It’s been half a year since Amber Heard and her ex-husband Johnny Depp battled it out in a Fairfax, Virginia courtroom. Since the trial closed out in Johnny Depp’s favor back in June, celebrities have turned out for both parties, and things have seemingly gone back to normal with both Depp and Heard picking up their lives and attempting to move forward. But, as was previously believed would be the case, Deadline is reporting that Amber Heard and her lawyers Jay Ward Brown and David L. Axelrod filed an appeal on November 23 that called the original proceedings, which saw Johnny Depp successfully sue his ex for libel, into question.
Heard’s latest appeal is grounding itself in the Aquaman actress’ First Amendment rights, as the entire case stemmed from an Op-ed piece she wrote for the Washington Post back in 2018. In her article, Heard wrote about abuse that she suffered at the hands of someone she was previously romantically involved with.
While she never mentioned him by name, Amber Heard’s comments were taken by many to be a direct link to her on-again-off-again tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend-turned-husband, Johnny Depp. After claiming that Heard’s comments cost him his career, including the end of his contract with Disney for their juggernaut franchise Pirates of the Caribbean, Depp took Heard to court in a case that would snatch headlines late last spring. When all was said and done, Johnny Depp walked out of the courtroom with over $10 million in damages from Heard, while the Zombieland actress walked with $2 million.
Should the appeal be accepted and make its way to court, Amber Heard and her lawyers would be hoping to push back on that final ruling, awarding her with more than the $10 million she currently owes Johnny Depp. The filing directly named the trial’s Judge Penney Azcarate as one of the biggest issues with the proceedings, claiming that the Judge inaccurately handled instructions for the jury and threw out evidence that would have proven to be key in solidifying things for Heard’s team. Another red flag brought up by the appeal points to how abused people – specifically women – may be silenced moving forward.
Amber Heard’s legal team wrote that if the ruling stays as is, it “undoubtedly will have a chilling effect” on others who decide to stand up for themselves and “speak about abuse involving powerful men.” They also stated that last year’s court proceedings should have never moved forward as Amber Heard had already reigned victorious against Johnny Depp in a United Kingdom High Court of Justice hearing that decided that the Cry Baby actor had in fact abused his ex. With this in mind, the lawyers believe that the second defamation trial should have been tossed from the Fairfax, Virginia courthouse’s docket.
Like any legal battle fought between famous opposing sides, no one can argue that the media and fan followings shifted proceedings for both Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. Both entertainers have ride-or-die bases that have been very vocal throughout the trial and beyond. With Heard’s appeal now in the works, it seems very possible that we could see the exes back on opposite sides of the aisle all over again.