Amber Heard gets new team of lawyers to appeal Johnny Depp's 'chilling' libel win

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By Asiya Ali

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Amber Heard has hired a new legal team to appeal against the result of Johnny Depp's libel trial verdict.

In June, the Virginia jury largely sided with the 59-year-old actor and found that his former wife had defamed him on three counts in her 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post - where she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse.

Despite not naming her ex-husband in her article, the explosive trial concluded with Depp being awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, while Heard was granted $2 million in compensatory damages, but no punitive damages.

According to BBC News, the 36-year-old Aquaman actress' new legal team is now calling for the jury's original verdict to be dismissed, or for a new trial to be held.

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Credit: MediaPunch Inc / Alamy

As reported by the Independent, Heard announced in August that she hired high-profile attorneys David L Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown to lead her appeal - where she hopes to overturn the multi-million-dollar verdict and avoid paying her ex-husband.

Elaine Bredehoft, who represented the actress during the highly publicized lawsuit, has stepped down while Ben Rottenborn will continue to work as co-counsel on the team.

The Rum Diary star's new lawyers are contending that the trial was held in the wrong state, and are also objecting to the judge's decision to dismiss certain pieces of evidence - such as notes from therapists verifying allegations of abuse, per BBC News.

In a lengthy written document, her lawyers argued: "That holding, if allowed to stand, undoubtedly will have a chilling effect on other women who wish to speak about abuse involving powerful men."

The actress' team went on to cite the previous unsuccessful libel suit the Edwards Scissorhands star brought against The Sun in 2018, for calling him a "wife-beater" in a newspaper article.

They noted that the separate US libel case "should never have gone to trial" because "another court had already concluded that Depp abused Heard on multiple occasions".

"After Depp filed this case, the United Kingdom High Court of Justice [the High Court of England and Wales sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice] ruled in a separate defamation action brought by Depp that Heard's abuse allegations were true," they added.

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Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

The move comes a month after the Fantastic Beasts star filed his own formal appeal against the Virginia jury's decision to award Heard money - describing it as "erroneous," per the Independent.

Following his legal victory, Depp has been pursuing his music career by performing with Jeff Beck and has also announced a 2023 tour with his rock group Hollywood Vampires.

In the past few months, he made a surprise cameo at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards - joking with the audience that he "needed the work" - and most recently made an appearance in Rihanna's SavageXFenty fashion show which has been met with criticism.

Featured image credit: REUTERS / Alamy

Amber Heard gets new team of lawyers to appeal Johnny Depp's 'chilling' libel win

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

Amber Heard has hired a new legal team to appeal against the result of Johnny Depp's libel trial verdict.

In June, the Virginia jury largely sided with the 59-year-old actor and found that his former wife had defamed him on three counts in her 2018 op-ed for The Washington Post - where she described herself as a victim of domestic abuse.

Despite not naming her ex-husband in her article, the explosive trial concluded with Depp being awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, while Heard was granted $2 million in compensatory damages, but no punitive damages.

According to BBC News, the 36-year-old Aquaman actress' new legal team is now calling for the jury's original verdict to be dismissed, or for a new trial to be held.

wp-image-1263181926 size-full
Credit: MediaPunch Inc / Alamy

As reported by the Independent, Heard announced in August that she hired high-profile attorneys David L Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown to lead her appeal - where she hopes to overturn the multi-million-dollar verdict and avoid paying her ex-husband.

Elaine Bredehoft, who represented the actress during the highly publicized lawsuit, has stepped down while Ben Rottenborn will continue to work as co-counsel on the team.

The Rum Diary star's new lawyers are contending that the trial was held in the wrong state, and are also objecting to the judge's decision to dismiss certain pieces of evidence - such as notes from therapists verifying allegations of abuse, per BBC News.

In a lengthy written document, her lawyers argued: "That holding, if allowed to stand, undoubtedly will have a chilling effect on other women who wish to speak about abuse involving powerful men."

The actress' team went on to cite the previous unsuccessful libel suit the Edwards Scissorhands star brought against The Sun in 2018, for calling him a "wife-beater" in a newspaper article.

They noted that the separate US libel case "should never have gone to trial" because "another court had already concluded that Depp abused Heard on multiple occasions".

"After Depp filed this case, the United Kingdom High Court of Justice [the High Court of England and Wales sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice] ruled in a separate defamation action brought by Depp that Heard's abuse allegations were true," they added.

wp-image-1263181941 size-full
Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

The move comes a month after the Fantastic Beasts star filed his own formal appeal against the Virginia jury's decision to award Heard money - describing it as "erroneous," per the Independent.

Following his legal victory, Depp has been pursuing his music career by performing with Jeff Beck and has also announced a 2023 tour with his rock group Hollywood Vampires.

In the past few months, he made a surprise cameo at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards - joking with the audience that he "needed the work" - and most recently made an appearance in Rihanna's SavageXFenty fashion show which has been met with criticism.

Featured image credit: REUTERS / Alamy