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DEFAMATION TRIAL AFTERMATH

Amber Heard files to appeal jury’s verdict that she defamed Johnny Depp

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp look on as the jury walks back into the courtroom following a lunch break during the Depp vs Heard defamation trial at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, US, 17 May 2022. (Photo: EPA-EFE / BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / POOL)

Amber Heard on Thursday filed to appeal a Virginia jury's decision last month that she defamed ex-husband Johnny Depp when she claimed in a newspaper opinion piece that she was a survivor of sexual violence, according to court documents.

Heard’s legal team submitted the appeal notice to the Virginia Court of Appeals seeking to overturn a lower court’s June 1 ruling. Read full story

After a six-week televised trial, a seven-person jury concluded that Heard defamed Depp and awarded the Pirates of the Caribbean star $10.35-million in damages. The jury also determined that Heard was defamed, awarding her $2-million.

Heard’s team said it sought to ensure fairness and justice through the appeal.

“We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment,” a spokesperson said to Reuters. “We are therefore appealing the verdict.”

The notice also appeals a June 24 final judgment order and a July 13 order against Heard’s post-trial motions.

Lawyers for Depp did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The filing comes more than a week after a judge rejected Heard’s request for a new trial. In seeking the new trial, her lawyers argued that one of the jurors had served improperly. Read full story

During the trial, Depp said he never hit or sexually abused Heard and argued that she was the one who became violent during their relationship. Heard said she had slapped Depp but only in defence of herself or her sister.

After the ruling in June, Heard attorney Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, in an interview on NBC’s Today, accused Depp’s team of suppressing evidence that was allowed in a 2021 libel case in Britain.

Depp sued British tabloid The Sun for calling him a “wife beater”, but a London High Court judge ruled against him.

(Reporting by Tyler Clifford in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker.)

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