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3 Reasons Amber Heard Says $10 Million Johnny Depp Defamation Verdict Should Be Thrown Out In Appeal

Amber Heard Says She Still Loves Johnny Depp After Everything But Fears Other Defamation Lawsuits: 'I'm Scared'

Amber Heard is ready for battle once again!

Six months after the defamation trial against Johnny Depp came to a close, the Aquaman star has officially filed an appeal against the $10.35 million verdict! In court documents obtained by Deadline on Sunday, Amber is clapping back against the jury’s decision — and blaming the court and Judge Penney Azcarate for several alleged errors!

There are three main reasons she’s given for appealing Johnny’s massive victory — via her new legal team, Jay Ward Brown and David L. Axelrod of Ballard Spahr LLP. First, she claimed “the court erred in not dismissing Depp’s claims prior to trial” based on his unsuccessful UK case. The actor previously went up against The Sun in a libel suit after they called him a “wife-beater.” The appeal stated:

“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.”

Hmm. Does a UK court’s ruling set precedent for US court? There was also reportedly more information presented in the US trial.

Related: Feminist Orgs Support Amber, Condemn ‘Misuse’ Of Defamation Suits

Secondly, Amber’s legal team believes “the trial court erred in denying Heard’s motion to set aside the jury verdict based on Depp’s failure to provide actual malice.” Per the Supreme Court, a statement is made with actual malice if the speaker had “knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” Public figures have to show actual malice as folks are making statements about them that are incorrect all the time — and they can’t recover damages every time someone repeats a rumor.

As Perezcious readers know, the Pirates of the Caribbean alum sued his ex-wife over a 2018 Washington Post op-ed in which she opened up about being the victim of domestic abuse. While she never mentioned his name, it was clear who she was talking about — the pair had already gone through a messy 2016 divorce which included a highly-publicized restraining order, not to mention photos of the alleged abuse leaked to entertainment outlets. He claimed his reputation suffered as a result of her words.

The 36-year-old mother’s filing of one put Johnny on blast for “failing to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Heard was aware of and intended to communicate the alleged defamatory implications” and “failing to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Heard either knew the alleged implication that he had abused her was false or subjectively entertained serious doubts about its truth.”

Lastly, the docs claimed, “the trial court erred in failing to grant a new trial for multiple reasons” — such as when she claimed there was a fake juror on the case.

And that wasn’t all — she had plenty more criticisms of the way the court conducted the trial…

Elsewhere in the 68-page appeal filed in late November, the actress insisted Johnny’s defamation claims against her should have been dismissed before the trial began in Virginia because “the challenged statements [made by Amber] are non-actionable expressions of opinion” and “the challenged statements are not reasonably capable of conveying a defamatory implication as a matter of law.” She also believes the trial should have occurred in California where the couple resided together. Virginia, where WaPo houses its servers, was an “entirely inconvenient forum with no connection to Depp or any meaningful connection to his claims,” according to the filing.

She goes on to argue the court “made numerous evidentiary errors that severely prejudiced” her at the trial, including allegations that the court made an error by “excluding evidence of Depp’s abuse and Heard’s state of mind” during the trial, such as by stopping therapy notes from a medical professional from making it into the trial.

Related: Lily-Rose Depp Defends Staying Silent During Johnny & Amber’s Trial

The appeal also brings to attention the shocking amount of $10 million, calling it “excessive.” Her lawyer has previously insisted she can’t afford to pay such a steep price. And it’s not just the monetary damages that will prevail if she doesn’t win her appeal, the doc stated:

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

Meanwhile, Johnny also filed an appeal for the $2 million in damages he owes Amber. As part of Amber’s countersuit, she claimed Johnny had defamed her through statements made by his lawyer to the press. One of the three statements in question was found to be defamatory in court. The sheer fact he was also found to be guilty has Amber’s team up in arms, they noted in her appeal:

“To find in favor of Depp, the jury must have concluded that Depp did not abuse Heard and that Heard knowingly lied in accusing him of abuse. But, to find in favor of Heard, the jury must have concluded that Heard told the truth about being a victim of domestic abuse by Depp. Accordingly, the verdict against Heard cannot stand.”

Hmm. A very inneresting point. Amber is now asking for her verdict to be reversed or to have the trial tossed out altogether for a new trial. We’ll have to see what happens. In the meantime, you can check out the lengthy appeal in full HERE. Thoughts?! Sound OFF (below)!

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or text START to 88788, or go to

[Image via MEGA/WENN]

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Dec 05, 2022 11:32am PDT