Johnny Depp counters Amber Heard’s appeal over defamation verdict

Johnny Depp movie
Johnny Depp at the 76th Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande in 2019. Pic credit: © Koffel

Johnny Depp’s legal team countered Amber Heard’s appeal of the jury verdict with one of his own.

This is the latest legal battle between the former Hollywood couple following their live-streamed defamation trial.  

In early June, the jury decided unanimously that the Pirates of the Caribbean star was defamed on all three counts relating to Amber Heard’s op-ed article published in the Washington Post.

The jury awarded the Pirates of the Caribbean star $10.35 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages, which were reduced from $5 million due to Virginia statute law.

Amber Heard won only one count in her counter-claims and was awarded $2 million.

The jury decided that Johnny Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman defamed the Aquaman actress when he accused her of perpetrating an “abuse hoax” when she called the police to the apartment she shared with her former husband in May 2016.

Johnny Depp’s legal countermove is strategic

Depp’s team of lawyers filed in Fairfax County appealing the verdict about one day after Amber Heard.

“Plaintiff and Counterclaim-Defendant John C. Depp, II, by counsel, hereby appeals to the Court of Appeals of Virginia from all adverse rulings and from the final judgment order of this Circuit Court entered on June 24, 2022,” said the four-page notice of appeal obtained by Deadline.

Depp’s team made the counterclaim as a response to Heard’s appeal on Thursday.

The court filing asks the judge to dismiss the $2 million award that the Virginia jury gave Heard in damages.

A source close to Depp told the publication that the actor wants “both parties to move on with their lives and heal.”

The insider continued, adding that “if Ms. Heard is determined to pursue further litigation by appealing the verdict, Mr. Depp is filing a concurrent appeal to ensure that the full record and all relevant legal issues are considered by the Court of Appeal.”

Amber Heard’s team claims the verdict was not fair

Attorneys for Heard filed a notice of appeal to the Virginia court on Thursday asking the court to dismiss the jury trial verdict and all the post-trial motions that did not go in favor of the actress.

“We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment,” a Heard spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday, continuing:

“We are therefore appealing the verdict. While we realize today’s filing will ignite the Twitter bonfires, there are steps we need to take to ensure both fairness and justice.”

This is the latest attempt by Amber Heard to have the jury verdict overturned.

Last week, Judge Penney Azcarate rejected Heard’s motions to have the jury verdict thrown out after claims of improper jury service.

She also appeared in a televised interview in June, repeating the claims of abuse that landed her in court.

Depp, on the other hand, has been on a music tour with Jeff Beck, which he embarked on in the U.K. before the jury came back with the verdict.

He has since released an album and is working on a new film in France but has remained silent following the favorable jury verdict.

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