According to Deadline, the trial may not be over after all. On June 1, a seven-person jury sided with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor and found that the “Aquaman” actress had committed defamation in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, where she claims that she is a domestic violence survivor.
A jury awarded Depp $15 million dollars: $10 million dollars in compensatory damages and $5 million dollars in punitive damages. The five million dollars were reduced to $350,000 dollars, the maximum allowed under Virginia state law.
However, the jury also found that defamation had occurred when one of Depp’s attorneys labeled Heard’s abuse allegations “a hoax” and awarded her $2 million dollars.
However, on Friday, June 24, Heard’s legal team sought to appeal the jury’s verdict.
Amber Heard’s Attorney Elaine Bredehoft Enters Appeal Plea
In a short hearing in Judge Penney Azcarate’s Fairfax, Virginia courtroom on Friday morning, a final judgment was presented and entered into the docket.
One of Heard’s attorneys, Elaine Bredehoft tried to set a briefing schedule and proposed an official appeal.
However, Judge Azcarate told Bredehoft that she will have to file motions with the court to file an appeal and informed her that the “Zombieland” actress will have to front an $8.35 million bond with 6% interest per year if she wants her appeal to move forward.
Heard and Depp were present for the six-week trial, although Depp skipped out on the verdict reading after performing in the U.K. with collaborator Jeff Beck. A source for Depp said that he wants to move on with his life and focus on his career, which includes a new joint album with Jeff coming out this July.
Unfortunately for fans, neither of the Hollywood stars were in the Virginia courtroom again today. After a special Dateline interview that aired last week, Heard was recently spotted grocery shopping in the Hamptoms.
Although she said that Heard does not have the money to put up the bond, Bredehoft emphasized that Heard will find a way to appeal the jury’s verdict. However, Heard only has 21 days to come up with over $8 million dollars.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Amber Heard said, “As stated in yesterday’s congressional hearings, you don’t ask for a pardon if you are innocent.” Her comments seem to be a reference to the highly publicized January 6 committee hearings. “And, you don’t decline to appeal if you know you are right.”
Will Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Reach A Settlement?
During the trial, Johnny Depp stated that the defamation trial was never about the money. Although he sued for $50 million dollars, he told the jury during his testimony that he wanted to clear his good name and restore his reputation. In a statement posted to social media shortly after the trial ended, he thanked the jury for doing just that.
Many legal analysts have wondered if both parties will reach a settlement. It seems that Judge Azcarate is hoping that the two parties will be able to settle this, which is why delayed entering the judgment into the docket.
Instead of a settlement, the judgment, written by Depp’s attorney Ben Chew, was signed off by Judge Azcarate as the hearing came to an end.
Although the recent U.S. trial ended in Depp’s favor, his 2020 U.K. libel case did not end so well. Depp sued the British tabloid The Sun after they called him a “wife beater.” However, the U.K. court ruled against him.
As Heard prepares to file her appeal, Depp is engaged in another legal battle where he will again be represented by his attorney, Camille Vasquez.
The film location manager for Depp’s film “City of Lies” is suing Depp for assault and battery. The manager, Gregg “Rocky” Brooks, alleges that Depp physically assaulted and cursed at him on the movie set in 2017.
On April 13, 2017, Brooks alleges that Depp struck him in the chest and arms. Brooks alleged that Depp was intoxicated during the incident and claimed that he could smell alcohol on his breath in the court papers. That trial will take place in Los Angeles on July 25.
It remains to be seen if Vasquez will be able to replicate her success a second time.