Johnny Depp filed an appeal Wednesday over the single count of defamation ruled in favor of ex-wife Amber Heard in their court case.
People reports Depp is asking the court to overturn her countersuit victory—$2 million, versus the $15 million he was awarded—because he believes he should not be held accountable for a statement made by his attorney Adam Waldman. The Daily Mail published an article in April which included remarks from Waldman where he claimed Depp was set up by Heard and her friends with abuse allegations in 2016.
“So Amber and her friends spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911,” Waldman said, according to TMZ.
Heard was awarded $2 million because the jury determined that Waldman was acting as a mouthpiece for Depp, but the actor argues Heard’s legal team didn’t present any evidence that could have tied him to his lawyer’s remarks. Depp also mentions he testified that he was unaware of those comments prior to the filing of her countersuit.
Depp was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5M in punitive damages. The latter was reduced to $350,000 due to “the state’s statutory cap or legal limit.” Heard indicated shortly after the verdict that she intended on appealing the ruling.
Heard filed a motion in July to toss out the defamation verdict on the grounds that she never mentioned Depp by name in the 2019 Washington Post op-ed in which she discussed being in an abusive relationship. The appeal was denied two weeks later.
Another appeal was filed by Heard later that same month, and the actress overhauled her entire legal team in anticipation for her latest appeal, which appears to be rooted in defending her First Amendment rights.
“We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this appeal as it is a case with important First Amendment implications for every American,” her new attorneys David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown said in a joint statement. “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.”
In her first interview following the verdict, Heard defended her testimony in the defamation case, asserting she stands by every word.