Amber Heard's Lawyer Reveals Next Legal Step After Johnny Depp Jury Decision
Amber Heard reportedly plans to appeal the verdict in ex-husband Johnny Depp's defamation suit against her. Just hours after a Virginia jury ruled in Depp's favor in his $50 million libel lawsuit against the Aquaman star, Heard's lawyer Elaine Bredehoft revealed during a Thursday morning appearance on NBC's Today that the actress "absolutely" plans to appeal.
Speaking with Today host Savannah Guthrie, Bredehoft said that her client "has some excellent grounds for" an appeal. Bredehoft pointed to a number of factors that she believes resulted in Heard's loss in the weeks-long trial, including the social media attention the case grabbed, which Bredehoft said possibly influenced the jury as well as evidentiary decisions. Bredehoft said, "A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed, and it caused the jury to be confused." Bredehoft went on to contrast the verdict with a different outcome in the UK, where Depp in 2020 lost a libel lawsuit against The Sun after the publication referred to him as a "wife beater."
"And the court found there, and we weren't allowed to tell the jury this, but the court found that Mr. Depp had committed at least 12 acts of domestic violence, including sexual violence against Amber. So what did Depp's team learn from this? Demonize Amber, and suppress the evidence," she said. "We had an enormous amount of evidence that was suppressed in this case that was in the U.K. case. In the U.K. case when it came in, Amber won, Mr. Depp lost."
On Wednesday, following a six-week trial and 13 hours of deliberation spread across three days, a jury of five men and two women awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, finding that Heard intentionally and maliciously defamed Depp when she wrote her 2018 op-ed in the Washington Post, in which she identified as a "public figure representing domestic abuse." Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive damages to the maximum allowed: $350,000.
Bredehoft said Heard, who was awarded $2 million by the jury after it found one statement by Depp defamatory against her, is "absolutely not" able to pay. She added that the verdict sends "a horrible message... It's a significant setback because that is exactly what it means. Unless you pull out your phone and you video your spouse or your significant other beating you, effectively, you won't be believed."