Johnny Depp Camp Takes Issue With Amber Heard’s $2 Million Counterclaim

The legal team for Johnny Depp contends that he shouldn’t be held accountable for his 2020 statement, which the jury determined to be defamatory to Amber Heard, made by his lawyer Adam Waldman. Johnny Depp’s legal team officially appealed Amber Heard’s counterclaim victory because the decision was “erroneous” and needed to be overturned.

In a 2018 op-ed against domestic abuse, Heard, 36, was judged to have defamed ex-husband Depp, 59, even though she didn’t specifically mention him. This was determined by a seven-person jury back on June 1. He was granted more than $10 million in damages after winning all three slander claims.

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Heard received a $2 million damage award when one of her three countersuit claims was successful. Depp’s team declared they would appeal her victory as she filed to appeal the verdict. His team submitted the document to the Virginia Court of Appeals on Wednesday, arguing that Johnny Depp shouldn’t be held accountable for remarks made by his lawyer.

The disputed remark was made by Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman to the Daily Mail on April 27, 2020, in which he claimed Heard and her associates set up Depp by reporting assault allegations to the police in 2016. The jury concluded that Waldman was representing Johnny Depp when he remarked.

Despite an “emphatic favourable verdict” for Johnny Depp, the legal team, led by Benjamin Chew, writes in court documents that “the trial court was confronted with some novel and complex legal and factual issues.” While most of those issues were wisely and correctly resolved by the trial court, some rulings were incorrect.

The filings also say, “At trial, Ms Heard did not offer proof that Mr Depp had directly directed or made any of the three Waldman Statements. Mr Depp stated in court that, previous to the counterclaim’s filing in August 2020, and he had never even seen the Waldman Statements.”

According to Heard’s legal team, no proof of Mr Waldman’s actual malice was shown at trial. In contrast, Depp’s team asserted, “Mr Waldman is an independent contractor whose purportedly tortious conduct is not automatically attributable to Mr Depp.”

They added, “This Court should affirm the verdict in favour of Mr Depp but should overturn the judgment on Ms Heard’s Counterclaim as to the April 27 Waldman Statement.” Heard’s representatives did not respond when PEOPLE asked them for comment.

Heard changed her legal counsel for the appeal, a representative for the actress revealed in August. Ben Rottenborn replaced Elaine Charlson Bredehoft as co-counsel, and she hired Ballard Spahr’s David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown to lead.

“To defend the fundamental right to free speech, we do not view the jury’s verdict as “the beginning of the end, but just the end of the beginning,” to paraphrase a well-known saying. Different representation is required for another court, especially in light of the abundance of recent new evidence. “In a statement at the time, her rep said.

Judge Penney Azcarate denied Heard’s plea for a mistrial in July, and after Heard formally appealed the decision, Depp’s legal team said they would also be doing the same.

A representative for Heard stated in July that the company “believes the court committed errors that prohibited a just and fair verdict compatible with the First Amendment” and that the appeal will proceed. So, they said at the time, “We are appealing the verdict.” While we are aware that today’s filing will set Twitter ablaze, there are steps we must follow to ensure justice and fairness.

A Depp spokesman released the following statement in response to the development: “The jury deliberated for six weeks, heard the substantial evidence, and reached a unanimous decision that the defendant had repeatedly slandered Mr Depp. We continue to believe that our argument is strong and that this judgment will stand.”

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