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Johnny Depp’s lawyer speaks out on Amber Heard’s appeal of defamation verdict

Johnny Depp. Picture: Instagram

Johnny Depp. Picture: Instagram

Published Jul 29, 2022

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Depp’s lawyer insists they only filed an appeal against the $2 million (R32m) defamation compensation awarded to Amber Heard as the actress lodged an appeal first.

The former “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor submitted the legal documents last week after his ex-wife officially filed to appeal her defamation case against Depp.

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“Entertainment Tonight”, which obtained the papers on July 22, said they were filed by the actor’s legal team in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Despite Depp being awarded $10m in damages and $5m in punitive damages after his six-week trial against “Aquaman” actress Heard, she was also awarded $2 million in compensation.

A source close to Depp told “Entertainment Tonight”, “this was an overwhelmingly positive verdict for Mr Depp” and the “verdict speaks for itself”.

In a new television interview with Gayle King for “CBS Mornings”, which aired on July 28, Depp’s attorney Camille Vasquez was quizzed on whether they have a plan in place to fight the appeal, to which she replied: “Absolutely. And we did. Mr. Depp ended up filing his own appeal so that the court could have the full record. And – she insists on continuing to litigate this matter, and we have to protect our client’s interest.”

Vasquez said: “We are just hopeful that the court will uphold the verdict, which we think was the right verdict, and allow both parties to move on.”

The attorney insists Depp only filed his own appeal to “protect his interests”.

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She said: “This was never about the money for Mr Depp. But in order to protect his interests, as his representative, we have to respond to the appeal with his own appeal.”

The source said Depp believes that this is a time for both parties to move on with their lives and heal.

“But if Ms Heard is determined to pursue further litigation by appealing the verdict, Mr Depp is filing a concurrent appeal to ensure that the full record and all relevant legal issues are considered by the Court of Appeal.”

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After Heard’s notice of appeal, a spokesperson for the actress said: “We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment. We are therefore appealing the verdict. While we realise today’s filing will ignite the Twitter bonfires, there are steps we need to take to ensure both fairness and justice.”

Heard’s appeal came despite her being denied a request for a new trial.

Depp’s representatives are confident the ruling she must pay out would not be reversed.

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During an interview in June on “Good Morning America”, a lawyer for Depp suggested the actor might be willing to forgo the multi-million dollar damages award if Heard agreed not to go ahead with an appeal.

The actress’ lawyers lost the chance during a June 24 hearing when they declined to make the agreement and Judge Penny Azcarate finalised the verdict, leaving Heard’s only way forward an appeal.

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