Actress Amber Heard wants a court in Virginia to overturn the actor of the judgment of more than 10 million dollars Johnny Depp recently won against her in the duo’s epic smear battle.
A detailed legal memorandum was filed in a court in Fairfax, Virginia on Friday, July 1.
In the 43-page filing, Heard’s lawyers say the massive judgment is not supported by the evidence presented during their dramatic six-week trial watched around the world. Specifically, the record argues that there is no evidence of monetary damages from the editorial at the heart of the dispute.
This December 18, 2018 Washington Post The op-ed was reviewed by ACLU attorneys before publication, but appeared under Heard’s name. The piece did not mention Depp by name, but recounted his role as a “public figure representing survivors of domestic violence” and focused on a period when she took a temporary restraining order against the “Fear and Loathing” actor. in Las Vegas”. (The article, which remains online, now bears an editor’s note stating that a Virginia jury found three of his statements to be defamatory, including the headline.)
During the trial, Depp argued – and the jurors believed – that the editorial was about him. The ACLU’s general counsel would later admit that after reading early drafts of the article, it was clear the article was about Depp.
Lawyers for Heard say the damages sought by Depp from that article – that he lost the opportunity to reprise his role as pirate Jack Sparrow for the sixth time – do not stand up to scrutiny.
“While Mr. Depp claimed he lost Pirates 6 to Op-Ed, there is no evidence on which the jury can rely to reach such a conclusion,” the memo reads. . “Mr. Depp did not have a contract for Pirates 6, there was media coverage that Mr. Depp would not be in Pirates 6 as of October 25, 2018 – two months before the Op-Ed, M’s agent Depp said it was very likely that Mr. Depp wouldn’t be in Pirates 6 in the fall of 2018, and Mr. Depp testified that he wouldn’t have agreed to a role in Pirates 6 for “300 million dollars and a million alpacas”.
In his memo, Heard also claims Depp failed to prove actual malice — the heightened standard in defamation cases that applies when the person allegedly defamed is a public figure.
“In this case, proving actual malice required showing that at the time the editorial was published, Ms Heard did not believe she had been abused or that she ‘had serious doubt’ that she was abused,” the filing said. “[B]Since actual malice is a subjective standard, whether Ms. Heard believes she was abused must be judged by her definition of abuse. Ms. Heard testified unequivocally that Mr. Depp abused her physically, emotionally and psychologically. Mr. Depp has presented no evidence that Ms. Heard does not believe the abuse can be physical, emotional or psychological.
In returning the verdict for Depp, however, jurors said they did not believe Heard – essentially agreeing with Depp that her abuse allegations were false and that she had spread them with genuine malice , that she had lied and that she knew she was lying about the situation.
In an interview with hello america after the verdict, one of the jurors said he thought Heard’s performance during the trial was more or less exactly that: a performance steeped in “crocodile tears”.
“It didn’t seem believable,” the anonymous juror said. “It seemed like she was able to flip the switch on her emotions. She was answering a question and she was crying and two seconds later she was going freezing. It just didn’t feel natural.
There is also an allegation that one of the jurors who returned the verdict (largely) in favor of Depp engaged in impropriety by serving on the jury. Heard’s lawyers are asking the court to investigate.
“The Court should investigate whether juror 15 properly served on the jury,” the memo reads. “On the jury roll sent to the lawyers before the voir dire, the Court noted that the person who would later be named juror 15 was born in 1945. Juror 15, however, was clearly born after 1945. Information available to the public demonstrate that he appears to have been born in 1970. This discrepancy raises the question of whether Juror 15 actually received a subpoena and was duly cleared by the Court to serve on the jury.
A footnote in the filing says that incorrect information about a jury is not grounds for a mistrial, or even appellate error. This, the memo says, is irrelevant because Heard claims that the alleged juror error itself – the possibility that this juror was not who they claimed to be or that the court did not check his identity – resulted in Heard’s “due process”. [being] compromise.
Depp’s lawyer, Ben Chewtold a June 24 hearing that his side would not file any motions after the trial — except to respond to motions and appeals filed by Heard’s team.
Heard has until July 24, 2022 to file an appeal and pay a suspension bond of $10.35 million plus 6% interest per annum. The suspensive bond prevents the recovery of the judgment pending appeal.
Angenette Levy of the Law&Crime Network contributed to this report.
The complete file is available below:[image via Win McNamee/Getty Images]
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