Folks, we regret to inform you that the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial is back in the news.
Yes, the case was decided way back in June, but as you may recall, the jury’s decision wasn’t as conclusive as some observers had hoped.
By any measure Depp “won” the trial, being awarded $10.35 million in damages based on the jury’s conclusion that Heard had defamed him and done irreparable damage to his career.
Why, then, is Johnny appealing the verdict?
Well, the jury also decided that Heard should be awarded $2 million, having been defamed by Depp’s attorney, Adam Waldman.
Even though Depp came out on top by more than $8 million, in an act whose pettiness is matched only by its hubris, he’s now dragging Heard back to court on the belief that he shouldn’t be forced to pay her a dime.
The jury’s decision was based on * that Waldman made in an interview, in which he described the fight that allegedly ended Depp and Heard’s marriage.
Heard lawyers claimed Depp was “vicariously liable” for these statements.
“So Amber and her friends spilled a little wine and roughed the place up, got their stories straight under the direction of a lawyer and publicist, and then placed a second call to 911,” Waldman said at the time.
According to court documents filed this week, Depp’s attorneys believe that the court “should reverse the judgment on Ms. Heard’s counterclaim,” even though they’re in favor of every other aspect of the verdict.
“The jury’s emphatic favorable verdict on all three defamatory statements alleged in his complaint fully vindicated Mr. Depp and restored his reputation,” reads the filing.
“However, the trial court was confronted with a number of novel and complex legal and factual issues, and although the trial court decided the vast majority of those issues sensibly and correctly, a few rulings were erroneous.”
Depp’s attorneys also argue that Waldman was retained as an independent contractor, and thus had no right to speak on Depp’s behalf.
They further allege that there’s no evidence of “actual malice” in his statement, which is one of the conditions for libel.
“No evidence of Mr. Waldman’s actual malice was presented at trial, so the judgment against Mr. Depp cannot be sustained,” Depp’s lawyers write.
They go on to argue that Waldman’s words were a “non-actionable statement of opinion insufficient to support a claim of defamation.”
That’s a lot of legalese to say “Depp wants to go nuclear, and he won’t sleep as long as Heard has a dime to her name.”
Of course, Heard is also appealing the verdict, so even if Depp’s appeal is rejected, there remains a very strong chance that these two will wind up back in court.
Already, Heard’s first request for a new trial was thrown out by the judge.
The actress alleged that one of the jurors in the original trial had served on a fraudulent basis, having answered a summons that was intended for someone else.
The judge wasn’t buying it, and Amber’s attorneys went back to the drawing board.
So yeah — you might have thought you’d heard enough about one of the messiest marriages in Hollywood history over the summer.
But it seems almost certain that a sequel to the epic battle between Depp and Heard is coming soon to a courtroom near you.