Aquaman Star Amber Heard Hires New Lawyers for Johnny Depp Verdict Appeal

Amber Heard is putting together a new legal team to appeal the verdict in trial against ex-husband Johnny Depp. According to new reports, Amber Heard is "replacing most of her legal team" for the next round of legal battle with Depp; back in June, the highly-publicized six-week trial between Depp and Heard ended with Depp being awarded $10.4 million by a Virginia judge. The jury also rule in favor of Depp on quite a few counts of the extensive list of wrongdoings the couple had accused one another of – ranging from abuses (physical, verbal, and emotional) to defamation (such as the 2018 WaPo op-ed Heard wrote, indirectly referencing an allegedly abusive marriage with Depp. 

Heard was allegedly unhappy with how her legal team fared in the Virginia case, with Depp's lawyers successfully putting the focus on personal credibility by aggressively trying to paint the picture of Heard as a schemer and actress in the truest sense of the word. The tactic certainly had an effect, with Heard being the overwhelming focus of mockery and vitriol on social media during the trial, as trending hashtags like "#JusticeForJohnnyDepp" "#AmberHeardIsALiar"  being a regular recurrences. 

Court filing now show that Amber Heard's main attorney Elaine Bredehoft is out, and attorneys David L. Axelrod and Jay Ward Brown of Philadelphia are in, with Ben Rottenborn of Virginia still staying onboard from the original legal team.  The names of Axelrod and Brown have tipped legal experts to the fact that Heard seems to be doubling-down on the First Amendment angle of her case, which – if argued successfully – would presumably allow Heard to claim that her 2018 op-ed was a free speech matter and not a calculated act of defamation to bring down Depp's career. Depp and Heard have gone back and forth legally on the matter of who was the abusive spouse in the relationship, and weathered the respective consequences of discussing it in the public sphere. Apparently, the next round of that fight is on the way...

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 "We welcome the opportunity to represent Ms. Heard in this appeal as it is a case with important First Amendment implications for every American," said Heard's new legal team in a statement. "We're confident the appellate court will apply the law properly without deference to popularity, reverse the judgment against Ms. Heard, and reaffirm the fundamental principles of Freedom of Speech.".

It's now being estimated that the continuing legal battle between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp will run directly into the release of DC and Warner Bros. sequel to the billion-dollar Aquman movie, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. That will  make for controversy surrounding both big DC Films releases next year; Aquaman 2 and The Flash, with the latter starring recently-arrested star Ezra Miller. 

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Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom hits theaters on March 17, 2023.  

Source: Deadline