Amber Heard and Johnny Depp were involved in a heated defamation lawsuit that revolved around their personal lives. Amber lost the trial and was ordered to pay her ex-husband $15 million in damages. Amber has now filed an appeal, for which she has fired her former legal team and hired a new one.
According to Deadline, Amber Heard has replaced the majority of her legal team and is relying on the Constitution as she prepares to appeal a multi-million defamation verdict awarded to Johnny Depp. The Aquaman actress’ decision to fire her main attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, comes after weeks of judicial struggling by both of the Rum Diary co-stars to have another shot at the courthouse can with notices of intended appeals.
Following the judgment of $10.4 million to ex-husband Depp by a Virginia jury on June 1 following an often acerbic and explicit six-week trial, Heard has now hired David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown to defend her bid to vacate the judgment. Ben Rottenborn of Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black in Virginia will remain as a co-counsel. The burly decision to hire Ballard Spahr lawyers Axelrod and Brown was made public today in an Old Dominion court filing.
The composition of the new Philadelphia originating defense team indicates that Heard’s appeal will focus on the First Amendment aspect of her legal fight with Depp. “We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this appeal as it is a case with important First Amendment implications for every American,” said Heard’s newly minted attorneys in a statement this morning.
“We’re confident the appellate court will apply the law properly without deference to popularity, reverse the judgment against Ms. Heard, and reaffirm the fundamental principles of Freedom of Speech.”
Axelrod and Brown, who specialize in the freedom of speech clause in America’s founding document, represented the New York Times in its successful battle against Sarah Palin’s libel suit based on a sloppy June 14, 2017, editorial in the paper. The New York Times originally linked the ex-GOP VP candidate’s political action committee to a 2011 mass shooting that tragically killed six people and seriously injured Representative Gabby Giffords. Palin’s legal action, which is likely to be appealed, was unanimously rejected by an Empire State jury and the judge overseeing the case on February 15th.
Heard officially served notice to the court on July 21st, only hours after the verdict was announced earlier this summer. Travelers Commercial Insurance, as was the case during the media-saturated trial, is covering the bill for Heard’s legal team through the actress’ homeowners insurance policy. On July 22nd, Depp filed his own appeal notice in this game of legal chess. Heard’s attorneys have a September 4th deadline to file their appeal, and she is still anticipated to put up the $8.3 million bond required under Virginia law to challenge the verdict.
This means this case could be back in front of judges and a new jury when Warner Bros’ sequel Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, featuring Heard, dives into theaters on March 17th, 2023. To get the latest updates, keep an eye on Thirsty.
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