aAfter Johnny Depp largely won his defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard, her attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, announced that her client intends to appeal “absolutely.”
The jury of five men and two women announced on Wednesday (1 June) that it had found Ms Heard to discredit Depp in three statements. The jury also found that Mrs. Heard had been defamed by one of three statements in her corresponding suit.
independent I spoke with three attorneys about the potential grounds that Heard has made for an appeal, or even for a new trial: Lisa Bloom of The Bloom Firm, whose clients have included Janice Dickinson, Mischa Barton, and several Jeffrey Epstein victims; Jesse Weber, host and attorney at Law & Crime Network, covered the trial from a courtroom in Fairfax, Virginia; and Mitra Ahurian, an entertainment attorney in Beverly Hills who represents actors, directors, producers, and musicians.
Editorial Drafting by Amber Heard
Ms Bloom saw several appealable cases in Depp v. Heard’s ruling, beginning with the drafting of 2018 Washington Post An editorial that originated Depp’s allegations of defamation.
“Because of the First Amendment, the exact words [of a given statement] They are closely scrutinized.” Here, Amber Heard only said that she was a public figure who represented domestic violence. In my opinion, this means that even if she was a victim of domestic violence even once, the statement is true, and the case is over. She didn’t have to win that she was the victim of multiple accidents, or even major accidents. Just domestic violence of some sort.”
Ms Bloom highlighted the fact that Mrs. Heard “never mentioned” Mr. Depp in the opinion piece, which means “the Court of Appeals may say the comment was not specific enough to override her First Amendment rights”.
One of the three statements in Depp’s lawsuit is the title of an editorial, which is another potential issue in Bloom’s view.
“[Ms Heard Defamation was found based on a headline she didn’t write, but just retweeted.” “This ruling, if upheld, would cause major problems in the First Amendment for the millions of newbies who do RT articles all day long. Will they be held liable for defamation if the article is inaccurate? “
Mrs. Bloom also saw potential problems in the ways in which the jurors awarded damages: after first declaring that they had a verdict, they were returned, apparently omitting to award some or all of the necessary damages. They returned shortly thereafter after giving Depp $15 million and Mrs Heard $2 million. (Judge Benny Azcaret adjusted the damages awarded to Depp to match the state cap; he actually received $10.35 million.)
The timing of how compensation will be awarded, Ms. Bloom, “seems too hasty,” an issue she would raise on appeal.
Possible evidence issues
Mr. Webber referred to statements made by Ms. Bredehoft in post-trial interviews in an attempt to identify possible strategies for Ms. Heard’s legal team.
The arguments in the appeal focus on what Heard believes are incorrect legal rulings by the judge. This is why it is important to file objections and requests during the course of the trial to keep these cases for appeal.
“Based on Eileen Breedhot’s comments after the sentencing, it appears that they will focus on evidence that was ‘withheld’ at trial, such as medical records, and possibly argue harmful evidence from [Mr Depp] It is allowed to be submitted. Apparently [Ms Heard’s team] Objected to the fact that the UK ruling, where the judge found multiple cases of abuse before [Mr Depp]cannot be presented to a jury.”
Mr. Depp has filed a lawsuit the sunFor publishing in 2018, a headline described it as a “wife beater”. A judge ruled against him in the UK case in 2020.
Mr Weber added that Ms Heard’s lawyers “could also argue that there were problems with the jury instructions/jury form”.
Ms. Ahuraian emphasized the fact that “the appellate judge does not reconsider the facts or question the jury’s verdict”.
“The appellate judge considers whether there was a legal error that led to an unfair ruling, for example, if the judge made a serious mistake such as excluding relevant evidence,” she said.
“[Ms Heard]Lawyers consider that relevant evidence that could have affected the outcome of the case has been excluded. Some of this evidence made him in the UK trial against the sunWhich [Mr Depp] She lost, and did not enter into this trial, which makes her point understandable, but the laws there are of course different. ”
In an interview with BBC NewsnightMs. Bloom called the judgment in Depp v. Heard “inconsistent”, due to the manner in which the jury found that both Mr. Depp and Ms. Heard had been defamed.
The jury found Mr. Depp to have been defamed in Ms Heard’s op-ed in which she described herself as a “public figure representing domestic violence”, but also determined that Mrs. Heard had been defamed in a statement issued by Adam Waldman (Depp’s former lawyer) that described some of Heard’s allegations. It’s a “hoax”.
“How could Amber Heard be defamed when Johnny Depp’s lawyer said her allegations were a hoax, yet Johnny Depp was also defamed when she said she represented domestic violence?” I asked Mrs. Bloom on the programme. “I think that’s inconsistent, and you can’t have inconsistent judgment.”
Mr Webber expressed doubts as to whether this could be a strong basis for an appeal, as “an appeal is usually not related to a jury decision per se”.
He also referred to the specific statement that jurors found to discredit Heard. It was a statement in which Mr. Waldman said: “Quite simply, this was an ambush, a hoax. They set up Mr. Depp by calling the cops, but the first attempt was unsuccessful. The officers came to the penthouse, did a thorough search and interview, and left after not seeing any Facial or property damage. So, Amber and her friends poured a little wine and roughed up the place, got their stories straight under the supervision of a lawyer and publicist, and then called 911.”
For Mr. Webber, the judgment is not necessarily inconsistent. Basically the jury said we don’t believe [Ms Heard] She was telling the truth about her experience with Johnny Depp i.e. being an abuse survivor, but we think so too [Mr Depp]My lawyer, who was acting as his agent, went too far and falsely stated that [Ms Heard] Her friends staged the scene of an alleged attack.” “They believed that Heard was not hit in the face with a cell phone as she claimed in May 2016, but they also did not believe that her friends aided in the perpetration of the hoaxial attack.”
The jurors were not impeached during the seven weeks of the trial. They were instructed not to read the case or do any outside research, but the length of the proceedings, along with the fact that it was televised and discussed overwhelmingly online, raised questions about whether jurors could remain isolated from any content related to the trial.
“[Ms Heard’s team] He could even try to show that since the jury was not impeached, they exposed all of Depp’s fans and media scrutiny and this distorted the verdict, Mr Webber said, adding that it “looks like it would be a huge problem for him.” [Ms Heard]Appeals team.
“On the one hand, you can certainly ask how it has not been detected and polluted through coverage, crowds and social media,” Mr. Webber said. On the other hand, this is an assumption. They were instructed not to view any outside material or watch anything about the trial. Unless the juror does an interview and says something about it, or doesn’t do it [Ms Heard]Staff can provide evidence of jury misconduct, which is a speculative argument at the moment and is unlikely to be successful.”
Ms. Ahuraian highlighted the judge’s decision not to dismiss the jury.
“It makes sense that a jury would be impeached in a case like this that gets so much media coverage, and not just an ‘instruction’ not to go online or talk to anyone about the case,” she said. This is not realistic in a situation like this: people are going back to their homes and families, and the issue is all over the place. I’m sure, to give the jury the benefit of the doubt, maybe when someone was checking their email or something seemingly innocuous, some information came out.”
While Ms Ahurayan acknowledged the possibility, and the fact that it “could have severely affected the outcome and made the trial unfair,” she is not sure it would constitute a legal error, “because I don’t know if anyone could have predicted the level of attention on social media.” Social and vitriolic criticism directed by people [Ms Heard]. “
“However, if a juror actually searches the internet and actually hears or sees something despite the judge’s order, it could be grounds for a mistrial,” she added.
Ms Bloom suggested that potential problems with the jury could lead to an appearance or even a new trial, but she acknowledged similar difficulties exist.
“She had to prove this intervention, which will be a challenge,” she said. Perhaps one of the jurors will talk about this in a newspaper interview. I will watch it. Stay tuned!”