Amber Heard has appealed her conviction
The actress, who was recently spotted in Spain, has retained lawyers David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown of Ballard Spahr for the upcoming appeal.
On Tuesday, Amber Heard officially filed an appeal, giving 16 reasons, four months after a jury awarded her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, $10.3 million in damages.
During the trial, which ended in June, Depp claimed he was defamed by a 2018 op-ed Heard wrote at the request of the ACLU in support of victims of domestic violence. The Washington Post article did not mention the actor by name, but he successfully argued that readers could infer that she was talking about him in two of her sentences, and in her headline, "Amber Heard: I stood up to sexual violence - and faced the wrath of our culture". The jury also awarded Amber Heard $2 million in damages for her counterattack on a statement by Depp's lawyer, Adam Waldman, in which he called Amber Heard's abuse allegations a "hoax. As soon as the case ended, Heard was expected to appeal.
Admissibility of evidence
According to documents obtained by Vanity Fair, the grounds for the appeal range from the lack of "clear and convincing evidence" of actual malice, the standard by which defamation cases are tried, to the trial court's inability to invalidate the damages that the jury awarded after finding that Heard and Depp had defamed each other, something "inherently and irreconcilably inconsistent".
Some of these grounds had already been mentioned in court or in post-trial interviews by her former lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft. Several of the points concern evidence that was admitted but should not have been, and evidence that should not have been admitted, including various communications with medical professionals as well as employees, friends and family members.
In another point, the document says: "The trial court erred in allowing Mr. Depp to argue or suggest at trial that the jury could award damages based on statements or conduct that predated the publication of the challenged article." In other words, Johnny Depp sued because of the article in question, claiming that he lost professional opportunities and was owed damages because of it, but led the jury to believe that Amber Heard was on trial for statements or events prior to the publication of the Washington Post article in 2018 (they reached a divorce settlement in 2016).
Change of lawyers
In August, a spokesperson for Heard announced that she had separated from Bredehoft and retained David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown of Ballard Spahr to handle the appeal, while Ben Rottenborn of Woods Rogers would remain as co-counsel. Ballard Spahr recently defended the New York Times against a defamation suit by former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and won.
A spokesperson for Heard told Vanity Fair in August that "a different courtroom warrants a different representation, especially as so much new evidence is now coming to light.
The filing of the complaint in the Virginia court comes just after Johnny Depp appeared in the US. He was photographed signing autographs in New York while on a North American tour with Jeff Beck. He performed in New Jersey on Tuesday night.
Amber Heard was also recently photographed in Spain.