Wednesday 1 June 2022

Johnny Depp should be at least $8.3 million richer, in theory, today!

 Johnny Depp has won his case, with $15 million awarded to him, for Amber Heard's defamatory and false claims of physical and sexual violence, with her in turn winning $2 million for a defamatory statement by his agent. 

That sees Johnny Depp walking away richer with at least $8.3 million winnings from the trial, after possible reductions. 

As a prominent American lawyer, Jonathan Turley, says:

'Depp walks away with a far greater victory in the rejection of Heard's allegations.  ...

'...Depp was only found guilty for the statement of his agent. The jury also rejected any punitive award for that agent. With the reduction, Depp can walk with $10,3000,000. Again, the court can consider a reduction of the award under remittitur.

'...Even if Heard's award stands, that still means that Heard is hit with an $8,300,000. Even though the punitive award was statutorily reduced, it showed that the jury not only disbelieved Heard but sought to impose added penalties in light of her conduct.

'...When I teach defamation, we often discuss how much of these cases turn on credibility judgments. Here the jury clearly saw little credibility in Heard and an abundance of culpability...

'...We also discuss in torts how rare punitive awards are in the United States despite the public perception. Punitive damages are awarded in only around one percent of cases.'

Jonathan Turley, Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, criminal defense attorney, and legal analyst, 1 June 2022, on his Twitter account.

Another well known lawyer, Will Chamberlain, Senior Counsel for the IAP, Article III Project and UnsilencedOrg, meanwhile, referenced specific evidence presented during the trial and ripped apart Amber Heard's statement in which she alleged the trial set women (rather than her) back — he said:

'Amber Heard was on tape admitting to hitting Johnny Depp and daring him to accuse her of domestic abuse and it STILL took an immense amount of money and years of litigation for Depp to clear his name

'"This sets back women"

'[ ... I]f you can avoid beating up your husband, admitting it on tape, and then writing op-eds claiming that *he* was the abuser, you'll be fine' 

Addressing incorrect claims Amber Heard could use bankruptcy to escape the verdict, Robert Barnes, a high profile trial lawyer noted,

'Bad news for #AmberHeard -- Bankruptcy Code Section 523(a)(6) prevents a debtor from obtaining the discharge of any debt for “willful and malicious injury by the debtor to another." In other words, her $8M+ debt to #JohnnyDepp must be paid in full, and cannot be discharged by BK.'

Tuesday 4 January 2022

South African parliament burns. Man middle-named 'Christmas' arrested.

Zandile Christmas Mafe is the man who is alleged to have burnt down South Africa's National Assembly house of parliament. 

He is charged with housebreaking, arson, theft, and seemingly contravention of the Explosives Act. 

Usually, in such matters, government Legal Aid would represent an accused person who cannot pay. However, a private attorney has taken the matter without charging. 

Mafe is being represented free of charge (pro bono) by Luvuyo Godla, a high profile lawyer best known for regularly representing the marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in their most important matters. Usually, legal aid will be provided by the government Legal Aid board where potential clients can't pay. Attorneys traditionally also all do some pro bono work each year, how much, depending on their appetite for such cases, and which cases they choose to take on.

Godla's prolific clients, the EFF, however, are unlikely to object to his, free of charge, representing the accused arsonist. The EFF has long called for parliament to be moved from Cape Town, and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called the fire a 'beautiful fire', while top EFF parliamentarian, Floyd Shivambu called the burnt down parliament 'colonial' and called for it not to be repaired and to be moved from Cape Town.

Zandile Mafe has pleaded not guilty.

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