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Amber Heard appeals 'chilling' $10million Johnny Depp defamation verdict

Ali Condon

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Amber Heard appeals 'chilling' $10million Johnny Depp defamation verdict

Featured Image Credit: dpa picture alliance/PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

Just when you hoped the most gruelling trial of the year was over, Amber Heard has officially filed a formal appeal on the verdict of her Johnny Depp defamation case.

The emotional, multimillion-dollar court case wrapped up on 1 June 2022 after seven weeks of testimony, with the jury finding that Heard did, in fact, defame her ex partner Johnny Depp with her 2018 op-ed published in Washington Post.

As a result, Johnny was awarded $15 million in damages, while Amber was awarded $2 million by the jury.

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Despite Depp's win, he too has filed a formal appeal to some of the verdict in the Virginia courts, and it's starting to sound like neither of these two will ever be happy.

Amber Heard has appealed the verdict of her defamation trial against Johnny Depp. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy
Amber Heard has appealed the verdict of her defamation trial against Johnny Depp. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

After setting herself up with a new team of lawyers, Amber Heard got her appeal filed just before Thanksgiving on 23 November.

The appeal, drawn up by attorneys Jay Ward Brown and David L Axelrod, based itself on America's First Amendment, explaining: "The trial court erroneously refused to dismiss this action on the ground of forum non conveniens, based on its mistaken conclusion that Depp’s claims arose in Virginia because the Washington Post’s servers are located here.

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"The trial court also erred in overruling Heard’s demurrer, in which she argued that the challenged statements are non-actionable expressions of opinion and are not reasonably capable of conveying the alleged defamatory implication.

"That holding, if allowed to stand, undoubtedly will have a chilling effect on other women who wish to speak about abuse involving powerful men."

Elsewhere in the appeal, Amber's lawyers call out Judge Azcarate for unfairly instructing the jury before they ruled heavily in Johnny's favour, by 'excluding highly probative evidence' and 'admitting irrelevant and prejudicial evidence'.

Johnny first sued his ex-wife for $50 million back in 2019, after the Washington Post published an op-ed written by Amber Heard, in which she wrote about being a 'public figure representing domestic abuse'.

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Although the Pirates of the Caribbean star was never mentioned by name in the piece, the actor accused Heard of defamation, claiming that the article had 'devastated' his career.

Johnny Depp won the defamation trial he was embroiled in with ex-partner Amber Heard. Credit: Stephen Bisgrove/ Alamy Stock Photo
Johnny Depp won the defamation trial he was embroiled in with ex-partner Amber Heard. Credit: Stephen Bisgrove/ Alamy Stock Photo

During the highly publicised trial this summer, Johnny and his legal team argued that he was the one who had been suffering from domestic abuse during his relationship with Heard.

The court case came two years after the UK High Court ruled against Depp in his case against The Sun, when the British tabloid referred to him as a 'wife beater' - a ruling that he hasn't yet been able to appeal.

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Now, Johnny is hoping he'll have more luck appealing this year's defamation court case in Virginia, despite winning on most counts.

Depp's team, led by lawyer Benjamin Chew, added that 'although the trial court decided the vast majority of those issues sensibly and correctly' a few of the decisions made were 'erroneous'.

But, just like her ex-husband, Amber Heard isn't going down without a fight on this one.

Her lengthy appeal concludes: “To find in favour of Depp, the jury must have concluded that Depp did not abuse Heard and that Heard knowingly lied in accusing him of abuse.

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“But, to find in favour of Heard, the jury must have concluded that Heard told the truth about being a victim of domestic abuse by Depp. Accordingly, the verdict against Heard cannot stand."

Topics: Celebrity, Amber Heard, Johnny Depp, US News

Ali Condon
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