One of the big reasons that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were the two most searched celebrities in 2022 was because their defamation trial got a ridiculous amount of media attention. The verdict was reached on June 1, with Depp being awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages (later reduced to $350,000), and Heard being awarded $2 million in compensatory damages. Half a year after that legal event wrapped up, apparently pieces are moving into place for another Depp and Heard trial to potentially move forward.
In early November, Johnny Depp’s legal team filed an appeal stating that the Pirates of the Caribbean star shouldn’t have to pay the $2 million from his end. Amber Heard’s legal team has now filed their own brief in the Virginia courts as of November 23. You can read over the appeal provided by Deadline in its entirety for yourself, but to summarize, the brief from Heard’s lawyers argues that Judge Penney Azcarate improperly instructing the jury in the Fairfax County, Virginia trial earlier this year that ended with Depp coming out as close to a “winner” as one can be deemed. The judge was also criticized in the brief for “excluding highly probative evidence and by admitting irrelevant and prejudicial evidence.”
As such, Amber Heard and her legal team’s latest appeal is looking to have the verdict against her reversed or tossed out for a new trial. The brief also stated that “this case also should never have gone to trial because another court had already concluded that Depp abused Heard on multiple occasions,” referring back to Depp’s unsuccessful 2020 libel case in the United Kingdom against The Sun for labeling him a “wife-beater” in print. The brief later mentioned:
Now that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s respective legal teams have filed their own appeals, Virginia law dictates that a group of judges will come together to decide the merits of these appeals. It’s unclear how long this will last, but both sides could end up taking this matter to the Commonwealth’s Supreme Court. If that happens, we could be looking at years until this legal saga is truly settled.
So as we wrap up 2022, there’s the potential for Johnny Depp and Amber Heard to continue grabbing headlines through yet another trial going into 2023 and maybe beyond. Obviously we’ll keep you updated on what happens on this front, as well any any other major legal drama tied to these actors, such as the countersuit Heard filed against her insurance company. Next year will see Depp playing King Louis XV in La Favorite and Heard reprising Mera in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.