decision. with zero-commission online u.s. stock and etf trades. for smarter trading decisions,
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the first time since the school massacre in uvalde, texas, the chief of the school police is commenting publicly. chief pete arredondo was the commander on scene who decided that police should not storm the classroom last tuesday, though children were still trapped inside. it took police more than an hour, in fact, to enter the classroom, and that was where a gunman had locked himself in with children that he had shot and students were calling 911 pleading for help. >> the texas department of public safety says arredondo has not responded to a request for a follow up interview with texas rangers investigating the shooting. arredondo did show up last night, though, to city hall
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where away from public view he was sworn into the uvalde city council after winning the seat last month. >> cnn c's shimon prokupecz has been following this since the very beginning. he joins us from uvalde with the cnn exclusive. tell us about your conversation with chief arredondo. >> yeah, so we have been trying to ask hip quem questions, you obviously since the day of the shooting. he was not at any of the press conferences that state investigators had, and ultimately since friday where they told us that he was the on scene commander who made that decision for officers not to go in and breach that door and take out the gunman. we have been trying to question him about that, and finally today we caught up with him. he claims that he's cooperating with investigators, but he also dodged many of the questions we had about his role during the shooting and what role he had in making some of the decisions. >> we have people in our community being buried, sir. we're going to be respectful. >> reporter: i want your
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reaction to the direction that you were responsible for the decision for going into that room. how do you explain yourself? >> we're going to be respectful to the family. >> reporter: i want you to have an opportunity to explain to the parents. >> we're going to do this eventually, and whenever this is done and the families quit grieving, we'll do this obviously. >> reporter: do you understand how the families feel? >> we have been in contact with dps every day, just so you know. >> reporter: they say you're not cooperating. >> i have been on the phone with them every day. >> reporter: they say you're not cooperating. >> we have been talking to them every day. >> reporter: what is your reaction. >> you all have a good >> and he would not. he would not give us his reaction to the allegations from the state investigators. and obviously, yesterday, the state investigators telling us the opposite of what he's telling us, saying he's not cooperating with investigators. texas rangers have tried to follow up with him, have called
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him with follow-up questions and he has not returned their calls. >> both things could be true, that he speaks with dps every day but is not answering the questions germane to what happened on that day through that follow-up interview. shimon, it looks like he was going into work there. is he still the chief of the district school police? >> as far as we know, he is. that's where he was going. that's the school district office, so he was going in there. that question is being asked because he also was elected to city council and was sworn in last night in essentially a private ceremony. was supposed to be public. the mayor's office told us it was want going to happen, and then it did. it was done outside of the public view. cameras were not there. we simply found out because the mayor's office put out a statement telling us that happened. >> all right, shimon prokupecz asking those crucial questions. thank you. let's go to cnn's nick valencia, also in uvalde
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covering the community response there as the funerals continue. what are you hearing from people? >> victor, the agony is reflected on everyone's face you see here. there is so much pain and anguish, more than a week after this shooting. while some have chosen to focus their anger on the disgraced police chief here, the school district we were just talking about, pete arredondo, there are others willing to forgive and would rather focus on healing. i spoke to some residents to ask them about the reaction of arredondo being sworn in as part of the city council. i spoke to a local resident as well, the great grandfather of alexandra rubio, one of the little lives lost last week. >> the guy that made that decision is now going to serve on the city council. what do you thing about that? >> i don't approve of it. i don't think it's right. i don't think it's right at all. >> as for arredondo, i leave it to his conscience, to his conscience, if he wants to
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continue working at city hall or he walks off and finds a different job. >> behind me, it's not just locals showing up to this memorial. i spoke earlier to one man who traveled from 800 miles away on his motorcycle. he said he really wanted to show the community that he supported them. he didn't know what else to do so he showed up here. all this grief is on full display as more are buried today. there are two funerals at least that we know of. irma garcia, 48 years old, the beloved teacher of 23 years in the school district who died while protecting her students. we also know of the funeral of jose flores jr., who is 10 years old, the oldest sibling of four whose father had maintained hope in the early hours after the shooting thinking he might be alive, only to show up at the hospital and be led into a room with the chaplain, knowing his son had died. and these 19 souls will be laid to rest in customized caskets that were donated essentially by
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soul shine industries which are customizing these caskets to reflect the hobbies ppassions of these little children. it's very difficult to see these caskets and know that he's lives will never be able to fulfill their dreams. and again, victor, allison. >> it's beautiful, and it's heartbreaking there. looking at that gift. nick, thank you. >> ukraine's military says the russians now control the majority of the key city of sevsev se severdonettive, which means the kremlin is seeing some success in the region.n. we'll talk about it next.
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released a statement reacting to the verdict we just watched. it found both he and amber heard were liable for defamation. he writes in part, quote, six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also the lives of the many people who have for many, many years supported and believed in me were all forever changed in the blink of an eye. >> very serious and criminal allegations were leveled at me via the media it had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond, and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career and six years later, the jury gave me my life back. i am truly humbled. >> okay, well, now for another moment of physical abuse.
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for the first time, we're hearing directly from jada pinkett smith about the infamous slap at the oscars. her husband, will smith, walked on the stage and slapped chris rock after he made a joke about jada's haircut. she suffers from alopecia, which is a hair loss condition. >> today, on an episode of her facebook series "red table talk" jada interviewed the mother of a 12-year-old who died by suicide after being bullied for having alopecia. she addressed the slap. she said this about oscar night. my deepest hope is these two intelligent capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile. the state of the world today, we need them both and we actually need one another more than ever. until then, will and i are continuiing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, keep figuring out this thing called life together. >> all right, your thoughts? >> i'm so tired of that. and them. and this red table talk splash
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back and forth. where is will, first of all? he's the man who slapped the man, and she's having the conversation on the show. but come out, apologize to him, last thing will posted was an apology in text online. he's got a great social media team. you can record a video, but he hasn't. >> on that note, thanks for joining us. "the lead" with jake tapper starts now. >> the uvalde school police chief has been silent for days. that is until cnn caught up with him. "the lead" starts right now. in a cnn exclusive, a police chief confronted. his response when asked about not cooperating with investigators and that wrong decision to hold officers in a hallway instead of immediately sending them in to take out the gunman who ultimately killed 21 people, including 19 kids.


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