Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial: Amber Heard files an appeal to challenge the verdict announced in Johnny Depp's favor
by Ana Walia | Thu, 21 Jul 2022 18:54:53 GMT
Amber Heard files an appeal to challenge the verdict announced in ex-husband Johnny Depp's favor. Image Source: Sky News

Amber Heard files an appeal to challenge the verdict announced in ex-husband Johnny Depp's favor by the jury of Fairfax County Court, Virginia. 

The battle of exes between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard regarding their defamation trial is not over yet as the actress officially filed documents on July 21 to appeal and challenge the verdict announced in favor of Johnny Depp and rewarding him with $10 million. 

The two-page document filed at Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia and obtained by the Law and Crime Network does not reveal the basis of Amber Heard’s appeal, and her legal team did not release any statement regarding the filing. Amber Heard’s spokesperson, however, said in a statement to Entertainment Tonight that they believe that the court made some errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment and, therefore, they are filing and challenging the verdict.

The spokesperson added that although they realize today’s filing will surely ignite the Twitter bonfires, there are steps that they need to take to ensure both fairness and justice. After the verdict was announced, Elaine Bredehoft mentioned that they had great grounds to appeal the verdict, and later, Amber Heard said that she has a binder's worth of years of notes dating from 2011 from her therapist to whom she was reporting the abuse. Both of them also mentioned in separate interviews that there was a lot of evidence that was brought into the U.K. trial which Johnny Depp lost but it was not allowed in the Virginia trial. 

Late last month, when Judge Penney Azcarate made the decision official, she decided that there would be a 6 percent yearly interest added to the damages and stated that if Amber Heard wanted to appeal, she would need to post a bond for the full sum of the damages she owed to Johnny Depp. Her attorneys have previously stated that she lacks the funds to compensate Johnny Depp. Amber Heard, for her side, attributed some of her defeat to social media, where during the trial, derogatory hashtags against her often trended.

Johnny Depp’s spokesperson shared with Entertainment Tonight that the jury heard the extensive evidence presented in the courtroom by both parties for six long weeks and came to a decision which was clear and unanimous that Amber Heard had indeed defamed Johnny Depp in multiple instances and they are confident in their case and the fact that the verdict will stand.

Amber Heard’s legal team filed a motion to get the verdict dismissed on the basis that one of the jurors was not the person who was supposed to serve on the jury, which was denied by Judge Penney Azcarate on July 13th, 2022. The juror was screened, sat through the entirety of the jury, listened to the evidence given in court, deliberated with the other jurors, and reached a conclusion, the judge said. She stated that the sole proof in front of the court was that every juror had complied with their oaths, all court directives, and orders and that the court was bound by the jury's competent verdict.

Judge Penney Azcarate also mentioned that the legal teams for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard spent an entire day questioning the potential jurors before telling the judge that the jury panel was appropriate for the case. They also mentioned that they had the jury list five days before the trial's start and were aware of the error or should have been aware of it at any point during the seven-week trial's duration. As a result, it was guaranteed that everyone involved in this case would be given a fair trial. The Voir dire was fair and impartial for the court, the parties, and potential jurors. There is no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing. A party may not make a fresh objection on a matter that was known from the beginning of the trial, according to Judge Penney S. Azcarate, until after a negative verdict. She reported that the matter had been dropped.

In the verdict, which was announced on June 1, 2022, Johnny Depp won all three counts of defamation against Amber Heard and was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, which was later reduced according to the Virginia cap law. Now the total amount that Amber Heard is liable to pay Johnny Depp is $10.35 million. After the verdict was announced, Johnny Depp took to his social media to thank everyone for their support and love throughout, and especially to the jury, whom he said that they gave him his life back. He mentioned that right from the moment he filed a lawsuit against Amber Heard after she wrote the op-ed for the Washington Post claiming that she was the survivor of domestic abuse, his only aim was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome.

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Amber Heard won only one count of defamation, after which she was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages. She released a statement mentioning that she is disappointed with the verdict, mostly because of how it is going to affect other women out there. She said that the verdict sets back the clock to a time when women were not allowed to speak against their perpetrators and were publicly shamed and humiliated. The actress also said that she is sad because she lost this case but she is sadder because to her it seemed like she has lost a right she thought she had as an American to speak freely and openly. 

Other than their defamation trial, Johnny Depp recently made a pre-trial settlement with a crew member from one of his movies who accused him of violence, which he had denied. They reached a settlement meaning that the case won't be going to trial anymore. But for Amber Heard, the problems do not seem to end as she is engaged in a legal dispute with her insurance company, The New York Marine and General Insurance Company, who according to the actress are liable to cover her costs of the trial. But The New York Marine and General Insurance Company has denied to cover the costs because they believe that the actress' actions were calculative and she wrote the op-ed intending to defame Johnny Depp.