Johnny Depp’s lawyers vow to appeal ‘flawed’ and ‘bewildering’ libel loss
Johnny Depp’s legal team on Monday ripped their “bewildering” loss in the star’s “wife-beater” libel case — and immediately vowed to appeal.
“This decision is as perverse as it is bewildering,” Jenny Afia of Schillings, the law firm which represented Depp in the London case, said in a statement soon after a High Court judge ruled against him.
“The judgment is so flawed that it would be ridiculous for Mr. Depp not to appeal this decision.”
High Court Judge Andrew Nicol’s ruling sided with The Sun newspaper, saying it had shown that its 2018 story under a headline calling Depp a “wife-beater” was “substantially true.”
He ruled that 12 of the 14 allegations ex-wife Amber Heard made of physical violence had happened — and the two that had not been fully proven did not suggest she had lied, as Depp’s team claimed.
Depp’s legal team insisted the ruling showed the judge had been one-sided.
“Most troubling is the Judge’s reliance on the testimony of Amber Heard, and corresponding disregard of the mountain of counter-evidence from police officers, medical practitioners, her own former assistant, other unchallenged witnesses and an array of documentary evidence which completely undermined the allegations, point by point,” Afia insisted in her statement.
“All of this was overlooked.”
As well as appealing, Depp’s lawyers said they hoped for a fairer hearing in the impending lawsuits in Virginia over a Washington Post op-ed Heard penned about her experience as a victim of domestic violence.
“We hope that in contrast to this case, the ongoing libel proceedings in America are equitable, with both parties providing full disclosure rather than one side strategically cherry-picking what evidence can and cannot be relied upon,” Afia said.
Heard’s US attorney Elaine Charlson Bredehoft said that the “decision and judgment are not a surprise” to anyone who had followed the trial.
“Very soon, we will be presenting even more voluminous evidence in the US,” she said in a statement of a follow-up trial expected to be heard in Virginia next year.
“We are committed to obtaining justice for Amber Heard in the US court and defending Ms. Heard’s right to free speech.”
A spokesman for The Sun said the paper had “stood up and campaigned for the victims of domestic abuse for over twenty years.”
“Domestic abuse victims must never be silenced and we thank the Judge for his careful consideration and thank Amber Heard for her courage in giving evidence to the court,” the spokesman said in the UK paper.
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