Amber Heard’s Lawyer Talks Appeal and Whether She Can Pay Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s trial came to a close on Wednesday, and now Heard’s lawyer Elaine Charlson Bredehoft is speaking out.
Depp was suing Heard for defamation and $50 million. She was countersuing him for $100 million.
The jury found in favor of Depp, agreeing that it was defamation when Heard claimed she was a domestic abuse survivor in a 2018 op-ed. He was awarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The judge immediately reduced the $5 million figure to $350,000, in line with a Virginia statutory cap.
Amber also had a partial win in her countersuit, as the jury awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages for a statement made by one of Depp’s lawyers.
“Today’s” Savannah Guthrie sat down with Charlson Bredehoft who shared Amber’s initial reaction to the verdict. "One of the first things she said is that, 'I am so sorry to all those women out there.’ This is a setback for all women in and outside the courtroom, and she feels the burden of that."
The attorney felt Amber lost because Depp’s legal team was able to “demonize” her client and suppress “an enormous amount of evidence” like medical records and text messages.
Guthrie pointed out that the jury didn’t believe Amber’s testimony, and Charlson Bredehoft replied, "That's because she was demonized here. A number of things were allowed in this court that should not have been allowed, and it caused the jury to be confused."
She added, “We weren’t allowed to tell them about the U.K. judgment.” Depp brought a libel lawsuit against The Sun U.K. in 2018 for labeling him a “wife beater,” but he lost the case in 2020.
Charlson Bredehoft explained, "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. So what did Depp's team learn from this? Demonize Amber, and suppress the evidence.”
The attorney went on, "We had an enormous amount of evidence that was suppressed in this case that was in the U.K. case. In the U.K. case, when it came in, Amber won, Mr. Depp lost."
Depp has consistently denied ever abusing Heard, and released a statement after the verdict, saying, “From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that."
In her interview with Heard’s lawyer, Guthrie brought up the vitriolic and lopsided social media against Amber, and the attorney said there was “no way” the jury “couldn’t have been influenced by it, and it was horrible.”
"It really, really was lopsided,” she said. "It's like the Roman Colosseum how they viewed this whole case. I was against cameras in the courtroom, and I went on record with that and had argued against it because of the sensitive nature of this, but it made it a zoo."
Does Amber want to appeal? Charlson Bredehoft said, “Absolutely, and she has some excellent grounds for it.”
Savannah asked if Heard is able to pay a $10.35M judgment, and Charlson Bredehoft replied, “Oh, no. Absolutely not.”
Heard also shared her reaction to the verdict in a statement released on Wednesday. She said, “The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband."
She continued, "I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously."
In his own statement, Depp said, “Six years ago, my life, the life of my children, the lives of those closest to me, and also, the lives of the people who for many, many years have supported and believed in me, were forever changed. All in the blink of an eye.”
“False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me,” Depp went on. “It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career.
Showing his appreciation to the jury, he said, “And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled. My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable, worldwide spectacle into my life, was only made after considerable thought.”
Depp noted that he felt “at peace” after being able to speak his truth.
On Thursday, Depp was spotted for the first time since the verdict.