Amber Heard launches appeal to have Johnny Depp defamation ruling overthrown

The actress has launched an appeal, arguing issues with jury, legal defences and penalties awarded to Johnny Depp influenced trial verdict

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Amber Heard announced she is looking to appeal or disregard the verdict made in the high-profile defamation lawsuit against ex-husband Johnny Depp last month, following claims of issues with the jury.

On Friday, the actress' legal team argued the ruling had a number of issues, including unsuitable legal reasoning, an inadequately assessed jury and extensively awarded damages, in a filing at a Virginia court.

A seven person jury ruled in favour of Mr Depp in a split verdict in June, arguing that actress Ms Heard had defamed him in a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, in which she implied the actor had abused her, but refrained from naming him directly.

Ms Heard was ordered to cough up £12.4million to the Pirates of the Caribbean actor, as punitive and compensatory damages.

Amber Heard's legal team submitted a motion of appeal on Friday
Amber Heard's legal team submitted a motion of appeal on Friday
Actor Johnny Depp won the trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard in June
Actor Johnny Depp won the trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard in June

A 43-page motion of appeal was filed against the ruling on Friday, stating the verdict was not supported by evidence.

In the motion, Ms Heard's legal team said they believe the seven-person civil jury was not thoroughly scrutinised ahead of the trial, urging the Court to "investigate whether Juror 15 properly served on the jury".

The document states how there had been varying confusion over Juror 15's birthdate, stating "on the juror panel list sent to counsel before voir dire, the Court noted that the individual who would later be designated Juror 15 had a birth year of 1945 [...] however Juror 15 was clearly born later than 1945 [...] Publicly available information demonstrates that he appears to have been born in 1970".

The actresses legal team is hoping the motion statement will raise questions over the eligibility of the jury panel as a whole.

The statement continues, outlining how should Juror 15 should not be the same individual "on the venire, or that the Court's Clerk office did not verify his identity, Ms Heard's due process was compromised."

Mr Depp's claims have been disregarded in the statement, with Ms Heard's legal team stating the actor's case "proceeded solely on a defamation by implication theory, abandoning any claims that Ms Heard’s statements were actually false".

A member of Johnny Depp's legal team, Ben Chew, responded to claims of an appeal, stating that Ms Heard's appeal was "what we expected, just longer, no more substantive".

Following the verdict in Mr Depp's favour in June, the actor said he was "humbled" adding: "Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me.

"I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that."