Actor Amber Heard on Thursday filed to appeal a Virginia jury’s decision last month that she defamed ex-husband Johnny Depp when she claimed in a newspaper opinion piece that she was a survivor of sexual violence, according to court documents.
Heard’s legal team submitted the appeal notice to the Virginia Court of Appeals, seeking to overturn the lower court’s June 1st ruling.
After a six-week televised trial, a seven-person jury concluded that Heard defamed Depp, and the Pirates of the Caribbean star was awarded $10.35 million in damages. The jury also determined that Heard was defamed, awarding her $2 million.
Heard’s attorneys had argued that she had told the truth and that her comments were covered as free speech under the US Constitution’s First Amendment.
Her team said it sought to ensure fairness and justice through the appeal.
“We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment,” a spokesman told Reuters. “We are therefore appealing the verdict.”
The notice also appeals a June 24th final judgment order and a July 13th order against Heard’s post-trial motions.
Depp's team said it was undeterred by the appeal.
“We remain confident in our case and that this verdict will stand,” a spokesperson for Depp told Reuters in an email.
The filing comes more than a week after a judge rejected Heard's request for a new trial. In seeking the new trial, her lawyers argued that one of the jurors had served improperly.
During the trial, Depp said he never hit or sexually abused Heard and argued that she was the one who became violent during their relationship. Heard said she had slapped Depp but only in defence of herself or her sister.
Depp faced a different outcome in Britain less than two years ago, when he sued the Sun tabloid for calling him a “wife beater.” A London High Court judge ruled that he had repeatedly assaulted Heard.
After the US ruling in June, Heard attorney Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, in an interview on NBC’s Today, accused Depp’s team of suppressing evidence that was allowed in the British libel case. — Reuters