In a short and tense hearing on Friday morning, a final judgment was given in the explicit and high-profile civil trial that ended on June 1. However, the main attorney for Heard, Elaine Bredehoft, asked the judge for more time to set a briefing schedule for an appeal for her client.
Azcarate bluntly told Bredehoft that if she wanted to appeal the verdict from the seven-person jury, she would need to file motions with the court. Azcarate also informed Heard’s attorney that the Aquaman star will have to put up a bond worth $8.35 million with 6% interest per year if she wishes to challenge the jury decision in an appeal.
At the start of this month, Depp was awarded $15 million in damages by the jury in his $50 million defamation case. That sum awarded was almost immediately reduced to $10.35 million by Azcarate in accordance with the state of Virginia’s punitive damages limitations. The jury found almost entirely for the former Pirates of Caribbean star.
Neither Depp nor Heard were in the Virginia courtroom today, though they both attended all six weeks of the trial. Heard, who was later self-described as “heartbroken”, had been in the room when the verdict was read out on June 1st. Depp, meanwhile, spent his time touring the UK with Jeff Beck instead of being present for the verdict.
Bredehoft said on Friday that Heard will be appealing the verdict. She also said that Heard does not have the money to pay Depp or meet the bond. The defense team has about 21 days to file an appeal.
Even though they are dealing with some financial problems, the Heard team is not out of the game yet.
“As stated in yesterday’s congressional hearings,” said a spokesperson for the actress, “you don’t ask for a pardon if you are innocent.” This was in reference to revelations out of the January 6 Committee hearings. “And, you don’t decline to appeal if you know you are right.”
Before today, it was on TV that Bredenhoft said something that made people wonder if the two parties would come to a settlement before the final judgment was entered. In fact, Azcarate paused putting the judgment into the docket because he wanted there to be a settlement. However, despite some chatter from Depp’s camp last week, there was no settlement on the table in court today.
The Depp team did not make a statement after the hearing concluded, preferring to let the judgment do the talking. The judgment was drafted by Depp’s lawyer Ben Chew.
In March 2019, Depp sued his ex-wife Heard for $50 million. He claimed that an op-ed she wrote in the Washington Post about domestic abuse had a negative impact on his career. Even though she never mentioned Depp by name in the article, he said that it was very damaging to him. Depp also claimed that he was the one who was actually abused in the relationship, not Heard.
Heard filed a $100 million countersuit in summer 2020 after several failed attempts to get the case dismissed or moved out of Virginia. This came months before Depp’s unsuccessful UK libel case against The Sun tabloid for calling him a “wife beater.”
As the paperwork to appeal the ruling is being prepared, Depp is also engaged in another legal battle.
The lawsuit between Gregg “Rocky” Brooks and Johnny Depp is set to go to trial on July 25th in Los Angeles. On April 13th, 2017, during the production of City of LIes, Depp allegedly hit Brooks multiple times after being told that they would have to wrap filming later that night. The movie is about the LAPD investigation into the 1997 murder of the Notorious B.I.G.