As the judge in the defamation trial between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp finalized the verdict in the case on Friday, it became clear that Amber Heard may need to pay a significant amount of money if she appeals the verdict. The trial involved a claim that Johnny Depp had falsely accused Amber Heard of sexual misconduct.
Why is Johnny Depp suing Amber Heard?
After a high-profile trial that lasted several weeks, in which Depp sued his ex-wife, Heard, for $50 million for defamation following an opinion piece she wrote in 2018, a seven-person civil jury reached a verdict on June 1 that was largely in Depp’s favor. They awarded him $15 million in damages, with $10 million going toward compensatory damages and the other $5 million going toward punitive damages.
During the trial, Depp sued Heard for $50 million for defamation Later on, Judge Penney Azcarate reduced the punitive award to the maximum allowable amount of $350,000 under Virginia law. After taking into account the $2 million that was awarded to Heard for her counter-suit for annoyance, Depp’s award came to a total of $8.35 million. Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, has declared in public that the Aquaman actress is unable to afford this amount of money.
In addition to that, the initial out-of-pocket expense for Heard to file an appeal would be equivalent to the amount of the judgment, including interest and any other possible expenses.
Is Amber Heard Innocent?
It was revealed by Heard’s representatives that their client intends to appeal the verdict. Heard’s spokeswoman told Newsweek the following: “If you are innocent, you do not submit a request for a pardon, as was stated in the hearings that took place in Congress yesterday. Furthermore, if you are confident in your position, you should not refuse to submit an appeal.”
However, it appears that appealing the decision could end up costing her even more money upfront. In the official ruling that she issued on Friday, Azcarate indicated that in accordance with the laws of Virginia, the amount of money that was owed by each party was subject to an interest rate of 6% per year.
“She must post a bond equal to the net judgment (after netting out Amber’s victory) of $8.3 million, plus interest for one year at 6 percent,” Attorney Jeff Lewis, the founder of Jeff Lewis Law, told Newsweek in order to appeal, “she must pay a total of $8.3 million, including interest for one year.”
Abusive Relationship shared by the Two Stars
Even so, the bond is not the only offer on the table for consideration at this point in time. In addition to this, Lewis mentioned that it might be up to the surety, which is the insurance company that deposits the bond and could demand that Amber pay extra money as security.
“Therefore, there are two questions that need to be answered in this scenario. First, what premium would Amber have to pay to the surety in order to obtain a bond? And secondly, what kind of collateral does Amber possess that may persuade a surety to deposit the bond on her behalf? “Lewis added.
According to the experts, the divorce that brought an end to the stormy and frequently abusive relationship shared by the two stars in 2016 will not bring about a settlement between them until after the appeal has been heard.
Money was never the Primary Motivation for Mr. Depp
Even though Depp’s counsel has intimated that the Pirates of the Caribbean actor could waive the amount Heard pays if she forgoes the appeal, Heard has remained steadfast in her assertions that she made in testimony on the witness stand after the trial. Heard’s testimony was given after the trial.
During his interview on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos asked Attorney Benjamin Chew the following question: “Is it possible that we could see a settlement where she forgoes the appeal in return for Mr. Depp waiving any monetary damages?” Attorney Benjamin Chew responded that it is “possible” that such a scenario could play out.
Chew’s response was, “It goes without saying that we cannot divulge attorney-client interactions.” “But as Mr. Depp, himself testified, and as we both made plain in our respective closing statements, money was never the primary motivation for Mr. Depp in this matter. It was important to him to repair his reputation, and he has succeeded in doing so.”