Attorney: Amber Heard can’t afford to pay damages to Depp after ruling
Los Angeles, Jun 2 (EFE).- The lawyer for Amber Heard said Thursday that the actress cannot pay the damages of more than $10 million that the jury awarded to Johnny Depp after finding that she had libeled him in an op-ed, and she plans to appeal the ruling.
Saying that there are very good grounds for an appeal and that much evidence was not admitted in court but will be introduced during an appeal, attorney Elaine Bredehoft, in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, said that Heard was “absolutely not” able to pay the $10.35 million that the jury awarded to Depp.
And when asked if she would appeal the verdict, Elaine Bredehoft said “Oh, absolutely. And she has some excellent grounds for it.”
After deliberating for three days and a total of 13 hours, the jury in the mutual defamation trial on Wednesday found that the actress must pay $10 million in compensatory damages and another $5 million in punitive damages, although Fairfax County Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the latter amount to $350,000.
In his initial lawsuit against Heard, Depp had requested $50 million in damages for the op-ed she wrote in 2018 and published by The Washington Post in which she said, without mentioning his name, that she had been the victim of domestic abuse.
Heard and Depp were married from February 2015 to January 2017.
In reality, Heard will not have to cough up all $10.35 million awarded to Depp in the case because she partially won her own $100 million defamation suit against the actor, with the jury awarding her $2 million in damages for a comment the actor’s lawyer made that they also held was libelous of Heard.
Regarding the ruling, Heard’s attorney said that it sends a “horrible” message and is a “setback” in attempts to eradicate domestic violence.
“Unless you pull out your phone and videotape your spouse beating you, you won’t be believed,” she said.
She also claimed that the judge had allowed a number of things to occur during the media trial that should not have been allowed, adding that the process had devolved into a “Roman Coliseum” atmosphere due to cameras in the courtroom – something she said she had objected to and which caused the situation to become like a “zoo.”
She said that the attention of millions of people and the pressure from Depp’s fans had “demonized” Heard on the social networks and could have influenced the jury’s verdict.
“This is a setback for women inside the courtroom and outside the courtroom,” Bredehoft said. “What this jury said is if you don’t record it, it didn’t happen.”
Regarding the potential appeal, the attorney said that Heard’s team will present much of the evidence that was “suppressed” during the trial but that formed part of a similar 2020 trial held in London, where Depp filed but lost another defamation case against The Sun for an article the daily ran calling the actor a “wife beater.”
That court concluded that Depp committed up to 12 acts of domestic violence against Heard, Bredehoft said.