Johnny Depp, Amber Heard fail to reach settlement, signalling actress plans to appeal verdict

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s trial saga is far from over, with a new development today hinting strongly at the intentions of her legal team.

Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were unable to reach a last-minute settlement today, setting the stage for what could be a lengthy appeals process.

Fairfax County, Virginia, Judge Penney Azcarate finalised the verdict in the former couple’s defamation trial during Friday’s hearing, at which Depp and Heard were not present.

After Depp’s resounding court win on June 1, Judge Azcarate didn’t immediately enter the jury’s verdict into the docket, instead allowing Depp and Heard to come up with a settlement before June 24, which she would then enter instead of the verdict.

However they have today failed to settle, with a spokesperson for Heard, 36, signalling that the Aquaman actress planned to file an appeal.

“You don’t ask for a pardon if you are innocent. And, you don’t decline to appeal if you know you are right,” a spokesperson for Heard said in a statement.

After 21 days, the case will move to the Court of Appeals of Virginia, and then the parties will have 30 days to file a notice of appeal.

Earlier this month, Depp’s lawyer Benjamin Chew hinted during an interview on Good Morning America that the Pirates of the Caribbean star would be willing to forgo having his ex-wife pay him millions of dollars in damages if she agreed to not file an appeal.

“We obviously can’t disclose attorney-client communications, but as Mr. Depp testified … this was never about money for Mr. Depp,” Chew told George Stephanopoulos when asked about Heard’s fear of being left penniless.

“This was about restoring his reputation — and he’s done that,” Chew added.

Under the judgment order that was entered into the docket Friday afternoon, Depp and Heard will be required to post their judgments of $US2 million and $US10.35 million, respectively, plus 6 per cent interest per year.

A source familiar with the proceedings told The Post that the judge entered Depp’s version of the verdict on paper in its entirety, rejecting all of Heard’s proposed edits, and Depp’s legal team did not request an injunction against his ex-wife.

According to the source, the court also ruled that if Heard were to bring an appeal, she would have to post bond equal to the entire amount of the judgment, plus $US480,000 in interest payments.

On June 1, a Virginia jury awarded Depp $US15 million in damages — which was reduced to $US10.35 million because of caps set by state law — after finding that Heard “with malice” portrayed him as an abuser in her 2018 Washington Post op-ed, and in the process injured his reputation and career.

While jurors ruled in favour of all three of Depp’s claims of defamation, they also found that the actor’s former lawyer defamed Heard in one instance, and awarded her $US2 million in damages as part of her countersuit.

Elaine Bredehoft, one of Heard’s lawyers, told NBC’s Today that theAquaman star could not afford the $US8.35 million she owed Depp.

Sources told The Post in early June that Heard is “broke” due to massive legal fees associated with the six-week trial.

When asked if the actress had the means to cover the judgment handed down by the jury, Bredehoft said, “Oh no, absolutely not.”

This story originally appeared on New York Post and was reproduced with permission

Leave a Comment