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Actress Amber Heard demands new trial six months after losing to Johnny Depp as she files 68-page appeal against $10M defamation verdict

Dec 5, 2022

Amber Heard has filed an appeal to the Virginia courts asking for a reversal of the decision or a new trial in the defamation case against her ex-husband Johnny Depp, which she lost earlier this year.

 

Heard, 36, filed her appeal last month and argued that the exclusion of some of her therapy notes, in which she reported being abused by Depp, resulted in an unfair trial. The notes were ruled out by Virginia Judge Penney Azcarate.

 

In June, Depp, 56, was awarded $10.35million in a verdict delivered after his legal team successfully argued that Heard’s Washington Post op-ed, in which she accused her ex-husband of domestic abuse, was defamatory.

 

Heard did not name Depp publicly in the piece but given their status and notoriety, it was evident who she was referencing in regard to her history of being allegedly abused. 

 

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

 

‘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,’ they continued. 

 

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

 

‘This case also should never have gone to trial because another court had already concluded that Depp abused Heard on multiple occasions,’ wrote Heard’s lawyers, referring to the United Kingdom High Court of Justice’s ruling in a separate defamation suit brought by Depp that the Pirates of the Caribbean actor had abused his ex-wife.

 

Her legal team, which comprises a different set of lawyers than those who represented her during the trial, also argued that the trial, which took place in Fairfax, Virginia, should have taken place in California, where the once-married couple lived together.

 

Virginia, where The Washington Post houses its servers, was an ‘entirely inconvenient forum with no connection to Depp or any meaningful connection to his claims,’ reads the filing.

 

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

 

His attorneys wrote in their filing, ‘The jury’s emphatic favorable verdict on all three defamatory statements alleged in his complaint fully vindicated Mr. Depp and restored his reputation.’

 

Both appeal requests will be ruled on by a group of judges. Depending on which legal team is left disappointed by that ruling, Depp or Heard can then take the matter to the state’s Supreme Court.