An unending story: Heard seeks new trial as Depp also files appeal

The Amber Heard-Johnny Depp saga goes on and on, as the Aquaman star challenged the court decision, seeking a new trial against Johnny Depp, her ex-husband, who too wants to reverse conviction on defamation count.

Both appeal requests will be ruled on by a group of judges. Depending on which legal team is left disappointed by that ruling, Depp or Heard can then take the matter to the state’s Supreme Court.

According to her new lawyers Jay Ward Brown and David L Axelrod, “The trial court erroneously refused to dismiss this action on the ground of forum non conveniens, based on its mistaken conclusion that Depp’s claims arose in Virginia because the Washington Post’s servers are located here.”

The document filed on November 23 also says, “The trial court also erred in overruling Heard’s demurrer, in which she argued that the challenged statements are non-actionable expressions of opinion and are not reasonably capable of conveying the alleged defamatory implication,” the Constitutional law specializing DC-based Ballard Spahr LLP attorneys added.  

Heard, 36, argued that the exclusion of some of her therapy notes, in which she reported being abused by Depp, resulted in an unfair trial. The notes were ruled out by Virginia Judge Penney Azcarate.

In June, Depp, 56, was awarded $10.35million in a verdict delivered after his legal team successfully argued that Heard’s Washington Post op-ed, in which she accused her ex-husband of domestic abuse, was defamatory.

She did not name Depp publicly in the piece but given their status and notoriety, it was evident who she was referencing in regard to her history of being allegedly abused.

But now Heard’s attorneys write that the court ‘improperly prevented the jury from considering several instances in which Heard reported Depp’s abuse to a medical professional.’

“If not reversed, the trial court’s exclusion of contemporaneous reports of domestic abuse to medical professionals will make it more difficult for other abuse victims to prove allegations of abuse, and likely deter them from coming forward.”

“That holding, if allowed to stand, undoubtedly will have a chilling effect on other women who wish to speak about abuse involving powerful men.”

Her legal team, which comprises a different set of lawyers than those who represented her during the trial, also argued that the trial, which took place in Fairfax, Virginia, should have taken place in California, where the once married couple lived together.

Depp’s appeal

On his part, Depp’s legal team has also filed an appeal to the case, claiming that the singular count of defamation against Heard of which he was convicted was erroneous. He was ordered to pay Heard for a single count of defamation of which he was found guilty.

His attorneys wrote in their filing that the jury’s emphatic favorable verdict on all three defamatory statements alleged in his complaint fully vindicated Depp and restored his reputation.

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