Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are now awaiting answers on their respective appeals

On 11/23 heard of amber, through her last legal team at Ballard Spahr, filed her brief to appeal her ex-husband’s verdict Johnny Depp‘s defamation lawsuit against her. After the trial, a six-week public spectacle streamed from a courtroom in Fairfax County, Virginia, from April to June, a jury found Heard responsible for three counts of defamation and awarded Depp more than $10 million in damages.

Heard hired a new company after the trial, and the team is now led by First Amendment stars Jay Ward Brown and David L Axelrod. The opening letter lays out several grounds for the court appeal Penney Azcarate‘s proceedings, and these do indeed contain First Amendment arguments. That Washington Post Comment that Depp sued Heard, claiming it had a “devastating” impact on his career, was published in 2018 and written by Heard in association with the American Civil Liberties Union; it supported legal protections for victims of domestic violence. She did not use his name in it and described herself as a “public figure representing domestic violence.” The argument is that her comment could be just that: an opinion.

“The trial court also erred in overriding Heard’s objection in which she argued that the contested statements were unworkable statements of opinion and were not reasonably capable of conveying the alleged defamatory implication,” it said on file (Deadline released the appeal brief in full). “This attitude, if allowed to persist, will undoubtedly have a chilling effect on other women who wish to speak out about abuse involving powerful men.”

The appeal also argues that the trial should never have continued in the first place. The Virginia court is not the appropriate place to hold the trial because the lawsuits have no real connection to the state and neither party has spent significant time there, it argues. (Depp’s camp has previously argued successfully because the Washington Post was published in Virginia, the case fell within that jurisdiction. That post was not involved in the case.) The brief also said the American trial should not have proceeded because a judge in London’s High Court found more than 10 of Heard’s allegations of Depp’s domestic abuse to be “essentially true.” would have . (Depp sued the publisher of The sun in the UK in 2018 for a headline that referred to him as a “wife beater,” but failed to refute the label in court and lost. When he tried to appeal, his application was denied.)

As for the US trial, the brief allegations allege that when it ultimately went ahead, there were issues regarding admissible and prohibited evidence, as well as Depp’s lack of evidence of actual malice and the instructions to the jury regarding actual malice gave. “First, [Depp] did not show that Heard was aware of and intended to communicate the alleged defamatory implication that he had abused her,” it said. Second, he has not demonstrated that Heard knew the alleged implication was false or subjectively harbored serious doubts about its truth. The trial court erred in refusing to reverse the jury verdict and find in Heard’s favor.”

“The trial court then rejected Heard’s proposed jury direction on the ‘communicative intent’ aspect of actual malice,” it said. “Consequently, the jury instructions lacked an important prerequisite for establishing a charge of implied defamation.”

Heard isn’t the only one appealing the jury’s decisions in the spring trial. After Heard Depp countered to $100 million, she won in one of the three defamation cases. Adam Waldman, A lawyer for Depp at the time had issued a statement Daily mail in 2020 amid Depp’s other defamation lawsuit against the publisher of The sun, and said that Heard’s abuse allegations were a “hoax.” Heard’s team claimed that Depp was “performatively liable” for the testimonies of his representative, and the jury agreed in that one case, awarding her $2 million. Depp’s lawyers have already appealed that decision.

Both appeals are currently under review in Virginia. Amber Heard and Johnny Depp are now awaiting answers on their respective appeals

Charles Jones

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