Amber Heard appeals multi-million dollar verdict in Johnny Depp defamation case

Amber Heard
Amber Heard. Credit: AP

Amber Heard has launched an appeal against the verdict of her defamation lawsuit against Johnny Depp saying it could "have a chilling effect" on other women.

Lawyers for the Aquaman star said the case “should never have gone to trial” and criticised the decision to allow it to go ahead in Fairfax, Virginia.

Ms Heard was sued by Mr Depp over a 2018 article she wrote for the Washington Post about her experiences as a survivor of domestic abuse, which his lawyers said falsely accused him of being an abuser.

In June this year, a jury at Fairfax County Court returned a verdict in his favour and he was awarded 10.3 million dollars (£8.43 million) for damage to his reputation.

In documents filed to the Virginia Court of Appeals, Ms Heard’s lawyers said the trial court had “erred” several times.

Johnny Depp won his US defamation case against Ms Heard in June. Credit: PA

The documents said: “The trial court also erred in overruling Heard’s demurrer (objection), in which she argued that the challenged statements are non-actionable expressions of opinion and are not reasonably capable of conveying the alleged defamatory implication.

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

They added: "This case also should never have gone to trial because another court had already concluded that Depp abused Heard on multiple occasions."

The filing, made on November 23, comes less than a month after Mr Depp filed his own appeal against the court’s decision to also award damages to Ms Heard.

Ms Heard was awarded £2 million (£1.8 million) in damages following her counterclaim, which alleged that she had been defamed by one of Mr Depp’s lawyers, Adam Waldman.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were married for just over a year. Credit: AP

Lawyers on behalf of the Hollywood actor said the judgement in Ms Heard’s favour was “fatally flawed”, but that those in Mr Depp’s favour should still stand.

“This Court should reverse the judgment on Ms Heard’s Counterclaim as to the April 27 Waldman Statement, but should otherwise affirm the judgment in Mr Depp’s favour,” the filing concluded.

Since the trial’s conclusion, Mr Depp has been making a showbusiness comeback.

In August, it was announced that he would be directing his first feature film in 25 years: Modi, about the Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani.

He later made a series of surprise appearances at the 2022 MTV VMAs as the channel’s famous mascot, the Moon Man.

In October, it was also announced that he will embark on a UK tour with his band the Hollywood Vampires next summer.

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