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Johnny Depp's attorney confident Amber Heard trial doesn't have errors to lead to 'successful appeal'

Actor Johnny Depp holds a tumbler as he returns to the courtroom after a break at Fairfax County Circuit Court during his defamation case against ex-wife, actor Amber Heard, in Fairfax, Virginia, US on May 2, 2022. Steve Helber/Pool via REUTERS

Actor Johnny Depp holds a tumbler as he returns to the courtroom after a break at Fairfax County Circuit Court during his defamation case against ex-wife, actor Amber Heard, in Fairfax, Virginia, US on May 2, 2022. Steve Helber/Pool via REUTERS

Published Jun 9, 2022

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Johnny Depp's attorneys are "very confident" there are "no errors" in his and Amber Heard's defamation case that would justify a "successful appeal".

Heard was found by a jury in Fairfax, Virginia, to have defamed her ex-husband with an article in which she claimed she was a victim of domestic abuse. Her attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, has since said she has "some excellent grounds" to appeal.

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But in a new interview, Depp's attorney, Benjamin Chew, has cast doubt on an appeal.

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Speaking on the “Today” show, he said: "We feel very confident that there are no errors that would justify any kind of successful appeal."

Depp received $15 million (about R230m) in damages – $10m in compensatory damages and $5m in punitive damages, but the latter figure was reduced by Judge Penney Azcarate to $350 000 due to the state of Virginia's statutory cap.

Heard received $2m in compensatory damages after she countersued for $100m.

When asked last week if Heard will be "able to pay a $10.4m judgment?", Bredehoft said: "Oh no, absolutely not."

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Depp’s attorney, Camille Vasquez, has also said she didn’t think the verdict would have an impact on the #MeToo era.

Speaking in a joint interview with Chew on the morning show, she said: "We’re here to talk about the case that we tried, right?

"We encourage all victims to come forward, have their day in court, which is exactly what happened in this case."

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Following the verdict, Bredehoft said there was a "lopsided" social media frenzy surrounding the trial, and suggested there was "no way" the jury "couldn’t have been influenced by it".

But Chew has hit back, saying: "I don’t think that there’s any reason to believe that the jurors violated their oath.

"And again, that suggestion was disappointing to hear."

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Vasquez added that the jury was "admonished every single night".

She said: "And they had a tremendous amount of respect I think for the court and the process and they were doing the best that they could."

Chew believes the jury's verdict "had a lot to do with accountability, that Johnny owned his issues".

He explained: "He was very candid about his alcohol and drug issues.

"He was candidate about some unfortunate texts that he wrote, and I think it was a sharp contrast to Miss Heard, who… the jury may have perceived that she didn’t take accountability for anything."

What's more, Vasquez admitted Depp had an "overwhelming sense of relief" when he heard the verdict.

She said: "I was speaking with another friend of ours, a mutual friend of Johnny’s and ours, and he said: ‘I haven’t seen Johnny smile like that in six years.'"

Earlier this week, it was revealed Depp and Heard's former home, a lavish Los Angeles penthouse, one of five at the top of the Eastern Columbia Building which were owned by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor but sold off after they split in 2016, is up for sale for $1.7m.

Actor Amber Heard attends her ex-husband Johnny Depp's defamation trial against her, at the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., April 28, 2022. Michael Reynolds/Pool via REUTERS

This week, Heard said women's rights were "moving backward" as Depp claimed to be "going forward“.

She said: "As Johnny Depp says he's 'moving forward,' women's rights are moving backward. The verdict's message to victims of domestic violence is… be afraid to stand up and speak out."

The statement was in response to comments made by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star in his first TikTok video, joining the social media app just days after he won $10m in damages at the conclusion of the trial last week.

In the video, he said: "To all of my most treasured, loyal and unwavering supporters. We’ve been everywhere together, we have seen everything together.

“We have walked the same road together. We did the right thing together, all because you cared. And now, we will all move forward together."

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