Amber Heard Makes Big Legal Change Amid Johnny Depp Appeal

Amber Heard is changing tactics for her appeal in her defamation case against her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. According to a report by Entertainment Tonight, Heard has hired a new legal team to contest the verdict of Depp's sensational lawsuit against her. She is working with David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown of Ballard Spahr, who seem confident that they can turn this case in her favor.

Heard was in court earlier this year because Depp sued her for $50 million, claiming that her op-ed about spousal abuse was false and that it had severely damaged his reputation and his career. The jury did not award Depp that full amount but decided that his lawsuit was valid and that he deserved $10 million in compensatory damages. It also found Heard's counterclaim to be legitimate after one of Depp's lawyers publicly called her case a "hoax." She was awarded $2 million in damages, but the public perception was that Depp won and Heard lost.

Axelrod and Brown believe they can change that. They told ET: "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 judgment against Ms. Heard, and reaffirm the fundamental principles of Freedom of Speech."

Heard previously worked with Ben Rottenborn of Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black and Elaine Charlson Bredehoft of Bredehoft Cohen Brown & Nadelhaft. Bredehoft is stepping down, but Rottenborn will stay on as co-counsel. Bredehoft told reporters: "This is the perfect time to pass the baton. I have pledged to Amber and her appellate team my complete cooperation and assistance as they move forward on a path towards success."

A spokesperson for Depp said that he and his legal team are not worried about the results of an appeal. They said: "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."

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It's not clear when the former couple is due back in court, but in the meantime, the trial has never truly stopped in the virtual court of public opinion. Since both stars have new projects premiering soon, that may be the more important venue for their wallets regardless.