Amber Heard is officially ordered to pay Johnny Depp $10M for damaging his reputation and their lawyers fail to agree settlement – paving way for costly appeals process
Amber Heard has been officially ordered to pay the $8.35 million in damages after Johnny Depp won his defamation suit against her
Heard has said she wished to appeal but the judge has said she will have to post a bond for the full amount before it can even be considered
Following a six-week trial in Fairfax, Virginia, a jury awarded Depp $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages
The punitive damages were reduced to $350,000 in accordance with Virginia law, bringing the grand total to $10.35 million – while Depp owes her $2 million
Lawyers for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard have failed to reach a last-minute agreement which might have seen the damages the actress owed to her former husband be reduced, following their six week defamation trial which ended earlier this month.
Instead, the judge in the trial made the jury’s award official on Friday with a written order for Heard to pay Depp $10.35 million for damaging his reputation by describing herself as a domestic abuse victim in an op-ed piece she wrote.
Judge Penney Azcarate finalized the verdict as she entered a judgment order into the court record after a brief hearing in Fairfax County Circuit Court. Neither Depp nor Heard were present.
She also ordered Depp to pay Heard $2 million, the jury’s award on her counterclaim that Heard was defamed by one of Depp’s lawyers.
The order was a formality after the jury announced its verdict on June 1, largely siding with Depp after a sensational trial in which the couple revealed lurid details of their short marriage during a televised trial that was closely followed on social media.
Attorneys for both Depp and Heard were unable to reach a last-minute settlement which now means there may be a costly and lengthy appeals process.
In three weeks, the case will move to the Court of Appeals of Virginia during which time both parties will have 30 days to file a notice of appeal.
Depp sued Heard over a December 2018 op-ed she wrote in The Washington Post describing herself as ‘a public figure representing domestic abuse.’
The jury found in Depp’s favor on all three of his claims relating to specific statements in the 2018 piece.
The jury found Depp should receive $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages, but the judge reduced the punitive damages award to $350,000 under a state cap.
Heard has said she plans to appeal the verdict as she teeters on the brink of bankruptcy.
A source close to the Aquaman star claimed the 36-year-old actress was ‘broke’ that she ‘considers her career in Hollywood over’ and ‘has nothing to lose’ following a disastrous few months.
Heard admitted through her lawyer that she cannot afford the $8.3 million in damages awarded to Depp.
The actress has since been spotted bargain shopping at discount store TJ Maxx in New York.
‘You don’t ask for a pardon if you are innocent. And, you don’t decline to appeal if you know you are right,’ she said to the New York Post on Friday.
During Friday’s hearing, the judge said that if if Heard appeals, she must post a bond for the full amount of the $10.35 million award while the appeal is pending – a common practice.
She would also need to add an additional $480,000 in interest payments.
The judge’s order says both awards are subject to 6% interest per year.
According to the Post, the judge entered Depp’s version of verdict on paper and rejected all of Heard’s proposed edits.
During an interview on Good Morning America earlier this month, Depp’s lawyer Benjamin Chew suggested that the star might be willing to forgo the millions of dollars in damages owed to him should Heard agree not to proceed with an appeal
‘We obviously can’t disclose attorney-client communications, but as Mr. Depp testified … this was never about money for Mr. Depp,’ Chew said. ‘This was about restoring his reputation — and he’s done that.’
Speaking in her first public interview last week since her court loss, Heard had claimed she was ‘terrified’ of telling her side of the story, where she accused Depp and physically and sexually assaulting her throughout their tumultuous marriage.
Heard told Dateline she had been wounded by the ‘hate and vitriol’ directed at her, but did not regret bringing the case to court despite her loss and its high publicity.
‘I know the scariest, most intimidating thing for anybody talking about sexual violence is not being believed, being called a liar, or being humiliated,’ she said.
Heard said she was not speaking out because she was ‘vindictive’.
‘This would be a really lousy way of getting vengeance,’ she said. ‘As silly as it is to say this out loud, my goal is – I just want people to see me as a human being.’
Despite continuing to air her allegations, Heard insisted that she wants nothing more than to move on with her life, telling Samantha Guthrie: ‘I look forward to living my life and I have a long one, I hope, in front of me. And I will continue to walk through this with my chin up.’