Just over a month after Amber Heard lost her defamation trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp, the actor’s lawyers have moved the Fairfax court to set aside the verdict against her or order a fresh trial. According to reports, Amber’s legal team has said there is ‘no evidence’ to substantiate the $10 million in damages she has been ordered to pay Johnny.
Johnny Depp had sued Amber for defaming him in a 2018 Washington Post article, where she called herself a survivor of domestic abuse. Amber countersued him claiming that he defamed her, when he called her a liar. Both alleged suffering domestic abuse at the hands of the other person, during their two-year marriage. The trial, which lasted six weeks, found Amber guilty of defamation on all three counts. Johnny was also found guilty on one count, but exonerated on two other counts.
According to Court House News, in the court brief submitted by Amber’s legal team, they argue that Johnny’s team “proceeded solely on a defamation by implication theory, abandoning any claims that Ms Heard’s statements were actually false.” The brief also claimed again that Amber was unaware of the headline of her 2018 article. “Ms Heard never even became aware of the headline until Mr. Depp filed the lawsuit against her,” the brief read.
The motion also questioned the damages awarded to Amber in the case, saying that the amount is excessive. Amber was ordered to pay $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, but the judge reduced the latter to the statutory maximum of $350,000. On the other hand, Johnny was ordered to pay Amber $2 million overall.
Court House News also reported that Johnny’s legal team dismissed the appeal. In an email, his lawyer Ben Chew called it “what we expected, just longer, no more substantive.”
Johnny and Amber met while filming The Rum Diaries in 2010. They married in 2015 but separated the following year. Their divorce was finalised in 2017. Johnny has earlier lost a libel case in the UK when he sued a publication for calling him a ‘wife-beater’. The court had found the allegations substantially true.