On Thursday morning, the 36-year-old actress, who had previously said she would appeal the Virginia verdict, made it official when she filed a notice of appeal in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County.
A spokesperson for Heard said in a statement about kicking off the appeal process, “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 realize today’s filing will ignite the Twitter bonfires, there are steps we need to take to ensure both fairness and justice.”
In a statement shared by Deadlinea spokesperson for Depp, 59, said they are “confident” the verdict will be upheld.
“The jury listened to the extensive evidence presented during the six-week trial and came to a clear and unanimous verdict that the defendant herself defamed Mr. Depp, in multiple instances,” read the statement. “We remain confident in our case and that this verdict will stand.”
On June 1, a seven-person jury handed down their verdict, mostly siding with Depp, awarding him more than $10 million in damages. They determined that Heard defamed the actor in a 2018 op-ed she wrote about surviving abuse, though she didn’t mention him by name in the article. Additionally, the jury awarded her $2 million in damages on one of her three defamation countersuit claims.
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The new development comes one week after Judge Penney Azcarate denied Heard’s request for a mistrial over an issue involving one of the jurors seemingly not being the one from their household summoned for jury duty. The judge said no evidence of fraud was found among the jury and noted that Heard’s team had weeks to speak up about the error rather than wait until after an unfavorable verdict. Depp’s team had responded to the post-trial motion with similar arguments before the judge’s ruling.
When the judge made the official verdict late last month, she ruled that the damages will come with a 6 percent annual interest, and noted that if Heard were to appeal she would have to post a bond for the full amount of the damages she owes.
EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty
The day after the verdict, her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft said in a TV interview that Heard planned to appeal and the actress can “absolutely not” afford to pay the damages amount. Bredehoft had mentioned in closing arguments that Heard had racked up $6 million in legal fees by that point in the trial. Depp’s lawyer Benjamin Chew later said in another televised interview that, for Depp, the case was “never about money … this was about restoring his reputation, and he’s done that.”
In reaction to the verdict last month, Depp said in a statement he felt like the jury, made up of five men and two women, “gave me my life back.” Heard, meanwhile, called the verdict a “setback” for women.
Separately, Heard is in a legal battle with her insurance provider over who is liable for paying her court fees, and Depp reached a pre-trial settlement with a crew member from one of his movies who accused him of assault, which he denied.