Amber Heard reportedly plans to appeal against Johnny Depp defamation verdict

Jurors in US court ruled in favour of Depp’s claim of defamation on three counts after seven-week trial

The actor Amber Heard is reported to be planning an appeal after losing a defamation trial against her former husband Johnny Depp over allegations of domestic abuse.

Jurors in a Virginia court ruled in favour of Depp’s claim of defamation on three counts, awarding the Pirates of the Caribbean actor $15m (£12m), which was later reduced by the judge to $10.35m.

Alafair Hall, Heard’s spokesperson, said the Aquaman actor planned to appeal the decision, according to the New York Times.

Heard had demanded $100m in a countersuit against Depp in which she agued she was defamed by his press agent who described her allegations as “an abuse hoax” aimed at capitalising on the #MeToo movement. She succeeded on only one count and was awarded $2m.

Depp’s lawyers convinced the jury that he did not assault Heard and that her allegations of domestic abuse in a Washington Post article defamed Depp and did so “with malice” or knowing that the claim was false.

In a statement afterwards, which made no mention of the reported appeal, Heard expressed her disappointment. She said: “I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women.”

Heard added: “It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.”

The jurors’ unanimous decision ended a seven-week trial that featured dozens of witnesses and experts weighing in on whether Depp was abusive to Heard during their 15-month marriage.

Lisa Bloom, a high-profile US lawyer who represented women whose sexual harassment claims led to the dismissal of the Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, predicted the Heard-Depp case would be decided on appeal.

Speaking to BBC Two’s Newsnight, she said: “I want to emphasise that this is not the end because most defamation cases are really decided on appeal.”

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She added: “I have handled a number of defamation cases, including representing Janice Dickinson against Bill Cosby, [when] we had to argue two appeals in that case, both of which were successful.

“I think this is an inconsistent verdict. How can it be that Amber Heard was defamed when Johnny Depp’s lawyer said that her allegations were a hoax, and yet Johnny Depp was also defamed when she said she was representative of domestic violence?

“She also got hit with the defamation verdict for the headline in the article, which she did not write … I think this is going to go up on appeal. I think within a year or two, we’re going to have a more definitive answer and outcome in this case.”


Matthew Weaver

The GuardianTramp

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