“Different Courts Warrant Different Representation”

Amber Heard is changing legal counsel for her appeal of the Johnny Depp libel trial verdict.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the 36-year-old actress announced that she had hired Ballard Spahr’s David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown to direct, with Ben Rottenborn as co-lawyer. Elaine Charlson Bredehoft, who represented Heard at the six-week trial in Fairfax County, Va., earlier this year, is stepping down.

“When it comes to protecting the fundamental right of free speech, we look at the jury’s decision – to paraphrase a famous quote – not ‘as the beginning of the end, but simply the end of the beginning. A different court warrants a different representation, especially since so much new evidence is now coming to light,” a spokesperson for Heard said in a statement.

Said Bredehoft, “This is the perfect time to pass the baton. I have pledged Amber and her appeal team my full cooperation and assistance as they walk down the path to success.”

Amber Heard stands with her attorneys Elaine Bredehoft and Benjamin Rottenborn before the jury said they believe she defamed ex-husband Johnny Depp while announcing split verdicts in favor of her ex-husband Johnny Depp and Heard on their claim and counterclaim in Depp v. heard a civil libel trial at the Fairfax County Courthouse

EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty

Lawyers Axelrod and Brown successfully defended The New York Times against Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit earlier this year.

They said in a joint statement, “We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this appeal because this is a case with significant implications for every American. We are confident that the appeals court will apply the law properly without deference to popularity, overturn the judgment against Ms Heard and reaffirm fundamental principles of free speech.”

RELATED: Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Says Actor Filed His Own Appeal After Amber Heard ‘Protected His Interests’

American actress Amber Heard speaks with her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft

American actress Amber Heard speaks with her lawyer Elaine Bredehoft

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty

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On June 1, the seven-person jury delivered their verdict, mostly siding with Heard’s ex-husband Depp, 59, finding she defamed him in his 2018 Washington Post editorial on domestic violence, although she did not mention it by name. He was awarded over $10 million in damages. Heard, meanwhile, won one of her three libel countersuits and was awarded $2 million.

Judge Penney Azcarate denied Heard’s request for a mistrial, and after Heard formally appealed the verdict, Depp’s legal team announced that they would also appeal his countersuit verdict.

A source close to Depp said it was an “overwhelmingly positive verdict” for the actor, who “believes now is the time for both parties to move on and heal.” The source added: “But if Ms Heard is determined to continue the litigation by appealing the verdict, Mr Depp is filing a concurrent appeal to ensure that the full case and all relevant legal issues are considered by the Court of Justice. call.”

RELATED VIDEO: Juror in Johnny Depp Libel Trial Says Jury Didn’t Believe Amber Heard’s ‘Crocodile Tears’

In a statement last month on the continued appeal – which will require Heard to post bond for the full amount of damages she owes – a spokesperson for Heard said they “believe the court has made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment.”

“We are therefore appealing the verdict,” they added. “While we realize today’s filing will light the bonfires on Twitter, we must take steps to ensure both fairness and justice.”

Responding to the development, a spokesperson for Depp later said in a statement: “The jury listened to the extensive evidence presented during the six-week trial and reached a clear and unanimous verdict that the defendant herself defamed Mr. Depp, on several occasions. We remain confident in our case and that this verdict will stand.”

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