I stand corrected then, the first statement specifically says sexual violence. Still a bit of wiggle room there, but much more concrete than "domestic abuse". The second one, I dunno. She became a figure representing abuse, whether she actually was abused or not. And, she may have seen how men accused of abuse were protected, even if they did not actually commit abuse.
I can see a defence lawyer trying to use these arguments, but it would be a bad tactic. Surely context should be taken into account and it's obvious these statements are about Depp abusing Heard.
Again, actual malice is a specific legal term. It does not mean malicious as we would use it in ordinary life, it means that the person knew it was a lie or stated it with reckless disregard of its truth. If it can be proved she believed what she was saying, then the case would have been dismissed, regardless of whether she said it to hurt Depp. This is the argument Alex Jones is using in all of his lawsuits. You are allowed to say truthful statements, or statements that are true to you, to hurt someone who is a public figure. Defamation is an intentional tort which requires a particular state of mind, in the case of a public figure, to intentionally lie. If that was true to her, she lacked the state of mind, and could not be held liable. If Johnny Depp was a random person though, she could have been found liable either way. The standard is different for public figures.
Either the jury wasn't convinced that she believed it, or Heard did not want her lawyers to argue that she was not actually abused as we would commonly understand it. There may have been some arguments that could have worked but would have been more damaging to her overall than the actual verdict. They chose to have her maintain she was actually abused, which may have been economically the best decision but not the strongest legal argument.
I know actual malice is a legal term and I still think it's easy to establish here. She knew him personally and made statements about something that happened between them. She was there so she knows the truth. Yet her claims were found untrue. The basis is she's intentionally lying.
Idk who Alex Jones is but it's difficult to establish actual malice if someone is talking shit about someone they don't personally know or events they didn't witness themselves. They can always say "well my sources told me this and I'm dumb enough to believe it" etc. Or if you claim Biden flashed his dick to you "well I've never seen him in person before, I really thought it was him".
Interesting case from legal aspect though.