Amber Heard Demands New Trial Months After Losing To Johnny Depp

Amber Heard has demanded a new trial - or a reversal of the previous verdict - as the fallout from her defamation case against ex-partner Johnny Depp continues.
Credit: Alamy

Amber Heard has demanded a new trial – or a reversal of the previous verdict – as the fallout from her defamation case against ex-husband Johnny Depp continues.

Aquaman star Heard, 36, was found guilty of defaming the Pirates of the Caribbean actor, 59, in June.

The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory actor claimed that an op-ed about domestic violence, written by Heard for The Washington Post in 2018, had defamed him.

Despite Heard not referring to Depp directly in the piece, the Oscar-nominated Edward Scissorhands actor claimed it had caused ‘significant damage’ to his career and reputation.

Watch as Amber Heard’s attorney says her client ‘can’t pay’ Johnny Depp damages

Following six weeks of evidence and testimony, the jury ordered Heard to pay Depp £8.3 million in compensatory damages.

Depp had initially sought $50 million in damages from Heard, while she countersued for $100 million.

Now, Heard and her legal team have filed an appeal to the courts, arguing that the exclusion of some therapy notes, in which the actress detailed being abused by Depp, had resulted in an ‘unfair trial’.

In the 68-page document, dated late November, Heard’s attorneys say the court ‘improperly prevented the jury from considering several instances in which Heard reported Depp’s abuse to a medical professional’.

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It continued: “If not reversed, the trial court’s exclusion of contemporaneous reports of domestic abuse to medical professionals will make it more difficult for other abuse victims to prove allegations of abuse, and likely deter them from coming forward.

“That holding, if allowed to stand, undoubtedly will have a chilling effect on other women who wish to speak about abuse involving powerful men.”

Her legal team also argued that the verdict should be appealed and dismissed, as they claim Heard did not defame Depp, as she was telling the truth in her article.

Amber Heard
Amber Heard believes the exclusion of therapy notes in her defamation case against Johnny Depp led to an ‘unfair trial’. Credit: Alamy

They said: “This case also should never have gone to trial because another court had already concluded that Depp abused Heard on multiple occasions.

“After Depp filed this case, the United Kingdom High Court of Justice ruled in a separate defamation action brought by Depp that Heard’s abuse allegations were true.”

Heard’s team – which consists of a different set of lawyers than those who initially represented her – also argued that the trial, which took place in Virginia, should have taken place in California where the couple once lived together.

Virginia is home to The Washington Post servers, which the filing says was an ‘entirely inconvenient forum with no connection to Depp or any meaningful connection to his claims’.

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Depp’s legal team also filed an appeal to the case, claiming that the one count of defamation against Heard upon which he was convicted was ‘erroneous’. 

Despite losing the trial as a whole, Heard was awarded $2 million after the jury found Depp’s lawyer, Adam Waldman, had defamed her by saying that her allegations of domestic abuse were ‘an ambush, a hoax’.

Depp’s attorneys wrote: “The jury’s emphatic favourable verdict on all three defamatory statements alleged in his complaint fully vindicated Mr Depp and restored his reputation.”

A group of judges will rule on both appeal requests, and depending on which legal team is left disappointed by that ruling, Depp or Heard can take the matter to the state’s Supreme Court.

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