Amber Heard Plans to Appeal Johnny Depp Defamation Verdict, Can't Pay $10 Million Judgment

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Amber Heard is going to appeal the verdict from Johnny Depp’s defamation case against her. 

“Absolutely,” Heard’s attorney, Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, told Today's Savannah Guthrie on Thursday when asked if her client plans to appeal Wednesday’s verdict. “And she has some excellent grounds for it. We even had tried to get the U.K. judgement in to dismiss his case because he already had his shot and that’s one of the issues. But also, a number of evidentiary issues. There was so much evidence that did not come in.” 

After 14 hours of deliberations -- that spanned over three days -- a jury unanimously found that Depp was defamed by Heard and that she "acted with actual malice.” The jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Depp's punitive damages, however, were reduced by Judge Penny Azcarate to $350,000 in accordance with the state's statutory cap. 

Heard, for her part, was awarded $2 million by the jury in compensatory damages for her counterclaim but nothing in punitive damages. The jury found Depp liable after his attorney referred to Heard's claims as a "hoax." 

When asked if her client is able to pay a $10.4 million judgment, Bredehoft replied, “Oh, no. Absolutely not.”  

During an interview with CBS Mornings on Thursday, Bredehoft shared that Heard is “heartbroken” by the verdict. "One of the first things she said when she came back from the verdict when we went into the conference room was, 'I am so sorry to all these women,'" she told Gayle King. “She felt like she had let down all of these women because she had more evidence than most people do. And yet they still didn't believe her." 

Bredehoft says that the verdict sends a message to victims of domestic abuse. "Amber had an enormous amount of evidence, although a lot of it was suppressed in this case as opposed to the U.K.,” Heard’s attorney said, referencing the 2020 U.K. libel trial against the U.K.’s The Sun. In her interview with Today, Bredehoft alleged Depp's team learned from the U.K. trial to "demonize Amber and suppress the evidence."

“But look at all the women who have no evidence. All these women who suffer from domestic violence, domestic abuse -- they don't have evidence," she said. "And basically what this jury said is unless you pull out your cell phone and you tape record your spouse beating you, you're out of luck."   

Heard’s attorney does believe there were things that could have been done differently by her team. However, she noted that the trial was on camera and the "tremendous" social media coverage was not on Heard's side. 

" ... Are any of us perfect? No. Is there something else we feel we should have done? Yes. Absolutely. I always, I redo my closings 100 times afterwards, whether I win or lose. That's part of being a good lawyer, a good trial lawyer is there's always something," she said. "But I think that there were a lot of influences here that were beyond our control. And I think the social media, it was like a Roman coliseum, is the best way to describe the atmosphere here."   

Heard has yet to publicly speak out about the verdict outside of a statement she released on Wednesday.

"The disappointment I feel today is beyond words," the statement read in part. "I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband. I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. 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." 

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