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Film

Johnny Depp follows Amber Heard and files appeal over defamation trial

Veteran actor Johnny Depp has filed a notice of appeal only a day after his ex-wife and fellow Hollywood star, Amber Heard, filed one of her own, protesting the outcome of their high-profile multimillion-dollar defamation case that concluded on June 1st. 

The documents, that were filed on Friday in Fairfax Country, Virginia, read: “Plaintiff and counterclaim-defendant John C Depp II, by counsel, hereby appeals to the court of appeals of Virginia from all adverse rulings and from the final judgment order of this circuit court entered on June 24, 2022.”

The day prior, on Thursday, Heard‘s legal team submitted a notice that argued that errors were made during the trial that had prevented a “just and fair verdict” from being reached.

The filings from Heard’s team follow Judge Penney Azcarate, who presided over the six-week trial at Fairfax country district court, dismissing the claim from Heard’s camp that there had been improper juror service. 

“We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the first amendment,” a Heard spokesperson explained after the filing was submitted. 

They continued: “We are therefore appealing the verdict. While we realise today’s filing will ignite the Twitter bonfires, there are steps we need to take to ensure both fairness and justice.”

Depp sued Heard for libel over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post in which his lawyers claimed that she falsely accused him of abuse and defamed him, even though he was never mentioned by name. In the article, Heard described herself as “a public figure representing domestic abuse”.

Heard swiftly filed counterclaims, and alleged that Depp‘s former lawyer had actually defamed her by publicly characterising her abuse claims as a hoax.

What ensued was a tense and often uncomfortable six weeks, where neither party emerged whiter than white. When it concluded, the jury ordered Heard to pay her ex-husband $10million in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages. However, the punitive damages were then reduced to just $350,000 because of a state cap, with the jury also awarding Heard $2m because of her counterclaim. 

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