A fresh pair of eyes. Amber Heard fired her lawyers after her trial with Johnny Depp. The Aquaman star’s reps confirmed that a key player in Heard’s legal case is leaving while a new team joins her.
According to TMZ on August 15, 2022, David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown will join Ben Rottenborn as Heard’s counsel. The lawyers recently and successfully defended the New York Times against a defamation suit recently brought by Sarah Palin. Heard’s lead lawyer in the defamation case Elaine Bredehoft stepped down. In a press release, the lawyers said, “We’re confident the appellate court will apply the law properly without deference to popularity, reverse the judgment against Ms. Heard and reaffirm the fundamental principles of Freedom of Speech.” A representative of Heard said, “When it comes to protecting the fundamental right of Freedom of Speech, we look at the jury’s decision — to paraphrase a famous quote — not ‘as the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.’ A different court warrants different representation, particularly as so much new evidence is now coming to light.”
Heard wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post about her experience with domestic abuse in 2018. While she didn’t mention Depp by name, many believed that the post was about her ex-husband. Depp sued Heard for $50 million for defamation in 2019/ Heard countersued Depp for $100 million.
The trial for the case started in April 2022 and concluded in June 2022, where the jury found Heard liable of all three counts of defamation in her lawsuit with Depp. The jury ordered Heard to pay Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for a total of $15 million. Depp was found guilty of one count of defamation against Heard by the jury and was ordered to pay her $2 million in compensatory damages and zero dollars in punitive damages for a total of $2 million. Due to the cap on punitive damages under Virginia state law, Judge Penney Azcarate reduced Heard’s punitive damages from $5 million to $350,000. In total, Heard will have to pay Depp a total of $8.35 million in damages, accounting for the $2 million in compensatory damages he owes her. Heard’s former lawyer, Elaine Bredehoft, told Today on June 2, 2022, that her client can “absolutely not” afford to pay Depp the $10.35 million she owes Depp in damages. “Oh no. Absolutely not, “Bredehoft said when asked if Heard has the money to afford Depp’s damages.
A source told The New York Post at the time that Heard is “broke” due to legal fees and her past lavish spending on travel, clothes, gifts and wine. The newspaper also reported that Heard had to change legal representation during the trial and is using her homeowner’s insurance from the insurance firm The Travelers Companies to cover the cost of her current attorneys
Heard and legal tried to make a case for a mistrial due to a juror mishap on July 8, 2022. According to documents obtained by People, the lawyers state that “based on newly discovered facts and information that Juror No. 15 was not the individual summoned for jury duty on April 11, 2022.” They also attempted to throw away the verdict altogether where they claim that Depp’s compensatory award was “excessive” and “indefensible.” However, the judge denied the mistrial.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, help is available. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) for confidential support.