Johnny Depp Files Appellate Brief Asking Court to Reverse One Count of Defamation

In an appeal brief filed this week, Johnny DeppThe lawyers of . argue that the jury was correct in his libel trial against him belongs to amber— except when it came to their counterclaim, where they found out he had defamed his ex-wife through his attorney.

“This court should reverse the judgment on Ms. Heard’s counterclaim to the April 27 Waldman Statement, but otherwise affirm the judgment in Mr. Depp’s favor,” Depp’s legal team wrote in the brief (Deadline released the entire filing).

The jury awarded Heard $2 million in damages for her counterclaim, which was simultaneously argued in court based on one of three statements made by Depp’s attorney Adam Waldman has done. In the statement as defamatory that was given to Daily Mail in 2020, Waldman said that Heard’s abuse allegations were a “hoax” (Waldman made all three statements in light of a similar defamation case involving Heard, which was ongoing in the UK at the time and which Depp eventually lost). Heard’s team referred to Depp as “vicariously liable” for his representative’s statements, and the jury agreed in that one instance.

Depp’s team says the jury did a perfect job of ruling in Depp’s favor on the three counts of defamation in his lawsuit — but made a mistake on the one counterclaim. “MS. Heard presented no evidence at trial that Mr. Depp was personally involved in directing or making any of the three Waldman statements,” argue Depp’s attorneys. “In fact, Mr. Depp testified that he accepted the Waldman statements had never seen prior to filing the counterclaim in August 2020.”

The brief adds that Heard “has presented no evidence that Mr. Waldman acted with actual malice in making the April 27 statement.”

The damages awarded to Heard for Waldman’s testimony are small compared to those awarded to Depp, which ultimately totaled $10.35 million. In the lawsuit, for which Depp filed a lawsuit in 2019 and which ended last June, some three years later, the actor requested comment from Heard in 2018 in support of the Violence Against Women Act — and in coordination with the ACLU — slandered him in three places (Heard was an ACLU ambassador at the time).

In the piece, while advocating for the legislation to be reauthorized, Heard wrote briefly about her personal relationship to domestic violence, but did not refer to Depp by name. Depp successfully claimed that readers could tell in two of his sentences and in his headline that she was talking about him: “Amber Heard: I’ve spoken out against sexual violence — and faced the wrath of our culture.” That needs to change.”

The jury sided with Depp on all three points. Heard has since appealed the decision, filing her 16-point memorandum of appeal last month; The filing also addressed the confusing finding that the jury found the two actors had defamed one another. Johnny Depp Files Appellate Brief Asking Court to Reverse One Count of Defamation

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