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Amber Heard's lawyer Elaine Bredehoft is stepping down as Heard fights to appeal the result of Johnny Depp's defamation case.
After weeks of testimony from witnesses including both Depp and Heard, a jury largely sided with Depp and awarded him $10.4 million (£8.59m) in damages. Heard won part of her countersuit and was awarded $2m (£1.65m), however soon after the result was announced Bredehoft shared Heard's plans to appeal the verdict.
The appeal was officially filed last month, but Bredehoft is not set to continue with the case as a press release shared today (15 August) explained Heard has hired a new appellate counsel.
David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown of Ballard Spahr will be taking on the case after Bredehoft's departure, with the pair having previously successfully defended The New York Times against Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit earlier this year.
In a joint statement, Brown and Axelrod said: "We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this appeal as it is a case with important First Amendment implications for every American. We're confident the appellate court will apply the law properly without deference to popularity, reverse the judgement against Ms. Heard, and reaffirm the fundamental principles of Freedom of Speech."
Brown and Axelrod will be joined in the case by Heard's existing lawyer, Ben Rottenborn, but Bredehoft said the appeal offered 'the perfect time to pass the baton'.
She continued: "I have pledged to Amber and her appellate team my complete cooperation and assistance as they move forward on a path towards success."
When Heard's legal team filed the appeal, a spokesperson for Heard told The Los Angeles Times: “We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the 1st Amendment. We are therefore appealing the verdict. While we realize today’s filing will ignite the Twitter bonfires, there are steps we need to take to ensure both fairness and justice."
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Depp argued: "The jury listened to the extensive evidence presented during the six-week trial and came to a clear and unanimous verdict that the defendant herself defamed Mr. Depp, in multiple instances. We remain confident in our case and that this verdict will stand."
The appeal comes after Heard requested a mistrial in the defamation case, claiming one of the jurors was incorrectly seated, however a judge rejected the request last month.
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