Johnny Depp has filed an appeal against his conviction for defaming ex-wife Amber Heard – just a day after Heard sought to have her convictions for defaming him overturned.
Legal documents obtained by DailyMail.com reveal the actor’s legal team filed the appeal in Fairfax County, Virginia on Friday – just one day after Heard filed her notice to appeal the three defamation charges she was convicted of.
Depp, 59, was ordered to pay Heard, 36, $2 million in damages after he was convicted of a single count of defamation, for calling her domestic abuse claims against him a hoax.’
That was far eclipsed by the $10.35 million Heard was ordered to pay Depp after being convicted of three counts of defamation in June, for branding her ex a domestic abuser.
Depp’s legal team said Friday that he’d filed the appeal to ensure ‘all information is considered by the court’ while they consider Heard’s application to overturn her three defamation convictions.
The Pirates of the Caribbean actor accused his ex of defaming him by ‘falsely’ calling herself a domestic violence victim in a Washington Post op-ed in 2018. The jury ruled in favor of all his claims.
Heard then countersued, claiming she was defamed when Depp’s attorney, Adam Waldman, publicly called her allegations a ‘hoax.’ That counterclaim awarded the Aquaman actress $2 million in compensation.
A source close to Depp claimed he believes it is time the pair ‘move on with their lives and heal,’ but since Heard pursued further legal action, Depp must counter-appeal to ensure all relevant information is considered by the appeals court.
Depp originally sued Heard for $50 million over the Washington Post essay in which she described herself as ‘a public figure representing domestic abuse.’
Depp’s lawyers alleged he was defamed by the article even though it never mentioned him by name, arguing the piece clearly referred to their 15-month marriage.
Heard countersued for $100 million, alleging that Depp’s former lawyer defamed her by publicly characterizing her abuse allegations as a hoax.
The jury ordered Heard to pay Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The punitive damages were reduced to $350,000 under a state cap. The jury also awarded Heard $2 million on her counterclaim.
‘This was an overwhelmingly positive verdict for Mr. Depp,’ a source close to Depp told Entertainment Tonight on Friday. ‘The verdict speaks for itself.’
However, Heard notified the Virginia court on Thursday that she will appeal the judgment, as well as rulings the judge made after the verdict – including rejecting Heard’s motion to declare a mistrial and dismiss the lawsuit or order a new trial.
‘Mr. Depp believes that this is a time for both parties to move on with their lives and heal,’ the source said.
‘But if Ms. Heard is determined to pursue further litigation by appealing the verdict, Mr. Depp is filing a concurrent appeal to ensure that the full record and all relevant legal issues are considered by the Court of Appeal.’
Much of the testimony during the six-week trial focused on Heard’s claims that she had been physically and sexually abused by Depp at least a dozen times.
Depp insisted that he never hit Heard and that she was the abuser.
A spokesperson for Heard, in a statement Thursday, claimed her legal team believes ‘the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict.’
‘We are therefore appealing the verdict. While we realize today’s filing will ignite the Twitter bonfires, there are steps we need to take to ensure both fairness and justice,’ the spokesperson added.
Depp’s team hit back, saying: ‘The jury listened to the extensive evidence presented during the six-week trial and came to a clear and unanimous verdict that the defendant herself defamed Mr. Depp in multiple instances.’
‘We remain confident in our case and that this verdict will stand,’ his spokesman said Thursday.
Neither Depp nor Heard had yet issued comment on the actor’s counter-appeal at the time of publication.
Earlier this month, Heard’s attorneys asked the judge to throw out the decision and declare a mistrial, arguing that one of the jurors on the case should not have been eligible to serve because his summons was intended for his father, who had the same name and lived at the same address.
The request was shot down in a written order last Wednesday, with Judge Penny Azcarate ruling there was ‘no evidence of fraud or wrongdoing’ by the juror and that the jury’s verdict should stand.
She noted both sides had questioned and accepted all jurors at the start of the trial.
‘Due process was guaranteed and provided to all parties in this litigation,’ Azcarate wrote.
In the 43-page memorandum filed July 1, Heard’s lawyers had also argued that the verdict – and the $10 million in damages she now owes Depp – should be tossed out on the grounds that during the trial, Depp ‘proceeded solely on a defamation by implication theory, abandoning any claims that Ms. Heard’s statements were actually false.’
Depp’s lead attorney, Ben Chew, responded to the motion in a statement to Courthouse News, saying: ‘What we expected, just longer, no more substantive.’
Heard has also said that she is unable to pay the $10.35 million in damages she owes Depp. To appeal the verdict, Heard would need to post bond of the full damages.
It is likely that the motion for a mistrial was an attempt to circumvent those requirements while still overturning the decision in the case.