Amber Heard’s lawyer says she’s ‘unable to pay’ Johnny Depp damages – so what happens next?

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  • Following the verdict of the Johnny Depp vs Amber Heard defamation trial, Heard’s lawyer has announced that she is ‘unable to pay’ damages and will be appealing the jurors decision.

    The jury announced their verdict that Johnny Depp was defamed in 2018 following an op-ed Amber Heard penned in a Washington Post article, and was awarded $10 million in damages and $350,000 in punitive damages.

    The jurors also agreed that Heard was defamed following comments from Depp’s lawyer and she was awarded $2 million.

    However, during an interview with NBC News Heard’s lawyer Elaine Bredehoft claimed that she is ‘unable to pay’ the damages and that she believes evidence that was used in the UK case was ‘suppressed’ during this trial.

    She said: ‘Really what happened here is it’s a tale of two trials. Johnny Depp brought a suit in the UK for the same case.

    ‘The burden of proof was easier for him there, The Sun had to actually prove that it [them labelling Depp a ‘wife beater’] was true. And the court found there – and we weren’t allowed to tell the jury this – but the court found that Mr Depp had committed at least 12 acts of domestic violence, including sexual violence against Amber.’

    She added: ‘So what did Depp’s team learn from this? Demonise Amber and suppress the evidence. We had an enormous amount of evidence that was suppressed in this case that was in the UK case. In the UK case when it came in, Amber won and Mr Depp lost.’

    Talking about the evidence she claims was ‘suppressed’, Bredehoft said that ‘very significant’ medical records and texts were withheld and that the jury were swayed by coverage online and on social media.

    She continued: ‘[The jury] went home every night, they have families. The families are on social media.

    ‘We had a 10-day break in the middle because of the judicial conference. There’s no way they couldn’t have been influenced by it and it was horrible, it was lopsided.’

    Bredehoft confirmed that Heard will be appealing the verdict, saying that she has ‘some excellent grounds’ and claiming that Heard will ‘absolutely not’ be able to pay the damages awarded to Depp as the court ruled.

    Legal experts have weighed in to discuss exactly what that means for the Aquaman star, with defamation and appellate lawyer Jeff Lewis telling NBC News: ‘It’s absolutely a long shot.’

    He explained that it is ‘really hard to win statistically speaking, anywhere between 70 to 90 percent of all appeals result in no change in the judgment’ but that she has the right to appeal within 30 days of the judgement.

    However, the process would be very different to what the world has watched play out since the start of this trial. According to Lewis, three appellate judges would be provided with court reporter notes in transcripts to determine whether the trial was fair.

    More as we have it.

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