Image Source: Getty / Matt Roberts
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s libel trial reached a verdict on June 1, in which a seven-person jury in Virginia’s Fairfax County Circuit Court found the latter liable for three counts of defamation toward Depp and Depp liable for one count of defamation toward Heard, Time confirmed. The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, and $2 million in compensatory damages to Heard.
Now, roughly six months later, the Los Angeles Times reports that Heard is appealing the court’s decision. According to the outlet, Heard’s lawyers claim there were “numerous errors committed at trial,” including “allowing the case to be heard in Virginia and refusing to allow communications between Heard and certain doctors to be admitted as evidence.”
Heard filed her appeal with the Court of Appeals in Virginia on Nov. 23, and in it, her legal team alleges that California was the only appropriate place for the defamation trial to take place. The appeal states that Virginia was a “completely inconvenient forum” with “both parties and most of the fact witnesses . . . located in California, with none of them located in Virginia,” per the LA Times. Other claims in the appeal include that Depp’s team allegedly didn’t prove “actual malice” in the case.
Depp and Heard both filed initial appeal paperwork a month after their trial wrapped. Depp has appealed Heard’s $2 million damages award, Entertainment Weekly reported on Nov. 3, with his attorneys calling the decision “erroneous” and pushing to get it overturned. According to the LA Times, the next course of action is for Depp and Heard’s case to go to a three-judge court of appeals panel for further decision.
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp Issued Statements Following Their Defamation Trial
Minutes after the jury announced their verdict in Depp and Heard’s June trial, the latter released a statement on Instagram. “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words,” Heard wrote in her Notes app. “I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband. . . . I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American — to speak freely and openly.”
Depp also shared a statement via Instagram following the verdict. “Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people, who for many, many years have supported and believed in me were changed forever,” he wrote in a post. “. . . False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were brought against me . . . six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled.”
Amber Heard Gave Her First Interview About the Defamation Trial Days After the Verdict
On June 13, Heard gave her first interview since the verdict, speaking to NBC News’s Savannah Guthrie. “I don’t care what one thinks about me or what judgements you want to make about what happened in the privacy of my own home, in my marriage, behind closed doors. I don’t presume the average person should know those things,” she said in a clip from the interview that aired on June 14 and 15. “But even somebody who is sure I’m deserving of all this hate and vitriol, even if you think that I’m lying, you still couldn’t look me in the eye and tell me that you think on social media there’s been a fair representation. You cannot tell me that you think that this has been fair.”
Of the jury verdict, Heard said, “I don’t blame them. I actually understand. He’s a beloved character and people feel they know him. He’s a fantastic actor.”
What Happened During Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s Defamation Trial?
Depp and Heard’s highly publicized trial began on April 12 after the former sued his ex-wife for $50 million for libeling him in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed she wrote, in which she referred to herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse.” Heard later countersued with a $100 million claim against the Pirates of the Caribbean star for allegedly damaging her career. The counterclaim came after she alleged that Depp’s lawyer called her allegations against the actor a hoax.
Over the course of the civil trial, testimony from Depp and Heard revealed details about the ex-couple’s short-lived marriage, which lasted less than two years — including graphic allegations of physical and sexual abuse as well as alleged aggression from both parties. Part of determining who was liable to the other was determining whose words were true and therefore not libelous.
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