Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial: Amber Heard has 21 days to appeal the verdict
by Ana Walia | Sat, 25 Jun 2022 12:48:37 GMT
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Image Source: LA Times 

The verdict announced for the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard has been declared official and at a hearing on Friday at the Fairfax County Courthouse in Virginia, Judge Penney Azcarate put the verdict into the docket. The verdict was declared official after both sides failed to settle before the deadline.

The hearing, which lasted 30 minutes, was attended by the attorneys representing Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. The verdict, which was rendered in Johnny Depp's favor on June 1, 2022, following 14 hours of jury deliberation, was sealed. In addition to $5 million in punitive damages, the jury awarded Johnny Depp $10 million in compensatory damages. However, the punitive penalties were lowered to $350,000 due to Virginia's statutory cap.

Amber Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages but no punitive damages because she won only one count out of three and the jury found Johnny Depp liable on one count where his attorney Adam Waldman stated that Amber Heard's accusations against Johnny Depp were a "hoax."

According to a report from Deadline, Judge Penney Azcarate also informed Amber Heard's lawyer Elaine Bredehoft that the Aquaman star will have to post an $8.35 million bond with 6 percent interest per year for any appeal to officially move forward. Amber Heard has 21 days to appeal the verdict. Amber Heard’s spokesperson said that she is ready to appeal and released a statement that, as it was stated in Friday’s congressional hearings, one does not ask for a pardon if they are innocent and one does not decline to appeal if they know they are right. But Elaine Bredehoft had also mentioned after the verdict that Amber Heard does not have the money to pay to Johnny Depp. 

Virginia law imposes a 6 percent yearly interest rate on the sum Johnny Depp owes Amber Heard as well. The $2 million judgment against Johnny Depp was challenged by his lawyer, giving him a chance to appeal that part of the sentence. Benjamin Chew, Johnny Depp's lawyer, previously stated during an appearance on Good Morning America that the lawsuit was never about the money for Johnny Depp and made a suggestion that there would be a settlement if Amber Heard did not file an appeal but did not state anything directly. 

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An appeal is used to argue that a trial court made errors in its application of the law, and the person who appeals must show that the trial court made an error or errors in its application of the law and that those errors were not harmless, according to attorney Raiford Dalton Palmer, a managing partner at the Chicago-based STG Divorce Law firm who said that the trial courts are given great deference in their decision-making, as are juries. The lawyer said that a trial cannot be "done over" on appeal. The odds are against you. Even a "victory" for Amber Heard would, at most, lead to a retrial in some aspects of the case. But once more, jury decisions should be extremely difficult to reverse.

Amber Heard penned an essay for The Washington Post in 2018 in which she identified as a victim of domestic abuse and claimed that she became a public spokesperson for the issue. As a result, Johnny Depp sued Amber Heard for $50M and Amber Heard countersued him for $100M. Although she did not name Johnny Depp in her op-ed, it was easily assumed by the world that she was writing against the phenomenon of him, as she agreed in court as well, and also because she had obtained a restraining order against him in 2016.

After the verdict, Amber Heard said that she is disappointed and heartbroken that with all the evidence she provided for the jury, they did not believe her and said that the verdict is going to be a setback for women who speak against domestic abuse. She said in her recent first post-verdict interview that she will stand by her testimony until her dying day and she has no ill for Johnny Depp

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Johnny Depp only wants to move on and return to the things he loves, according to insiders close to the actor, who is now preparing for his summer 2023 music tour with his band Hollywood Vampires. According to a source, Johnny Depp simply wants to move on with his life and has no ill will against Amber Heard. He also has no intention of joining the social media hate train.

The insider said that Johnny Depp who had been performing with friend Jeff Beck and recently announced the tour dates for Hollywood Vampire can not wait to go on tour next year. The source added that even though it’s a ways away, the actor has a ton of projects lined up to keep him very busy in the meantime. After the decision was revealed and Johnny Depp said in a statement that the jury handed him his life back after clearing his reputation. The actor's friends and sources close to him have stated that Johnny Depp is more joyful than he has been in a long time. After all the stress and turmoil he has through over the past several years, Johnny Depp feels that this is a brand-new chapter for him and he wants to concentrate on the things that mean to him most. Music has always been therapeutic for Johnny, and this is precisely what he needs right now.

In addition to his other projects, Johnny Depp, an actor who is gradually making a comeback, is filming "Puffins," in which he plays the lead character Johnny Puff. He is also expected to play Louis XV in the upcoming film Jeanne du Barry, according to many sources.