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The multimillion-dollar lawsuit for defamation between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp is over. However, if the actress can pay a high bond, it may be reopened with an appeal.
In a tense and short court hearing on Friday, Judge Penney Azcarate finalized the judgment for the high-profile civil trial. The matter ended on June 1. However, during a controversial back-and-forth conversation with the judge, Elaine Bredehoft looked to make a briefing schedule for an appeal for Heard.
Bredehoft was told bluntly by the judge that if Heard and her team sought to appeal the verdict from the jury, her lawyer would need to file court motions. Azcarate also said that Heard would have to put up a bond of $8.35 million with a six percent interest rate per year for any appeal to move forward formally.
Damages Awarded Between Depp and Heard
Part of the verdict on June 1 was the jury awarded Depp a total of $15 million in damages. The amount was reduced to $10.35 million immediately in accordance with Virginia’s state limit on punitive damages. The jury found in favor of Depp mostly. However, they also awarded Heard $2 million in damages out of her $100 million counterclaims.
Even though both Depp and Heard attended the full six weeks trial, neither of the two were in the courtroom when the judge finalized the verdict. Depp was not in the courtroom when the verdict was originally announced on June 1. He has decided to spend his time in the UK on tour with Jeff Beck.
Clearing up what she has been saying publicly in the last few weeks, Heard’s lawyer announced on Friday that they will be filing an appeal. Also, Bredehoft has said that her client does not have the funds to pay Depp or pay the pricey bond for the appeal. Her team has approximately 21 days left to file the appeal.
It is Not Over For Heard and Her Team
Regardless of the financial concerns with Heard, it is not over for her team.
“As stated in yesterday’s congressional hearings, you don’t ask for a pardon if you are innocent, and you don’t decline to appeal if you know you are right,” a representative for Heard said while referencing the January 6 Committee hearings.
Prior to the judge finalizing the verdict, Depp and Heard were given the chance to come to a settlement. Azcarate hoped a settlement would be made, that is why she delayed adding the judgment to the docket. Even though there were things said in the past few weeks from Depp, no settlement was made.
Furthermore, a judgment was put together by Ben Chew, Depp’s lawyer, and signed by the judge as the hearing ended. Depp’s team didn’t give a statement, more than likely to let the judgment speak for itself.
The Original Lawsuit
Depp sued Heard in March 2019 for defamation of character after she published an op-ed with the Washington Post in 2018. She claimed she was “a public figure representing domestic violence. Even though Depp’s name was never mentioned, he claimed and proved that it defamed him.
Heard attempted numerous times to get the case dismissed or moved out of the state of Virginia. However, she failed each time. Furthermore, she decided to countersue Depp for $100 million in the summer of 2020.
Written by Marrissa Kay
The New York Post: Johnny Depp, Amber Heard lawyers fail to reach last-minute settlement; by Snejana Farberov and Elizabeth Rosner
Deadline: Johnny Depp & Amber Heard’s Legal Battle Not Over; ‘Aquaman’ Star Formally Announces Appeal, If She Can Pay Up; by Dominic Patten, Ted Johnson
Insider: Judge finalizes jury verdict in Johnny Depp’s trial, requiring Amber Heard to pay him millions of dollars; by Jacob Shamsian