What does Depp’s trial mean for broadcasting media companies over the #MeToo accusations

Mr. Depp’s argument was that the issue had nothing to do with the First Amendment’s broad protection of speech. Instead, he insisted, it was a matter of the accused’s credibility. “The First Amendment does not protect lies that harm and denigrate people,” Mr. Deeb’s attorney Tell The jury as the trial draws to a close.

Several lawyers said they were surprised by the result, particularly since Mr. Depp lost a similar case in Britain, which has much lower legal standards for public figures suing for defamation. The main difference is that the judge decided the matter in Britain while the jury sided with Mr. Depp in the US, said George Freeman, executive director of the Media Law Resource Center and a former lawyer for The New York Times.

“The jury decides what the jury decides, and often there is no further explanation,” Mr. Freeman said.

Mr Freeman added that the outcome was all the more curious, because the jury also sided with Ms Heard on one count in which she alleges that Mr. Depp’s lawyer defamed her by blaming her for damaging the couple’s apartment.

“When one side is wrong, the other is right,” said Mr. Freeman. “It seems inconsistent to award prizes to both.”

One implication of the divided jury’s decision is that the law, because of its complexities, may not do what people expect: to be an arbiter of the kinds of controversies he/she said that arise from allegations such as sexual assault.

In other similar defamation cases, the publisher was also part of the lawsuit. First Amendment experts concerned about the use of defamation lawsuits in an increasingly polarized climate — particularly against news organizations — said the fact that The Post had not been named a party to Mr. Depp’s case may have made his victory easier.

Ronel Anderson-Jones, a law professor at the University of Utah, said that had The Post sued, the trial would likely be more focused on ways in which defamation laws could be abused.

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